Alcohol, with its legal status and as an esteemed and socially acceptable accompaniment to most any event, has devastating consequences when used long-term or in large amounts. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, finding the best alcohol rehab is vital to your sobriety and long-term recovery.
What Is Alcohol?
Alcohol is a liquid that has been formed from fermented grains, honey or fruit juice for thousands of years. Alcohol has been seen as a large part of culture throughout history. The Egyptians, Chinese and Indians all utilized alcohol as early as 3000 B.C., and the Babylonians worshipped their goddess of wine in 2800 B.C. From communion to office events to college parties, we can see the huge role that alcohol plays in U.S. society today.
Even during the Prohibition period of the 1920s in the U.S., most people still found ways of using alcohol. While the laws forbade the manufacturing, selling, importing or exporting of alcohol, many stores became fronts for Speakeasies, which are establishments that illegally sold alcohol.
What Are The Dangers Of Alcohol?
In the U.S. today, approximately 15 million Americans suffer from alcoholism and 40% of all traffic deaths are attributed to alcohol abuse. Alcohol-related deaths are the fourth leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.
Studies show that alcohol use during adolescence can interrupt normal brain development and increase the likelihood of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). Underage drinking also facilitates an array of serious consequences, some of which include sexual assault, accident, and death.
According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH):
- 85% of individuals 18 and over reported that they drank alcohol at some point in their lives
- 70% reported that they drank in the past year
- 55% reported that they drank in the last month.
- 27% of individuals 18 and over reported that they binge drank in the past month
- 7% reported that they drank heavily in the past month
In this same 2015 study:
- 15.1 million adults 18 and over have Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), with 9.8 million men and 5.3 million women
- Approximately 1.3 million adults received treatment for AUD at a reputable facility
- 623,000 teens 12 to 17 had AUD, with 298,000 boys and 325,000 girls
- Nearly 37,000 teens received treatment for a drinking problem in a facility in 2015
- About 88,0009 individuals die from alcohol-related fatalities every year
Alcohol can also cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), as well as increasing the risk of liver disease and cancer of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, and breast.
What Are The Problems Surrounding Alcohol?
Alcohol is everywhere. Its presence can be found on billboards, magazines, movies, television, T-shirts, pajamas, hats, dishes, trucks, at parties, sporting events, and socials. Everywhere we look, alcohol is promoted and seen as a necessity in many situations, in order to have fun, to take the edge off. We hear it called “liquid courage” for the shy guy or an evening de-stressor for the hardworking individual.
While we are told that 21 is the legal drinking age in the U.S., most people acknowledge that this rule is rarely followed. From the high school girl with a college-age boyfriend to the frat boy with connections to the marine who binge drinks at age 18, there are numerous ways that the legal drinking age is not enforced.
Issues surrounding alcohol include economic, global and family burdens due to misuse/abuse:
- $249 billion cost for the U.S. in 2010, with 3/4 of the total cost related to binge drinking
- 3.3 million deaths globally in 2012
- 200 diseases and injury-related health concerns, including cirrhosis and cancer, in 2014
- 5.1% of the burden of disease and injury globally in 2012
- Fifth leading risk element for premature death and disability worldwide
- Over 10% of U.S. children live with a parent with alcohol issues
Why is Alcohol Addictive?
Alcohol is both psychologically and physically addictive. Physically, the body learns to function with this high level of alcohol intake, creating tolerance and dependence. Psychologically, the person learns to mask his/her feelings and avoid discomfort through drinking alcohol. Cravings are intense and withdrawal symptoms can be very harsh, which are discussed below.
Alcohol Withdrawal And Detox
Alcohol is one of the most dangerous substances to detox from because quitting cold-turkey can have deadly consequences on a heavy drinker or alcoholic. Organs can shut down and the heart is at risk of permanent damage. This is why it is crucial to have medically supervised detoxification at an alcohol rehab facility.
Treatment Options For Alcohol Abuse And Addiction
The best treatment options for alcohol addiction is an inpatient facility for at least 30 days, preferably 90 days or more, if possible. This allows the body to heal, the individual to learn skills for living in sobriety and for the entire family to become educated on the disease of addiction and how to support the struggling loved one.
After an in-patient facility, it is important for the individual to do a step-down into either sober living or an outpatient alcohol rehab program for continued support. It is highly recommended that anyone struggling with alcohol addiction receive family support in the form of encouragement and firm boundaries as well as community support through Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.