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Signs, Withdrawal Symptoms & Treatment Options

Alcohol Addiction

A Growing Problem in America

Alcohol Abuse in Today's Society

Alcohol addiction, or alcoholism, is a chronic, progressive, and life-threatening disorder. Unfortunately, however, the risks of alcohol abuse and dependency are often minimized in a culture where “social drinking” is the norm and “binge drinking,” especially for college students and young adults, is a national punchline.

The reality is that alcohol addiction is an enormous and growing threat both to quality of life and to length of life. It is estimated that around 15 million people in the US have alcohol use disorder (AUD). It has also been estimated that, between 1999 and 2017, AUD claimed nearly one million lives, making alcohol-related accidents and diseases the third leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States.

Despite these alarming statistics, however, less than 10 percent of persons experiencing alcohol addiction actually seek treatment.

How Alcohol Abuse Happens

Differentiating Between “Social Drinking” and Alcoholism

Perhaps the greatest threat of alcohol addiction is its insidiousness. Unlike illicit drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, alcohol is widely available almost everywhere, from your favorite restaurant to the convenience store down the street.

In addition, alcohol is often the beverage of choice for toasting special occasions, for “taking the edge off” at the end of a difficult day, or for infusing a dose of “liquid courage” before an important event.

This, however, is not what alcohol addiction is. AUD differs starkly from social drinking as those who are addicted have little choice but to drink. When you have an alcohol dependency, your cravings for it become so intense that you may be unable to resist them, even when you’ve promised yourself or someone you love that you will abstain.

Unlike with social drinking, many who are experiencing alcohol addiction will drink in secret, endeavoring (often unsuccessfully) to hide their drinking from others. Also, unlike with social drinking, when you are experiencing AUD, you are likely to become increasingly less able to function in your daily life.

You may find yourself experiencing alcohol-related blackouts. You may begin missing work or skipping out on important family events. You may discover that you cannot get through the day without drinking–and that you need ever higher amounts of alcohol just to feel “normal.”     

Signs Someone Has a Drinking Problem

Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction

It can be difficult to know when your alcohol use has morphed into an addiction. Alcohol tolerance levels vary from person to person based on a range of factors, including age, gender, body mass, genetics, and personal history.

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention typically define “heavy drinking” as the habit of consuming 15 or more drinks per week for men and eight drinks or more per week for women. Likewise, the CDC generally defines binge drinking as the consumption of five drinks or more on a single occasion (usually within a two-hour window) for men or four drinks or more for women. If you are exceeding these thresholds, then you may be experiencing alcohol addiction.

Additional symptoms of alcohol addiction include:

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The Impacts of Alcohol Addiction

As suggested by the statistics provided above, alcohol addiction doesn’t just threaten your quality of life and the health of your relationships. It may also threaten your life. Over time, alcohol addiction can contribute to a host of potentially fatal conditions, from cardiovascular disease to liver failure to cancer.

Similarly, binge drinking events can yield catastrophic consequences in their immediate aftermath. This includes potentially fatal falls, motor vehicle crashes, and other alcohol-related accidents and injuries. Excessive consumption can also produce life-threatening heart arrhythmias and potentially fatal ethanol intoxication.

A Sober Life is Waiting for You...

How Bayshore Helps

If you have ever tried to stop drinking on your own, then you already understand how difficult alcohol detoxification can be. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are not only often severely painful, but they may lead to life-threatening complications, including seizures and cardiac arrest.

This is why the care team at Bayshore offers onsite medical and psychiatric supervision throughout the detoxification process and into the first phases of alcohol addiction recovery. Our multidisciplinary team of physicians, psychiatrists, and addiction recovery experts can support you through the most challenging stages of alcohol withdrawal.

Our facility is fully accredited, licensed, and certified to provide comprehensive care, including the use of short-term pharmaceutical therapies as needed to make the withdrawal process safer and more comfortable.

Similarly, because the symptoms of alcohol detox often include psychiatric manifestations, from depression and anxiety to hallucinations, paranoia, and suicidal ideation, our highly trained team of mental healthcare providers will be consistently by your side until you complete detox and are stable.

With only six residents in our facility at one time and a 3:1 client to care provider ratio, we are able to provide our clients with the highest level of prompt and personalized care possible.

After you have completed the detox process, we work with you to build a holistic, customized, and evidence-based recovery program that serves your short-term and long-range recovery goals. This includes individual, group, and family counseling services using a range of approaches, from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to art and music therapy. We also offer classes in nutrition, holistic medicine, and meditation and mindfulness.

The ultimate goal of our alcohol addiction recovery program is to help you find release from the hold that alcohol has over your life and to build the happy, healthy, addiction-free life you want and deserve. This means that, in addition to detoxification, rehabilitation, counseling, and education services provided onsite, we also offer comprehensive after-care support, connecting you with the best care providers and most effective support services in your area.


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