In 2015, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) found that over 15 million American adults had alcohol use disorder (AUD), defined as “a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences.”
AUD can range from mild to severe and typically involves drinking to the point that alcohol consumption causes distress or harm to the drinker or others. Overconsumption of alcohol can lead to many health problems and can affect the brain, heart, liver, pancreas, and immune system. Alcoholism can also increase the risk of developing certain cancers, including mouth, esophageal, throat, liver, and breast cancer.
The most common association with AUD is cirrhosis of the liver, a serious medical condition that leads to liver scarring and ultimately, liver failure, as cirrhosis is treatable, but not curable. Though AUD is highly treatable, fewer than 10% of people with the disease seek treatment.
The first step in overcoming an alcohol use disorder is detox. While it isn’t unheard of for people to detox at home by themselves, it is strongly discouraged due to how dangerous and potentially life-threatening it can be. The longer a person has abused alcohol, the more dangerous the withdrawal can be. At our medication-assisted detox facility, guests are closely monitored to prevent serious health risks and manage the symptoms that accompany withdrawal. Once a person properly detoxes from alcohol, the real work in treating the substance use disorder can begin. In order to properly treat an alcohol use disorder, the physical, psychological, behavioral and spiritual components all need to be addressed and treated. This can be done by continuing treatment in a residential inpatient program, and a series of aftercare options. These programs are carefully structured to provide individuals the best care while giving them the tools they need to achieve long-term sobriety.
Should I seek treatment for AUD?
Signs of an AUD may include:
- Drinking alone and/or to de-stress
- Craving alcohol
- Inability to stop drinking once you start
- Prioritizing alcohol over other things
- Continuing to drink despite the problems it causes you
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Using alcohol in unsafe situations
- Developing a tolerance to the effects of alcohol
Withdrawal symptoms from alcohol vary depending on the person’s age, history of alcohol abuse, and peak blood alcohol levels. While detox from alcohol is physically uncomfortable, our medical detox team works diligently to reduce and relieve symptoms. They are on site 24/7 to monitor guests and and tend to any concerns they may have.
First stage (8 hours after last drink):
- Abdominal pain
Second stage (24-72 hours of last drink):
- Rise in blood pressure and body temperature
- Quickening of heartbeat
- Diminished mental acuity
- Risk of death
If you recognize any of these signs in yourself or others following alcohol consumption, you may have AUD and require medical detox.
What happens after medical detox?
Guests may continue treatment in our residential inpatient program, which can be followed by our PHP, IOP and OP programs. Once they have completed these programs, they are offered a place in our sober living or grad housing. Considering there are various avenues of continued treatment to take, it is strongly discouraged to just go into medical detox and assume the battle against alcohol is over. This often leads to a relapse not long after, because it leaves individuals without any defense against mental obsessions and cravings. Without continued treatment, and the knowledge and tools it provides, it is difficult for guests to make lasting, effective changes in their lives that support their sobriety. Here, at Royal Life Centers, we do all that we can to prepare individuals through our programs to kickstart personal growth and help guests restructure their lives to promote health, happiness and success.
If you or a loved one has an alcohol use disorder, or any substance use disorder, please reach out to us about your detox and treatment options. Royal Life Centers admissions staff is available 24/7 to answer your questions and address your concerns Because We Care.