Alcohol is arguably the most socially acceptable mood-altering substance, which can make alcohol addiction more difficult to detect and confront. Alcohol is also a depressant, meaning that it increases the risk of both physical and emotional depression, especially when combined with other drugs. In 2017, approximately one in four people reported to be binge alcohol users, and 16.7 million people were considered heavy drinkers (6% of the U.S. population), according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health

Alcohol Addiction Fast Facts

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies a “drink” as 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol. Here are some other numbers you should know:

  • Binge drinking is when an individual consumes several drinks in one sitting — four for women, five for men.
  • Heavy drinking is when an individual consumes a certain amount of drinks per week or more — 8 for women, 15 for men.
  • Excessive drinking includes binge drinking, heavy drinking, any alcohol use by pregnant women, and any alcohol use by individuals under the age of 21.
Alcohol Addiction

Alcoholism can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint because excessive alcohol users may remain “functional”: Able to work, maintain a home, sustain social relationships, etc. However, there are ways to know if someone in your life may be a functional alcoholic. He or she may:

  • Constantly need alcohol to relax or feel confident
  • Joke about being an alcoholic
  • Get angry when confronted about his or her amount of drinking
  • Lose friendships or have run-ins with the law due to drunken conduct
  • Continually forget what happened when he or she was drinking
  • Make regular excuses for being hungover, to the extent that friends and family also have to make excuses for him or her at times
  • Become aggressive, abusive, or very depressed when drinking

Other signs of alcoholism may be more clear, such as losing jobs, relationships, and family due to drinking. Excessive alcohol use can easily become disruptive to a person’s livelihood, but quitting “cold turkey” can be difficult, even dangerous, depending on the amount of alcohol one has been consuming on a regular basis.

Jennifer Angier

“As somebody that struggled with the disease of addiction, I spent a lot of time trying to stay out of treatment because the idea of going to treatment felt like the biggest failure of my life. The idea of being without that chemical in my body felt incomprehensible. And treatment represented everything I was terrified of. The idea of spending time locked away being told all the things I did wrong, there was nothing appealing about that to me. And none of that is what happened when I found my way into treatment. And none of that is what will happen when you find your way to The Meadows Texas.”

Jennifer Angier, MS

Hear more from Jennifer Angier in this interview on the Beyond Theory Podcast.

Alcohol’s Effects on the Body

The feel-good effects of alcohol result from endorphins that it releases into the brain, which bind to opiate receptors. Alcohol has been known to reduce inhibition and anxiety, producing a feeling of relaxation. Because of this, individuals may readily experience both physical and psychological dependence on this substance, which lends itself to the possible development of addiction. 

Excessive alcohol use takes a serious toll on the body. Long-term effects of excessive alcohol use include:

  • Cognitive impairment
  • Tremors
  • Slurred speech
  • Liver disease
  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Pancreatitis
  • Throat, mouth, and esophageal cancer
  • Fatigue and muscle cramps
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Numbness
  • Thinning bones

Other health risks may also result from alcohol’s effects. An individual under the influence of alcohol may be more susceptible to injury or injuring others, engaging in risky behaviors, or contracting HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases.

Medically Supervised Detox for Alcohol Addiction

Depending on the severity of a person’s alcohol addiction, withdrawal symptoms can range from moderate to high-risk. This is why medically supervised detox is recommended for those seeking recovery from alcoholism. Here are some common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal

  • Anxiety
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Mood swings
  • Nightmares
Medical detox

More serious withdrawal symptoms include fever, seizures, hallucinations, and severe confusion. A supervising medical professional can monitor symptoms and ensure that they don’t become dangerous, and proper care can alleviate some of the discomfort. Once detox is completed, the rehabilitation process can begin.

Alcohol Rehab at The Meadows Texas

At The Meadows Texas, our focus is on treating the whole person in order to achieve holistic, long-term recovery. We are able to address not just the physical symptoms of alcoholism, but the emotional and psychological symptoms that accompany it. As a dual diagnosis inpatient rehab center, we also treat any co-occurring mental health conditions in the same setting so that an individual experiences the best chance at lifelong, sustainable recovery.

Our approach includes individual and group therapy, holistic practices such as yoga and mindfulness, and an emphasis on wellness and nutrition. We treat each person with the dignity and respect they deserve, empowering them to own their recovery process. Many of our experienced staff members are in recovery themselves and can connect with what our patients are going through. If you or a loved one needs alcohol rehab, look no further than The Meadows Texas. We would love to talk to you today and help you get started on the path to recovery. 

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If you or a loved one would like to know more about treatment at The Meadows Texas, please give us a call to speak to one of our trained intake coordinators for assistance.

Call 833-757-5697