Alcoholism is a severe problem in the United States, and the number of those struggling with an alcohol use disorder (AUD) continues to rise each year. Perhaps it’s the legality and easy access to the substance, but it’s a problem that affects individuals from all walks of life. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA), more than 80,000 people die from alcohol-related deaths each year throughout the country.
Alcohol is one of the most preventable causes of death only second to tobacco and poor diet. Alcohol has a profound effect on the entire body, but this is especially true for the brain, heart, liver, and immune system. While its negative impacts are well-known, we are consuming at a higher rate than ever before.
The Mayo Clinic describes alcoholism as a physical and emotional dependence on alcohol, and someone who is an alcoholic cannot control their impulse to drink. Alcoholism can cause problems in their relationships, job, school, finances, and health problems.
Unhealthy alcohol use includes any alcohol use that puts your health or safety at risk or causes other alcohol-related problems. It can also include binge drinking which is a pattern of drinking where a male consumes five or more drinks within two hours, or a female consumes at least four drinks within two hours. Binge drinking can cause severe health and safety risks and prompt the user to engage in making poor choices.
Alcohol use disorders can range from mild to severe based on the number of symptoms you can experience. It can include periods of alcohol intoxication when the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream increases. The higher the concentration of alcohol in your blood, the more impaired you will become.
When intoxicated, alcohol causes behavior problems, mental changes, unstable moods, impaired judgment, slurred speech, impaired attention or memory, and poor coordination. Those who excessively consume alcohol have also reported blackouts which are periods of not remembering an event. Extremely high levels of alcohol in the blood can lead to coma or even death.
What follows alcohol intoxication for those who abuse the substance is alcohol withdrawal. It can occur when alcohol use is heavy, prolonged, and then stopped or significantly reduced. It can happen within several hours to four or five days later. Someone that is struggling with alcohol withdrawal can experience sweating, hand tremors, rapid heartbeat, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, hallucinations, restlessness, anxiety, agitation, seizures, and in extreme cases, delirium tremens. The symptoms can reach levels where they affect your ability to function in your daily routine.
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Alcoholism and addiction are often rooted in someone’s childhood, and that person was likely exposed at a young age to alcohol and its intoxicating effects. Children who start drinking before age 15 are six times more likely to succumb to alcohol addiction. Studies show that 40 percent of all 10th-graders drink alcohol, and children are more likely to give into peer pressure that could awaken a problem they have on their minds. It may seem like an innocent act to have a few beers with their friends, but for some, it could be a deadly game that fuels them to become addicted.
Children are extremely susceptible to developing an addiction to alcohol, but studies also show that college students experience it at a high level too. Other studies have shown that some of the highest rates of substance abuse in the country stem from students abusing alcohol in college. Alcoholism was initially thought to be a disease that affected middle age men or women, but the more data that is released show that is not true. Young adults are the majority when it comes to alcoholics in the country.
The case with most substance and drug abuse is that the root cause and desire to use stems from a mental disorder. People that are in pain seek substances that numb the pain that mental disorders can cause. While it may seem like a feasible short-term solution, long-term alcohol abuse has adverse effects that can be fatal.
There are no genes proven to be linked to the development of alcoholism; there are genes that have been shown to reduce the effects of a hangover caused by alcohol though. The same genetics also increase the pleasurable effects of drinking and can push someone to abuse and build tolerance. When working together, genes can influence someone’s ability to become addicted to alcohol.
Ninety percent of those addicted to alcohol know they are addicted but refuse professional treatment. Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common and contributes to less than desirable outcomes. Severe alcohol withdrawal can become fatal if left untreated. Reducing, or stopping heavy alcohol consumption, is not something that should be overlooked. Alcohol withdrawal is a severe issue that demands professional assistance to overcome addiction and ensure a healthy detox.
If the advice for professional treatment is ignored, there are outcomes that the individual can face that include continuing to abuse or treating themselves by quitting cold turkey. It is not a real solution for a severe medical condition.
Cold turkey is a method of abstaining from alcohol that means someone quits all intake of alcohol abruptly. The process of cold turkey should never be considered due to how dangerous it can be. Several withdrawal symptoms can result in significant harm to the person in question. It may seem like a quick and cheap solution to a massive problem, but it can be met with dire consequences and discomfort. There will not be medical supervision or support that the user needs and the rate of relapse from cold turkey detox are generally higher than an actual medical detox.
Alcohol detox can be severe when it relates to past use, but it depends on the length of time someone has been drinking, and the amount in which they consume.
While the symptoms are uncomfortable, more severe withdrawal can be fatal. Seizures and a condition that affects five percent of alcoholics called delirium tremens can cause death. Hallucinations have also been noted as well as hypertension and hypotension. Due to these serious medical conditions, addiction specialists and physicians alike highly recommend someone stopping the use of alcohol and seek medical detoxification.
The process will allow them to be overseen for a period of up to seven days in a facility that matches their needs. If someone has made the decision to abstain from alcohol for a better life, it is imperative that they do it in a way that does not harm themselves or set them up to relapse. There is help available to treat alcoholism at Maryland House Detox. Our facility prides ourself on helping our clients take the next step to a better life.
Alcoholism is a serious disorder that requires intensive detox to overcome. Not only is the disorder itself dangerous, but the withdrawal can be fatal. Fortunately, Maryland House Detox offers you the options you need. Many people go on to live full lives outside of alcoholism, and you can be one of those people. Learn more about addiction treatment options and how to overcome your addiction by calling our treatment specialists. Call (888) 263-0631 today and take your first steps toward sobriety. When you are ready to take the step toward a better life, we are ready to make it a reality.
Alcohol use disorder. (2018, July 11). from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alcohol-use-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20369243
Alcohol Facts and Statistics. (n.d.). from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-facts-and-statistics