Alcohol use disorder is a serious disease that can lead to several health complications. Excessive drinking also affects a person’s relationships and work performance and can lead to financial and legal trouble. Alcohol affects the human brain such that it becomes very difficult to stop drinking. For this reason, people who become addicted to alcohol find it challenging to quit. Alcohol treatment centers in the state of Washington help alcoholics kick the habit and return to sober living. Alcohol addiction treatment is critical for overcoming alcohol problems, repairing broken relationships with family and friends, and returning to sober living with relapse prevention. Alcohol rehab is also a necessary component of getting DUI help to avoid financial penalties, prison sentences, loss of employment, and driving disqualification.
Facts and figures: Alcohol Use in Washington
Drinking alcohol is very common in many parts of the world and is considered a socially acceptable activity. In the United States, 86 percent of adults report drinking alcohol at some point in their life. However, social drinking frequently escalates to problematic drinking and becomes a serious concern. Nearly 14.5 million adults in America have alcohol use disorder. An estimated 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes every year, making this the third highest cause of preventable deaths in the USA. Excessive drinking does not affect only the individual, but the entire family. Studies have shown that more than 10 percent of children in America live with a parent who has alcohol problems. Alcohol misuse is estimated to cost the United States to the tune of nearly $250 billion, the majority of which is related to binge drinking. Here are some statistics on alcohol use in Washington State.
- In a nationwide study, Washington was ranked 31 overall for alcohol-related deaths.
- Alcohol-related incidents claim the lives of 2.7 people per 100,000 every year in the state.
- Washington has the 8th highest rate of DUI arrests in the USA.
- In 2010, more than 38,000 people entered Washington drug rehab centers for alcohol addiction treatment.
What is Alcohol Addiction?
Alcohol addiction or AUD (alcohol use disorder) is the inability to quit the consumption of alcohol in spite of its serious effects. The misuse of alcohol and its abuse gradually develops into alcohol use disorder, alcohol dependence, and alcohol addiction. Alcohol Addiction causes serious physical and mental damage, along with social as well as lifestyle issues. Alcoholism often becomes a cause of layoff at work and families falling apart. Your brain takes a direct hit from continuous alcohol abuse and addiction.
Drinking Patterns Defined: Do I Have an Alcohol Problem?
Oftentimes, what starts as social drinking progresses to harmful drinking patterns. Alcohol treatment centers in Washington offer effective treatments for alcoholism, but family members cannot be sure whether a loved one is simply unwinding with an occasional drink or needs professional alcohol addiction treatment. Here are the standard drinking levels, exceeding which indicates there is an alcohol problem.
- Moderate drinking is defined as a maximum of 1 to 2 drinks per day for women and men respectively.
- Heavy alcohol consumption is defined as more than 3 drinks per day for women and more than 4 drinks a day for men or binge drinking 5 or more days per month for men and women.
- Binge drinking is defined as consuming 4 to 5 drinks for women and men respectively in about 2 hours or drinking to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 g/dL or above.
Heavy alcohol use and binge drinking increase the risk of developing alcohol use disorder. Most people can drink safely at low levels. However, it is recommended that some people avoid alcohol completely, for example, commercial drivers and heavy machine operators. These occupations require high levels of skills, alertness, and coordination. The use of alcohol can lead to accidents, injuries, and DUI charges.
What are the Causes of Alcohol Addiction?
It should be noted that alcohol addiction often stems from underlying reasons. This includes:
- Genetic Factors: Patients who have a family history of alcoholism are more like to develop a problem of alcohol addiction.
- Social Factors: Peer pressure, work stress, failing relationships, and other societal factors can lead to constant alcohol consumption which gradually develops into alcohol dependency.
- Psychological Factors: Patients reportedly suffer from addiction and mental health disorders together. This condition is known as co-occurring disorders. Mental health issues can be treated at support groups and group therapy that are often in the mental health treatment services at recovery centers.
- Early Exposure: People who begin drinking at an early age, particularly during adolescence, are at a higher risk of developing alcohol addiction. Early exposure to alcohol can have a lasting impact on brain development. Young adults and adolescents are often introduced to alcohol at an early stage.
- Brain Chemistry: Alcohol increases the levels of dopamine in our brains. Dopamine is the “feel-good” hormone. Constant alcohol consumption can lead to the brain’s dependency on it to secrete dopamine. Patients with mental health issues like depression are more likely to develop alcohol addiction through this pattern.
- Mindset: Personality traits, such as impulsivity, sensation-seeking behavior, rebelliousness, and a lack of self-control, may increase the risk of alcohol addiction.
Effects of Alcohol Addiction on Health
Alcohol has adverse effects on our health. These effects are highly dependent upon a patient’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and alcohol tolerance level. Binge drinking is the primal cause behind the alarming increase in one’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
People with a high BAC begin to experience loss of muscle coordination, mood swings, and changes in personality and behavior with a drastic decrease in inhibitions. Health services have noted that individuals with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.20%-0.299% reportedly appear intoxicated, and all mental, sensory, and physical capabilities become impaired. They appear to feel nauseous and are observed to have a significant lack of coordination, balance, and speech.
- Mood swings and behavioral changes.
- Lack or difficulty in coordination.
- Speech impairment.
- Trouble walking.
- Lack of judgment.
- Reduced levels of alertness and reflex actions.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Decreased body temperature and blood pressure.
- Slowed pulse and breathing.
- Blackouts and amnesia.
- Excessive sleepiness and loss of consciousness.
What are the Dangers of Alcohol Withdrawal?
