Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Mississippi Alcohol Abuse & Recovery
In 2018, 67.1 million Americans reported that they had binged alcohol in the last month, and 14.8 million had an alcohol use disorder (AUD) . Drinking (and drinking heavily) may be normalized by music and movies, but alcohol is an addictive substance, and alcohol abuse shouldn’t be taken lightly.
An alcohol use disorder can impact the user’s physical and mental health, but it can also damage their relationships, career, and finances, especially if they’re mixing alcohol with other substances. While quitting alcohol can be difficult, especially if attempted without help, alcohol addiction responds well to treatment, which means that getting professional support is the best way to successfully get clean.
At Extra Mile Recovery, it’s important to us that our clients and their loved ones know what they’re dealing with. Read on to learn more about alcohol addiction: how it works, how to spot it, its effects, and what our expert recovery team can do to help our clients overcome alcohol dependence.
What Is Alcohol Addiction?
Alcohol addiction, also known as alcohol use disorder (AUD), or alcoholism, is when a person cannot control when or how much they drink. It’s considered a chronic, relapsing behavioral disorder, and its diagnosis depends on how frequently someone drinks, whether they “binge drink” (consume at least 4-5 drinks in an hour), and whether they drink at inappropriate or dangerous times.
While heavy users are certainly more likely to become alcoholics, anyone can be susceptible to alcohol addiction, because it changes how the brain works over time. This is especially true for those who began using alcohol earlier in life.
There are some who are especially at-risk for developing alcohol addiction. For example, alcohol use disorder can be hereditary, so genetics are a factor. Alcohol use is also more common in those with mental illnesses and the after-effects of trauma, whether a person started using alcohol to cope with these issues or they were caused in part by alcohol abuse.
Alcohol Mixed with Other Drugs
Alcohol is often abused alongside other drugs to boost or alter their effects, and an individual whose decision-making is impaired by one substance is more likely to try another. These combinations of drugs, however, can be dangerous, or even deadly.
Alcohol, a depressant, is sometimes combined with stimulants like cocaine to “cancel out” the negative effects. Unfortunately, this usually just puts intense strain on the liver, the cardiovascular system, and the entire body. Even caffeine can override a person’s natural barrier to alcohol consumption, making it easy to drink too much too quickly.
Other times, alcohol is mixed with other depressants like benzodiazepines or opioids, as they affect the same parts of the brain and combine to create more intense effects. However, both these drugs suppress the nervous system, heart function, and the respiratory system, which can quickly lead to life-threatening side effects.
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Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol addiction can often be identified by how the user’s relationship to alcohol, their responsibilities, and their loved ones change with time.
Signs of alcohol addiction include:
- Risky behaviors: Spending excessive time acquiring or using alcohol, ignoring how it affects others, using at dangerous times such as while driving, difficulty at work or school, money problems including borrowing or stealing, taking unnecessary risks, legal issues.
- Social changes: Spending more time with enablers, spending less time with loved ones or doing things once enjoyed.
- Loss of control over use: Poor regulation over how much is consumed at a time, how frequently it is used, and when it is ingested.
- Greater need for use: Intense cravings, greater tolerance, increased dependence.
Other symptoms of alcohol abuse are more physical or emotional, such as:
- Confusion: Memory problems, poor coordination
- Mental problems: Mood swings, depression, anxiety, and paranoia
- Noticeable signs: Red eyes, slurred speech
- Fever-like symptoms: Nausea, shakiness, sweating, insomnia
Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse & Addiction
Alcohol use, and especially abuse, can cause debilitating harm to many parts of the body. Nearly every organ and bodily system — including the heart, blood cells, blood sugar levels, stomach, liver, pancreas, bones, and eyes — can be damaged from long-term alcohol abuse. Because it weakens the immune system, long-term alcohol abuse has been linked to a range of immune diseases and even cancers.
Neurological problems frequently result from alcohol abuse. Some of these are related to mental processing, including dementia, disordered thinking, and short-term memory loss. Other issues have to do with the nervous system, such as intermittent numbness or sudden spikes in pain.
Alcohol is linked to sexual and reproductive issues. Besides causing sexual dysfunction and irregular menstruation, if someone is pregnant while abusing alcohol, their child is at serious risk for developmental problems and miscarriage.
Unfortunately, not all of alcohol abuse’s consequences are medical. It’s all too common for long-term alcohol addiction to cause users to lose their jobs, money, and even closest relationships.
Mississippi Alcohol Detox & Withdrawal
Alcohol, like most addictive substances, is extremely difficult to quit. Those trying to get clean may experience the onset of uncomfortable side effects as soon as they stop using alcohol. This is known as alcohol withdrawal. While symptoms vary depending on the individual, length of use, and whether they’ve been through withdrawal before, these are the most common side effects of alcohol withdrawal:
- Anger, anxiety, depression, and suicidal thinking
- Insomnia and restlessness
- Shakiness and sweatiness
- Headaches and dizziness
- Nausea and vomiting
- High blood pressure and heart rate
In more serious cases, alcohol detox can lead to “delirium tremens,” which causes fever, seizures, and hallucinations. Even less dangerous symptoms can be unpleasant enough to push someone to relapse, which can lead to alcohol poisoning (overdose) because the body’s tolerance has changed.
Alcohol withdrawal generally lasts for a week or two but can go on for much longer, and without professional intervention, relapse is highly likely. We don’t recommend anyone attempt alcohol detox alone.
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Alcohol Addiction Treatment for Tupelo, Oxford, Jackson, Mantachie, and Tishomingo
Alcohol addiction presents many challenges, especially users also contending with other mental illnesses or addictions. Detox is only the beginning of the recovery journey to stay clean, and at Extra Mile Recovery, we’ve designed our programming directly from our experiences with addiction, so that our clients are fully equipped to see this journey through.
Our evidence-based, one-on-one substance abuse counseling helps clients understand why they started using, and how they can better fulfil those needs. Our holistic therapies help heal the mind, body, and spirit to ensure that every aspect of alcohol dependence is treated. And by combining these with individualized alcohol addiction treatment plans, close-knit, gendered group work, relapse prevention strategies, and the peaceful environment our gorgeous and remote campuses provides, we’re able to give our clients a shoulder to lean on and the resources they need to enter a healthier, happier life in recovery.
To learn more about our supportive alcohol addiction treatment programs, please call Extra Mile Recovery at 662-351-3255 today.