Whether unwinding after a long day of work, celebrating a special occasion, or spending time with friends, many people enjoy having a drink here and there. For the most part, drinking alcohol is seen as being completely normal and even encouraged in many situations.
However, there is such a thing as drinking too much. If you believe your drinking habits have become problematic, it is important to know how to differentiate between normal and abusive alcohol consumption. Heavy alcohol abuse has consequences. It can affect the central nervous system, causes liver diseases, harm the immune system, and cause other long-term health risks.
Alcohol can be dangerous if consumed in excess and is often far more difficult to quit than many may like to believe. Fortunately, there are many treatment options available to those who are struggling with an alcohol abuse disorder.
What Is Chronic Alcohol Abuse?
Addiction is a complex process that involves changes in the brain. When a person consumes alcohol, it triggers the release of dopamine in the brain’s reward system. This creates a feeling of pleasure, which reinforces the desire to drink again.
Over time, the brain adapts to the presence of alcohol by reducing the production of dopamine. This can lead to a person needing to drink more alcohol to achieve the same pleasurable effects. It also makes it difficult to say no to substance abuse.
Repeated alcohol consumption can cause brain damage. It harms the prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain that is responsible for planning, decision-making, and impulse control. This can make it difficult for a person to resist the urge to drink, even when they know it is harmful.
Some people may develop an alcohol addiction very quickly after just a few drinks. This is more likely to happen in people who have a family history of alcohol addiction or who have other risk factors, such as a mental health condition. Others may drink heavily for many years without developing an addiction. The stages of alcohol abuse can be different for everyone. What isn’t different is the risk of developing an alcohol and drug addiction problem that can ruin your life.
Signs of Chronic Alcohol Abuse
Chronic alcohol abuse is a pattern of excessive alcohol consumption over a long period of time, typically months or years. This is different from binge drinking, which involves drinking an excessive amount of alcohol during a single event. Likewise, the signs of chronic alcohol abuse look different from unhealthy patterns of social drinking, which generally take place around friends or family.
Some signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction can include:
- Cravings: A strong desire to drink alcohol, even when it is not convenient or appropriate.
- Loss of control: Drinking more alcohol than intended or being unable to stop drinking once you start.
- Negative consequences: Continuing to drink alcohol even though it is causing problems in your life, such as at work, school, or in your relationships.
- Tolerance: Needing to drink more alcohol to achieve the same effects.
- Withdrawal symptoms: Experiencing physical or psychological symptoms when you stop heavy drinking, such as anxiety, sweating, tremors, or seizures.
If you recognize any of these signs in yourself or a loved one, it is important to get help as soon as possible. Chronic alcohol abuse can lead to severe physical and mental health problems, including potentially life-threatening side effects.
Are you struggling with alcoholism?
Royal Life Centers is here to help you recover. Because we care.
What Is Alcohol Abuse Treatment Like?
Alcohol abuse treatment is a personalized process that can vary depending on the individual’s needs and the severity of their alcohol use disorder. However, most treatment programs typically include the following components:
- Assessment: The first step in treatment is to assess your personal drinking habits, physical and mental health, and any other relevant factors to your recovery. This information is used to develop a personalized treatment plan.
- Detoxification: If you are physically dependent on alcohol, you will need to go through a medically supervised detoxification process to safely withdraw from alcohol. This is best done in an inpatient setting, as the alcohol withdrawal process can be complicated.
- Therapy: Therapy is a key component of alcohol abuse treatment. It can help you understand your addiction, develop coping skills, and learn to live a sober life. There are many different types of therapy available, including both evidence-based and holistic options.
- Medication: In some cases, medication may be used to help manage your cravings and withdrawal symptoms. There are several medications approved by the FDA for the treatment of alcohol use disorder, including Acamprosate (Campral®), Disulfiram (Antabuse®), and Naltrexone (Revia®, Vivitrol®).
- Support groups: Support groups can provide you with a safe and supportive environment to share your experiences and learn from others who are also in recovery. There are many different types of support groups available, including Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and secular alternative organizations.
The length of alcohol abuse treatment varies depending on your individual needs. While some people may complete treatment in a few weeks, others may need several months or even years of support. Treatment is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and it is important to find a program that is right for you.
Can You Detox from Alcohol at Home?
If you are wondering how to detox from alcohol at home, the best answer to this question is that you simply should not attempt this. The alcohol withdrawal process can be extreme, with severe side effects that can not be managed without professional intervention.
When recovering at a professional treatment center, not only will you have the support of a dedicated care team and necessary medical support, but you will be able to recover in a controlled and secure environment without the possibility of being triggered.
Effective Therapies for Alcohol Addiction
When recovering from an alcohol use disorder, medical interventions will not be your only form of support. In many cases, therapy will be just as important for achieving long-term recovery from this addiction.
There are a number of different types of therapy that can be effective for treating alcohol addiction, including:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help you identify and change the thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to your addiction.
- Motivational interviewing helps you to increase your motivation to change your drinking behavior and maintain your sobriety.
- Individual therapy can help you explore the underlying reasons why you started drinking in the first place and how you can better deal with these emotions moving forward.
- Family therapy can help to improve communication and understanding within your family relationships and build a better support system for your recovery.
- Twelve-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), provide support and fellowship while you recover from your addiction.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Royal Life Centers
At Royal Life Centers, we believe in treating the whole person. Our treatment programs offer many different levels of care, from inpatient treatment to outpatient, sober living, aftercare, and holistic treatment services.
We will work with you to identify your specific care needs and build a treatment plan that caters to them. Our treatment approach addresses both your surface-level addiction and its underlying causes, giving you the foundation you need to maintain long-term recovery and avoid all alcohol, especially abuse patterns like heavy drinking or binge drinking.
If you want to learn more about our treatment program or are ready to start seeking treatment, reach out to a medical professional at Royal Life Centers now to find out how you can start your path to a happier and healthier life today. We provide alcohol screening and alcoholism treatment along with mental health disorders. All you have to do is call 877-732-6837, day or night, and our admissions team will gladly help you find the treatment you need to recover.