AT LIFE OF PURPOSE
Alcohol Addiction & Rehab - What You Need to Know
Alcohol presents unique challenges to the recovering individual. There is no substance that is more woven into our daily lives or social norms. Drinking is not only socially acceptable; it’s often encouraged. Our favorite pastimes frequently feature alcohol: sporting events, dinner with friends, relaxing with colleagues after work. Our milestones often feature alcohol too: weddings, funerals, baby showers, joining a fraternity or sorority. It is difficult to discuss alcohol without acknowledging that it is distinctly different than other addictive substances, because a person does not typically have to justify not using other substances, such as heroin or cocaine. However, because of its prominent role in American culture, many of those struggling with alcohol addiction must contend with not only withstanding the early phases of recovery like all addicted persons, but with societal pressures and loss of inclusiveness as well.
In many ways, the social acceptance of alcohol is deceiving, because social acceptance is often equated to a thing being relatively harmless. This is simply not true. While there is some research that indicates that moderate alcohol consumption can have health benefits, many people that consume alcohol drink significantly more than indicated by these guidelines. There is also another growing body of research that even moderate drinking can cause significant harm to the body. Alcohol is identified by experts as one of the most dangerous and addictive drugs, and there is some evidence that suggests that excessive alcohol consumption may be even more physically lethal than illegal drugs such as heroin or cocaine.
Alcohol affects the brain by releasing endorphins and increasing dopamine, the chemicals that make a person feel good. This is the reason why alcohol can be so addictive, because for many people, alcohol starts off as making many of us feel more sociable, relaxed, and generally happy. However, as a person continues to drink, there are immediate negative side effects, such as impaired judgement, cognition, and motor skills. Even someone that drinks infrequently can suffer from poor decision making when under the influence of alcohol. Occasional “binge drinking,” (defined as more than five drinks daily for men, more than four for women) may have devastating effects even if the individual isolates their drinking to weekends or special occasions.
As alcohol addiction progresses, negative consequences typically do as well. A person may confront legal issues, such as a DUI, that are costly and time consuming. Alcohol may cause shifts in personality, creating issues with family and friends. Someone might begin to call out of work because of their alcohol use, or their performance may suffer. As alcohol is a depressant, mental health issues can worsen or become more difficult to treat. Even if an individual remains “a high functioning” and manages the external circumstances of life, compulsive alcohol use nevertheless often obscures underlying emotional pain, and then complicates this original pain further by fusing it with chemical addiction.
The long-term effects of alcohol dependence are brain damage, including Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, which severely impacts memory, comprehension and motor skills. Long-term, heavy drinking significantly increases risks for heart disease, cancer, and multiple forms of liver disease. In fact, every system of the body is subject to damage by excessive alcohol use – this is why alcohol is considered such a lethal drug. These are only some of the potential physical outcomes and do not include the emotional, mental, professional and spiritual consequences of alcohol addiction.
Detox from alcohol for those whom are physically dependent is dangerous and requires careful medical monitoring. However, while medical management of alcohol withdrawal is critical, most people require intensive therapeutic support to recover from alcohol addiction. For many, alcohol and other substances are maladaptive coping skills. Recovery requires not only that we stop using our harmful coping skill, but that we identify, learn and use healthy ones. Recovery also requires working against many of the tendencies developed during alcohol addiction, such as joining a recovery community instead of choosing isolation, exploring emotions instead of numbing them out, and communicating with loved ones instead of avoiding real contact.
At Life of Purpose, we offer a full continuum of outpatient care, including ambulatory detox, for clients looking to recover from alcohol addiction. Our committed, compassionate staff understands the intense challenges, but also the incredible rewards, of healing from addiction. We will be there every step of the way to ensure that you receive the emotional support, medical attention and professional treatment that begins successful recovery. You can expect to learn new coping skills, gain understanding into the nature of addiction and to be an active participant in your own treatment. Although alcohol abuse and dependence are common disorders, we know that every person is unique in their recovery, and treatment is tailored to the individual needs of every client.
Life of Purpose offers rehab from alcohol, drugs and opioid (prescription meds) at our various locations in Florida and Pennsylvania.