Alcohol rehab is the process of addressing the physical and mental components of addiction to alcohol. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, nearly 24 million people have abused or are addicted to alcohol. Despite this statistic, only about two million people seek alcohol rehab treatment each year.
Alcohol abuse and alcoholism are not the same thing, though both can necessitate alcohol rehab. Alcohol abuse is defined by an ability of individuals to set limits on their drinking, even if their use is ultimately self-destructive and dangerous (e.g. driving while intoxicated). Those who are addicted, however, have no control over their drinking and are physically dependent on alcohol. Without ethanol, they will experience withdrawal symptoms. If you or someone you know is suffering from the negative symptoms of substance abuse, seek help now. To learn all about your treatment options in NY, call Alcohol Treatment Centers New York at (646) 918-5955.
Alcohol abuse is characterized by primarily social signs and symptoms. These include neglecting responsibilities, using alcohol when it is physically dangerous to do so (e.g. driving), drinking even though it is causing problems (e.g. loss of employment, health issues, etc.), and frequently drinking as a way to “relax.” Not all alcohol abusers, however, become alcoholics. Alcoholics are unable to control their drinking and display a different set of signs and symptoms. Alcoholics cannot quit drinking when they want to, give up other activities in order to drink, put a great deal of energy into getting and consuming alcohol, and suffer withdrawal symptoms when they don’t drink for prolonged periods of time (6-24 hours). The first warning sign that alcohol abuse is turning into alcoholism is an increasing tolerance to the effects of ethanol.
In both cases, mental signs and symptoms may hint at the presence of a problem. Examples of such symptoms include increased anxiety, increased anger and agitation, loss of interest in previously stimulating activities, avoidance of friends and family, and so forth. Depression is also a common symptoms.
The long-term effects of alcoholism can damage organs, like the liver and pancreas. Damage to the pancreas is often evident as intense abdominal pain and chronic nausea and vomiting. Liver damage can result in mental confusion, burst blood vessels (e.g. in the throat, skin, rectum), red spots on the skin, and much more. Cirrhosis occurs in about one third of alcoholics.
Prolonged alcohol abuse can cause the heart to enlarge and force the muscular walls of the organ to thin, making it difficult for the heart to pump blood. This can lead to heart failure or even heart attack. Esophageal (throat) cancer is the malignancy most often associated with alcoholism, but liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, and kidney tumors are also common.
The simple answer is that prolonged use of alcohol leads to physical dependence. When this happens, individuals are forced to continue drinking to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Without appropriate treatment, this progresses to full-blown alcoholism. Alcohol abuse is a major risk factor for addiction and should not be ignored as “college drinking” or as the result of a temporary emotional state.
Alcoholism is often under-reported because individuals and their loved ones are reluctant to address the problem. They worry about social stigma, loss of employment, and other such factors. Most importantly, many addicts aren’t interested in quitting. Substance abuse changes brain chemistry, making individuals reliant on alcohol to feel “normal.” Fear of losing that feeling forces addicts to hide their addiction or deny it when it is pointed out to them.
New York Alcohol Rehab Centers offer medical and psychological treatment for addiction. Medical treatment helps to reduce cravings and protects addicts from the potentially life-threatening symptoms of withdrawal. By helping an individual “over the hump,” medical treatment can ease the early stages of abstinence.
Psychological treatment is geared toward identifying addictive behaviors and their triggers. Once identified, it is possible to develop tools for dealing with the behaviors and mitigating triggers. Psychological treatment often employs the use of medications as well. Medications are used to treat underlying conditions and can help to reduce the symptoms that may have led to alcohol abuse in the first place. They also provide a legitimate and highly-effective means by which patients can address the worst of their symptoms.
Call Alcohol Treatment Centers New York at (646) 918-5955 for more information about treatment program options.