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Alcohol Addiction in Alabama (800) 331-2248
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Alcohol Addiction in Alabama

Alcohol use is prevalent in American culture, but for some users it can easily lead to problems with dependence and addiction. Similar to other addictions, problems with alcohol can result in job loss, broken relationships and profound health problems. Professional treatment is available for alcohol addiction in Alabama to help individuals regain control over their lives.

What Is Alcohol Addiction?

Alcohol addiction is defined as a brain disease that causes uncontrolled consumption of alcohol. Like other addictions, alcoholism causes changes to the brain’s chemistry that are linked to the pleasure and reward centers. As the chemistry becomes altered, the brain can no longer produce the normal neurotransmitters associated with these states. As a result, the individual must continue to use alcohol in order to receive feelings of happiness and reward.

How Dependence Develops

Alcoholism can develop from common drinking behaviors such as binge drinking, drinking more than expected or drinking frequently throughout the day. These behaviors can shift into an addiction quickly, at which point the individual will lose their ability to control the use of alcohol. Individuals then find themselves seeking out more frequent opportunities to drink, arrange their schedules to accommodate their drinking or strategizes ways to drink during their normal activities.

Statistics on Alcohol Addiction

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration notes that between the years of 2008 and 2012, 211,000 Alabama residents over the age of 12 were dependent on or had abused alcohol in the month prior to the survey each year. About 7 percent of Alabamans reported engaging in heavy drinking each year during that period. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, alcoholism is the 3rd leading lifestyle-related cause of death in the nation, responsible for loss of 88,000 lives annually.

Alcohol’s Effects on the Body

Short-term effects of alcohol include drowsiness, vomiting, slurred speech, poor coordination, distorted perception, unconsciousness, periodic blackouts and breathing problems. Long-term use of alcohol can produce many health problems that can last a lifetime. Liver damage, kidney damage, problems with cognitive function, memory issues, nerve damage, malnutrition and cardiovascular disease are common health issues seen in alcoholics. Long-term use of alcohol can also increase your risk for certain types of cancer.

Dangers of Alcohol Addiction

Addiction to alcohol poses a number of dangers to the individual. Long-term use increases the risk of liver damage and heart disease. Alcohol poisoning from uncontrolled drinking can potentially lead to death. Driving under the influence can cause deadly accidents for both the drinker and other people on the road. Using machinery or equipment while under the influence can lead to injury or death of the drinker, as well as others in the vicinity.

Reproductive Effects

The effects of excessive alcohol use can also extend to the individual’s sexual and reproductive life. Men can experience lower testosterone levels, impaired sperm production and impotence from alcohol dependence. In women, excessive alcohol use can cause menstrual irregularities, reduced fertility and the risk of damage to the fetus if they become pregnant. A range of abnormalities can occur in babies birthed by women who use excessive amounts of alcohol. These fetal alcohol spectrum disorders can include a variety of problems, including mental retardation, facial abnormalities, learning disabilities and behavioral problems. Avoiding the use of alcohol during pregnancy is critical to the normal development of the baby. Women with alcohol addiction problems should seek professional treatment immediately upon learning of their pregnancy.

How Treatment Can Help

The goal of treatment is to restore normal brain chemistry and break the cycle of addiction so that the individual can begin restoring their work lives and relationships. This process involves considerable efforts on the alcoholic’s part, as they grow to understand how addiction works and how drinking has affected their lives. During treatment, patients are assisted in developing a variety of tools to use in everyday life to help them resist alcohol cravings and rebuild supportive relationships.

Alcohol Content in Common Beverages

The drink of choice does not necessarily indicate the severity of one’s dependence to alcohol. People can be addicted to beer, wine, spirits or alcoholic sports drinks. Here are a few facts about the alcohol content in common beverages:

  • Beer -A 12-ounce glass contains 5 percent alcohol
  • Wine – A 5-ounce glass of wine contains 12 percent alcohol.
  • Spirits – One shot, 1.5 ounces, of vodka, whiskey or tequila is about 40 percent alcohol.
  • Alcoholic coolers, malt liquors or cider – These drinks can vary widely in the amount of alcohol content, from 5 to 20 percent. The labels will indicate the proof of alcohol in the beverage.

Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction

The alcoholic will exhibit a number of behaviors that make it apparent that an addiction has formed, such as:

  • Increased tolerance, needing more alcohol to achieve the same effect.
  • Increased frequency of drinking or drinking at inappropriate times
  • Seeking places and situations where alcohol is present
  • Less contact with people who do not drink, and more contact with drinking friends
  • Hiding alcohol use
  • Neglecting family, work or school responsibilities in order to use alcohol or recover from excessive alcohol use
  • Legal problems due to drinking, broken relationships, loss of job

Treatment for Alcohol Addiction

Detoxification is the first step in the treatment process. Withdrawal from alcohol can cause fatigue, headache, tremors, nausea, stomach pain and hallucinations, but these symptoms can be reduced with medications and other forms of treatment. After detox, group and individual therapy, cognitive behavioral training, family therapy and other methods help alcoholics to understand their addiction and how to manage it. Relapse prevention techniques help these individuals recognize the people and situations that trigger their drinking and provide alternative methods to keep them from relapsing.

Aftercare that includes attendance at support group meetings can have a significant impact on the recovering alcoholic’s chances of success. Programs that include all of these aspects, offer the best support for individuals dealing with alcohol addiction in Alabama.

If you or a loved one struggles with alcohol dependence, call a substance abuse facility today to learn about the treatment options for alcohol addiction in Alabama.