Alcohol addiction is of great concern across our nation, including in Texas. Texas has long had a tenuous relationship with alcohol. In 2015, Texas ranked highest in the nation for drunk driving fatalities. In that same year, 5.8 percent of adults in Texas self-reported that they were chronic, or heavy drinkers, a detrimental pattern which substantially increases the risk of addiction.
Is It Safe To Drink Alcohol? And In What Amounts?
This is a hotly debated topic. But to put it bluntly, in the words of the World Health Organization “there is no safe level for drinking alcohol.” This may shock you. While there are levels which government agencies consider “low-risk,” or levels which lower your risk for developing an alcohol use disorder (AUD), alcohol can still present problems within your life.
But, as a guideline, low-risk drinking is considered anything less than:
- Three drinks per day or less for women, not to exceed seven drinks per week.
- Four drinks per day or less for men, not to exceed 14 drinks per week.
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Recognizing and respecting these guidelines can help you to make healthier decisions in your life. This will help to decrease your risk of alcohol addiction and alcohol-related adverse health effects.
What Is Heavy Drinking And Does It Increase Your Risk Of Addiction?
On the other hand, heavy drinking is considered anything over these levels. Do you recognize these patterns in yourself? The National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism cautions that “About 1 in 4 people who exceed these limits already has an alcohol use disorder, and the rest are at greater risk for developing these and other problems.”
Heavy drinking significantly increases your risk of developing an alcohol addiction and numerous health problems, many of which can cause death.
What Are The Signs Of An Alcohol Addiction?
Alcohol abuse occurs on a spectrum, and as it accelerates in severity the risks associated with it climb proportionately. The following criteria encompass damaging patterns and behaviors which define an AUD. Individuals with an alcohol addiction will exhibit a significant number of the following behaviors.
- Drink larger quantities or for longer periods of time than you planned on?
- Struggle to reduce how much you drink or find you can’t stop at all?
- Lose a large part of your life to drinking or feeling hungover?
- Find that thoughts of alcohol override any other thought in your mind?
- Drop the ball at home, school or at work due to drinking or feeling hungover?
- Keep drinking even though it’s creating tensions and issues within your relationships?
- Find that you’re drinking instead of doing things which once brought you fulfillment?
- Engage in risky or unsafe behaviors while under the influence which put your in harm’s way?
- Keep drinking even though it’s affecting your mental health? Or causing you to have periods of time where you have no memory (“blackouts”).
- Need to drink more because what you usually drink doesn’t create the same “buzz” (tolerance).
- Begin to feel ill and out of sorts if you don’t drink or when the alcohol begins leaving your system (withdrawal)?
An alcohol addiction can be difficult, and dangerous, to effectively treat on your own.
How Can Alcohol Destroy Your Life?
Beyond the camaraderie and good times associated with alcohol lies a more frightening truth: alcohol abuse can easily accelerate into addiction if you’re not careful. While it is true that certain factors increase the measure of risk associated with an addiction, addiction can, and does, happen to anyone.
Additionally, alcohol disrupts your physical, mental, emotional and social health, in a way which may lead to:
- Career instability or loss
- Failure in or delay of academic pursuits
- Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
- Illness or disease, including an increased risk of cancer, cardiovascular concerns, stroke and various types of organ damage.
- Increased risk of accidental injury (motor vehicle accidents, falls and drowning)
- Increased risk of suicide and homicide
- Interpersonal problems (with friends, family, partner and/or coworkers)
- Legal repercussions (Driving Under the Influence (DUI), etc.)
- Mental health disorders and mood imbalances (depression, anxiety, etc.)
- Unplanned pregnancies and/or sexually transmitted diseases due to unsafe and unplanned sexual encounters (this risk is especially high with college students).
- Overdose (acute alcohol poisoning) or death
These adverse effects are a double-edged sword. When faced with the destruction alcohol has imparted in their life, many people will continue to drink to numb the pain, thus intensifying their addiction. To prevent these risks from occurring or worsening, a person should seek treatment as soon as possible.
It’s never too late to get treatment. If you’ve already begun to experience the detriment of an alcohol addiction, we can help you cope and heal from these circumstances. Our program will work with you to regain a more fulfilling, functional and sober life.
Is A Medical Detox Necessary For Treatment?
A supervised medical detox is absolutely necessary when an individual is withdrawing from alcohol. Alcohol’s chemical burden is so extreme that withdrawal can be deadly. Even if withdrawal doesn’t reach this point, the physical and mental strain can become unbearable, leading many to drink again. Our medical detox alleviates and reduces these symptoms while your body purges the alcohol’s toxins from its system. It also protects you from relapse.
To do this, we will administer medication-assisted therapies, fluids and nutritive support, as needed. These methods:
- Calm your mental and emotional states
- Reduce your physical unrest
- Work at restoring imbalances caused by alcohol’s toxins
Even with treatment, withdrawal can be very overwhelming. Whether you need a patient ear or a distraction, our compassionate staff will also provide you with companionship during this transitional time.
We want to remind you that a medical detox’s chief concern is to treat the physical addiction. Addiction goes beyond this, however, to imbalance your psychological states as well. For this reason, and to build the strongest foundation for recovery, we recommend that you to progress directly to one of our research-based inpatient treatment programs.
How Do We Treat Alcohol Addiction?
A personalized and integrated blend of counseling, therapy and other modalities will be used to maximize your success within our inpatient alcoholism treatment programs.
- Motivational Interviewing (MI)
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
- Family Therapy and Support
- Adventure Therapy
- Wilderness Therapy
Alcohol depletes your mental and physical health. To revitalize these states, we offer a dynamic blend of supportive care, including our Mindfulness and Stress Management Program, which embodies complete mind, body and spiritual wellness:
Individualized Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Many people begin consuming alcohol to reduce the symptoms of emotional distress, stress or a mental health disorder. In many cases these individuals struggle with a co-occurring mental health disorder. Our dual diagnosis treatment program treats these as well as trauma and codependency.
Enhanced Physical Wellness
Chronic alcohol abuse can lead to extreme dehydration and malnourishment. After detox, it’s critical that you continue to address these conditions. Our advanced nutritive support will continue to re-balance these states and is even enhanced by our chef-prepared meals.
Renew your health holistically even further with art therapy, gym sessions, meditation, Tai Chi, yoga and the peace and adventure found within our diverse outdoor setting. Your spirit will be soothed, your mind stilled and your body restored at Vertava Health of Texas.
Don’t Give Up The Fight
Alcohol is best treated within an inpatient treatment program. If you’d like more information on our life-changing treatment programs, contact us today for a confidential assessment.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism — Alcohol Use Disorder: A Comparison Between DSM–IV and DSM–5
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism — What’s “low-risk” drinking?