Alcohol withdrawal can be a risky phase for patients seeking recovery. Abrupt quitting of heavy alcohol consumption may trigger a range of severe symptoms, including:
In severe cases, life-threatening conditions such as delirium tremens can emerge. A heightened state of confusion and agitation necessitates immediate medical attention. Moreover, untreated withdrawal symptoms can lead to complications such as dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Medicare providers in alcohol rehabilitation centers can help patients towards a safe and lasting recovery.
Understanding Alcoholism Treatment
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for alcohol use disorders (AUDs). However, it can be successfully managed and treated to full recovery. Professional drug addiction treatment in an alcohol rehab, residential treatment, and treatment programs can help people suffering from AUDs recover from alcohol addiction and encourage sober living.
People struggling with alcohol addiction can benefit from treatment programs. They have a variety of options to choose from to treat AUD, including detoxification, inpatient rehab, outpatient programs, inpatient program, and intensive outpatient services. Besides this, behavioral therapies, group therapy, medication-assisted treatment, partial hospitalization, and recovery support are also provided as per individual needs.
When to Seek Treatment?
If a person is noticing that their drinking habits are drastically impacting their life in a negative manner, it may be time to seek professional advice and treatment for long-term wellness.
If one either fits the criteria of an AUD patient or is diagnosed with AUD, they should consider seeking treatment options as addiction recovery gets difficult when kept untreated for a long period of time. A dual diagnosis with a co-occurring substance use disorder may also call for treatment.
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Types of Treatment for Alcoholism
The first step to recovery from an AUD is usually Detox, but detox alone is rarely sufficient for patients. Detoxification offers a safe, controlled, and supervised by healthcare professionals.
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According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), patients at risk of life-threatening alcohol withdrawal symptoms should seek detox in an inpatient healthcare facility, for example, a hospital or treatment program and treatment center.
Inpatient rehab programs vary in duration, ranging from short stays of 3–6 weeks (which may need to be followed by outpatient rehab) to longer stays of 6–12 months at therapeutic communities (TCs), providing structured programming and assistance.
Inpatient and residential rehab stays are beneficial because they provide a distraction-free and trigger-free environment to avoid relapse for successful recovery and sober living.
Regular counseling is important for proper communication and guidance during recovery. Counseling provides a safe space to openly talk about feelings. It will also help in treating underlying issues that may be triggering the patient’s drinking problem. You may also refer to government-managed online resources, such as Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to learn about treatment options and treatment facilities available to American citizens.
Treating Alcoholism Statistics
95% of Americans struggling with alcoholism do not seek treatment options.
Every year, more than 30% of patients seeking treatment for alcohol addiction use public or private health insurance coverage like Medicaid as a payment method.
Stages of Treatment
Detoxification refers to the complete elimination of alcohol from the body. The most severe withdrawal symptoms generally surface within the first 24 to 48 hours. While some symptoms are minor, others can be more serious.
Rehabilitation consists of various therapies and treatments administered at drug rehab centers. During rehabilitation, patients are taught coping skills for everyday situations after leaving drug use, such as opioid use.
Now, patients slowly adjust themselves to daily life. Aftercare is vital, due to which patients are advised to join support groups.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Washington
There is a range of treatment options available at alcohol treatment centers in Washington for people who are trying to drink less or stop drinking completely. Alcohol addiction treatment facilities offer customized programs with with SAMHSA accreditation, tailored to the needs of the recovering alcoholic’s situation and goals. Sometimes, people who have been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) are mandated by a court to enter alcoholism treatment for problem drinking.
The first step in alcohol rehab is typically detoxification. Medically-supervised detox gets alcohol out of the system and gives the body a chance to adjust to a new, healthier state. Most people choose to go to a professional alcohol addiction treatment center to manage withdrawal symptoms like tremors (shaking), hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t real), and seizures.
No medicine can cure alcoholism, but several medications are used during alcohol addiction treatment to reduce cravings and make recovery easier and safer. A medication called disulfiram (Antabuse) makes you sick if you drink. It is utilized to prevent recovering alcoholics from drinking by instilling the fear of uncomfortable symptoms. Other medications, such as acamprosate (Campral) help reduce cravings for alcohol and prevent relapse. Naltrexone (Revia) blocks the effects of alcohol (the high) and makes drinking less enjoyable.
The next step in alcohol rehab is counseling and therapy to help recovering alcoholics change their behaviors and deal with stress and triggers in a healthy way. This part of alcohol addiction treatment also includes building a strong support system of family members and friends.
Getting DUI Help in Washington State
Alcohol is the most frequently reported substance of abuse in all addiction treatment admissions. More than one-third of all referrals for substance abuse treatment originate in the criminal justice system. Court-mandated and state-funded alcohol addiction treatment is ordered to reduce drinking and treat alcohol problems. DUI offenders are commonly required to attend treatment to address problems arising from alcohol or drug abuse. Court-ordered interventions include education (teaching offenders how alcohol impairs driving) and professional treatment at alcohol treatment centers in Washington. DUI help can also be in the form of sanctions (revocation of license or alcohol ignition locks that require the driver to pass a breath test before the vehicle will start). These measures are critical in avoiding the penalties of drunk driving, such as fines, loss of license, loss of employment, and prison sentences.
Family Involvement in Alcohol Rehab
People who are drinking excessively often do not realize they have a problem. It falls upon family members and friends to find options for alcohol addiction treatment for their loved ones. Sometimes, a DUI charge is the wakeup call that tells relatives a person has alcohol problems that need to be addressed. The good news is that no matter how severe the problem may seem at first, a professional alcohol treatment center in Washington can help overcome alcohol use disorder. Studies have shown that people who have strong family support have a better chance of maintaining abstinence from alcohol. Most people who receive treatment can reduce their drinking and many have no further problems with alcoholism. If you (or someone you love) are regularly drinking more or longer than intended and have been unable to cut down or stop drinking on your own, it’s time to get professional help.