Alcohol Addiction


Alcohol Abuse, Addiction, and Treatment in Texas

Alcohol use is common in the United States. While many can maintain a healthy relationship with alcohol, some people struggle to control their drinking and may develop alcohol addiction. Research by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that about 14.5 million people over 12 in the United States have an alcohol use disorder (AUD). Alcohol abuse and addiction are serious conditions that require treatment and support.

At Flourishing Foundations Recovery, we understand that no two individuals are alike and that individualized treatment is the key ingredient to long-term recovery. That’s why our alcohol addiction treatment program near San Antonio, Texas uses a holistically-tailored, one-to-one approach that addresses each and every one of your needs. Start your recovery journey by giving us a call today.

How Much Alcohol is Too Much?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has guidelines for moderate drinking. Moderate drinking is generally considered safe and is not associated with any known, long-term harm to a person’s health.

Moderate drinking is defined as one or fewer alcoholic drinks per day for women and two or fewer daily drinks for men. The CDC guidelines for what counts as an alcoholic drink are as follows:

  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 12 ounces of beer
  • 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits like vodka, whiskey, or rum
  • 8 ounces of malt liquor

The CDC defines heavy drinking as drinking more than recommended over the course of a week.  For women, this means having more than seven alcoholic drinks weekly. For men, having 15 or more drinks is considered heavy drinking.

How Does Alcohol Addiction Develop?

Alcohol abuse means drinking more than the CDC recommends. Abusing alcohol for a prolonged period may lead to alcohol addiction–sometimes known as alcoholism. Alcoholism is a severe, complex condition that requires professional treatment and ongoing support.

But why do people drink too much? Alcohol is easily accessible to many people and is a socially-acceptable substance. This means that alcohol is present in many social situations and easy to get for personal use. Some may drink socially and develop dependence. Others may use alcohol to dull physical or emotional pain. This is called self-medicating.

Alcohol may temporarily reduce pain or dull an uncomfortable emotion, but people who self-medicate with alcohol often drink too much. Over time, they may require more alcohol to get the desired effects–this is called tolerance. Tolerance is a clear sign of alcohol abuse and is a risk factor for dependence and addiction.

Alcohol Abuse vs. Alcohol Addiction: What is the Difference?

Moderate drinking is not associated with an increased risk of disease or other adverse outcomes. But some may develop an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. They may use alcohol to cope with pain, stress, or other uncomfortable emotions or manage mental illness symptoms. People with an unhealthy relationship with alcohol might binge drink or frequently drink more over the course of a week than health professionals recommend. But are these behaviors a sign someone is addicted to alcohol?

The answer is complex, but in short–probably not. Alcohol addiction means someone has developed a dependence on alcohol. A person living with alcoholism cannot function without consuming alcohol because their body has become dependent on it. If someone with alcohol addiction tries to stop drinking, their body will be unable to tolerate the absence of alcohol. They will have uncomfortable, sometimes life-threatening, physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms.

Alcoholism also involves a loss of control over alcohol use. Someone with alcoholism will keep drinking even as the negative consequences to their health, relationships, and safety pile up.

Do I Need Treatment for Alcohol Addiction?

Alcohol addiction often causes changes in a person’s appearance, mood, and behaviors. Knowing the signs of alcohol addiction may help you recognize the need for treatment in yourself or a loved one.

Some of the signs of alcohol addiction include:

  • Needing to drink more to get the same effects
  • Drinking more than you planned to
  • Wanting to stop drinking but feeling like it is impossible
  • Facing legal or financial consequences related to your drinking
  • Being unable to keep up at home, work, or school
  • Isolating or losing interest in hobbies, work, or relationships
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms if you do not drink
  • Having cravings for alcohol

Alcohol addiction means a loss of control over your drinking. People with alcohol addiction will continue to drink, even when facing the severe consequences of their drinking, and require comprehensive treatment to overcome the condition.

Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol works to depress the activity of the central nervous system (CNS). When a person drinks, their CNS must become more active to compensate for the effects of alcohol. Over a prolonged period of heavy drinking, their CNS activity may be continuously elevated. If someone with alcohol addiction suddenly stops drinking, their CNS remains elevated, which can lead to severe, sometimes dangerous, symptoms, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia

Some rare, but very serious withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures, dehydration, delirium, and elevated body temperature, require immediate medical intervention.

Alcohol withdrawal is often so physically and emotionally uncomfortable that many relapse before the detox process is complete. People in withdrawal often require medical and emotional support to have a safe, full detox from alcohol.

What Happens in Alcohol Rehab Programs?

Treatment for alcohol addiction happens in stages. First, many people begin by completing a medically-supervised detox program. During detox, medical and support staff monitor patients’ withdrawal symptoms and use medicines and holistic therapies to treat them.

After detox, people move on to an alcohol rehab program that can address their addiction’s physical, emotional, and behavioral aspects. Programs often combine evidence-based and holistic therapies to provide whole-person treatment and support healing. Therapies include:

  • Individual therapy
  • Group counseling
  • Education
  • Medications
  • Medical and mental health care
  • Family therapy
  • Holistic therapies like massage, mindfulness, nutrition counseling, and yoga

After completing treatment, people must practice the skills they’ve learned and stay engaged in recovery to avoid relapse.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Flourishing Foundations Recovery

Alcoholism recovery requires professional medical and psychiatric services. The specific treatments you receive must be tailored to your specific needs for them to be effective.

Here at Flourishing Foundations Recovery, we use a small client-to-staff ratio so you get the comprehensive, compassionate care you deserve. We also diagnose and treat underlying mental health conditions to further help you stay sober.

Alcohol rehab begins with medically-supervised detox. Medical detox helps stabilize your mind and body so you can get past the potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms associated with alcohol abuse and prepare yourself for the rest of your recovery journey.

After detox, you can transition to one of our San Antonio outpatient alcohol rehab programs where you can participate in individually-tailored therapies that meet your unique needs. Treatment options include

  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
  • Outpatient program (OP)

Our alcohol addiction treatment center has a primary focus on mental health and trauma recovery, so we not only help you stop drinking, but we help you address the root cause of your addiction so you can stay sober in the long run.

Get Treatment for Alcohol Addiction Today

If you or a loved one are struggling with alcoholism, please contact us today. Our compassionate admissions counselors are available 24 hours a day to help you begin your recovery.

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