It’s a well-known secret in the addiction treatment industry that we’re admitting just as many, or more, people for alcohol abuse than we are for all other substances combined. Granted, alcohol is legal at a certain age, unlike illicit drugs such as heroin and cocaine, and it’s generally easier to obtain than prescription drugs. However, it seems to be a problem for so many people, and that’s where treatment centers like ours need to step in to help.
Effective Alcohol Detox and Treatment Services
Elevate Addiction Services offers a program that consists of approximately 90 days of inpatient alcohol detox and treatment. We take largely a holistic approach to helping the client heal physically and mentally from alcohol addiction. Once the client graduates our inpatient program, we offer ample aftercare services to keep the recovery going strong.
Our entire program for alcohol addiction treatment consists of four phases, the first three of which last roughly 30 days each:
- Physical Rejuvenation
- Emotional Transformation
Elevate Addiction Services boasts two treatment facilities in Northern California and accepts new clients from all over the U.S. Our primary facility flanks the Santa Cruz Mountains south of San Jose. It sits on 28 acres of forested terrain and houses more than 50 clients at a time. Our secondary facility is a more intimate property in the beautiful town of South Lake Tahoe.
The Dangers of Alcohol Abuse
To get an idea of how big of a role alcohol plays in substance abuse nationwide, let’s take a look at a few statistics from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH):
- Alcohol was cited as a primary substance of abuse in roughly 37 percent of all treatment admissions in the U.S in 2013. More than half of this group was admitted for alcohol abuse only.
- If you consider all of the times alcohol was cited as a secondary or tertiary substance of abuse, then alcohol abuse played in role is about 54 of all addiction-related admissions in the U.S. in 2013.
- Nearly 90,000 people die from alcohol-related causes each year, more than two-thirds of which are male.
- More than 72,000 Americans died of liver disease in 2013. Nearly half of those deaths involved alcohol.
- In 2014, nearly 25 percent of people ages 18 and older reported that they had engaged in binge drinking within the previous month.
What Is Considered Binge Drinking?
What is binge drinking? It’s simple: It involves consuming an excess of alcohol in a short period of time.
For women, 4 or more drinks during a single evening or occasion is considered binge drinking. For men, 5 or more drinks during a single occasion is considered binge drinking.
For these purposes, a single drink is considered:
- 12 ounces of beer at 5% alcohol content
- 5 ounces of wine at 12% alcohol content
- 5 ounces of 80-proof (40% alcohol) liquor
What Is Heavy Drinking?
Heavy drinking looks at alcohol consumption over a longer period than a single day or occasion. The most common way to gauge heavy drinking is by looking at weekly alcohol consumption.
Heavy drinking for men is considered 15 or more drinks in a week. For women, it’s 8 or more drinks within a week.
Long-Term Health Risks of Alcohol Abuse
Someone who has been drinking heavily for several months or years in a row will begin to suffer many of these long-term consequences:
- Learning and memory problems, such as dementia
- Increased depression and/or anxiety
- Various cancers (breast, throat, liver, colon, etc.)
- Social problems, especially with one’s family
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Digestive problems
How to Recognize Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Not quite sure how to tell if a loved one’s (or your own) drinking has gotten out of hand? There are a few signs to look for to help you be a better judge of what alcohol abuse and alcoholism are.
Alcohol abuse can be characterized by:
- Drinking frequently to cope with negative emotions: Someone who binge drinks almost daily to relieve stress and to recover from “a rough day.”
- It begins to interfere with daily responsibilities: If the person misses days of works because he or she is hungover, or if he or she shows up to work still drunk from the night before, then alcohol abuse is the case.
- Relationship issues and tension: A person’s continued drinking can begin to erode relationships with parents, siblings, spouses, children and friends.
- Legal consequences related to drinking: Alcohol abuse rarely exists in a vacuum. It will put the drinker at odds with the law eventually, whether in the form of drinking and driving, getting into fights, vandalism, etc.
Alcoholism can be characterized by:
- Increased tolerance: Not everybody drinks to feel a buzz, but repeated drinking will build a person’s alcohol tolerance to the point where he or she will need to have more drinks to achieve the original effect.
- Wanting to stop, but can’t: The person wants to put the bottle down and not have drinking become a daily habit, but they just can’t refrain. They feel a pull to the wine, beer or liquor bottle.
- Withdrawal symptoms when refraining: If someone abstains from drinking for one night and starts feeling overt withdrawal symptoms, then he or she has reached the point of alcoholism.
- Loss of control: The drinker truly has no control over his or her alcohol use. He or she keeps drinking more and more – not necessarily on purpose, but he or she needs to.
Getting Help for Alcohol Addiction
If you or a loved one has reached the point where drinking is an everyday ritual and it’s hard to control, please call Elevate Addiction Services soon. We can get you into inpatient alcohol detox and treatment in just a matter of days, helping you survive withdrawal and expertly guiding you down the path to recovery.