Alcohol is a legal and controlled substance consumed by the majority of the population. Alcohol is known to lower inhibitions and anxiety. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 14.1 million adults in the United States struggled with an alcohol use disorder in 2019. What was once called alcoholism, alcohol use disorder or alcohol addiction is characterized by a physical dependence on alcohol and the inability to stop drinking without intervention despite the negative consequences to an individual’s well-being and health. Alcohol use disorder like any addiction is a severe medical condition regarded by the American Psychiatric Association and diagnosable in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Alcohol addiction can take a serious toll on an individual’s life. The disease can develop at any time and is often the result of significant underlying issues. Alcohol addiction affects both men and women at different rates. Men are more likely to binge drink, while, due to the physiological makeup of women’s bodies, women are at twice the risk for long-term health complications and fatalities due to alcohol abuse. This is why it’s necessary to find the right alcohol addiction treatment program. At Heather Fisher Recovery Services, we can provide the necessary therapy to help individuals heal from the disease of addiction and make a lasting recovery.
Because of the social nature of drinking in today’s society, alcoholics can sometimes be hard to recognize. There are some ways to tell if a loved one or someone you know is struggling with alcohol in a way that isn’t normal.
Symptoms of alcoholism include:
Addiction is a progressive disease and will only get worse over time. As the body gains a higher tolerance for alcohol consumption, individuals are at a higher risk for long-term health conditions and death due to alcohol poisoning and overdose. Alcohol addiction can cause heart and liver failure, which can also result in fatality.
Other physical effects of alcohol abuse include:
Addiction affects the part of the brain that controls judgment, thinking, and emotional regulation. People with alcohol addiction also put others at stake when taking dangerous risks while drinking; the Center for Disease Control states that drunk driving kills 28 people every day.
Adapted from NCPG/SOGS and DSM-5
Responses should be based on behavior over the past 90 days
NOTE: Addiction is progressive, chronic and 100% recoverable when treated.
Disclaimer: This screening is not designed to make a diagnosis or take the place of a professional diagnosis
consultation. Use this brief screening tool to help determine if further action is recommended.
For help in selecting the proper level of treatment in your area please contact our office.
The causes of alcohol use disorder are related to multiple internal and external factors, including environment and genetics. The brain chemistry of those suffering from addiction is different from those who do not. Although there is no specific gene known that causes addiction, those who have close relatives with addiction may be at a greater risk for developing the disease over time. Social influences such as friends and childhood experiences also influence the risk of an individual struggling with addiction later in life. Children of people addicted to alcohol or who grew up witnessing or experiencing trauma, abuse, and neglect are at a higher risk of using substances later in life.
Alcohol addiction can develop later in life for the older adult as well, triggered by drastic change and traumatic events including:
For this last trigger, individuals often turn to alcohol as a means of self-medicating when they are struggling with a mental health concern. It’s not uncommon for individuals to be unaware that they are dealing with a mental health issue. Unfortunately, the use of alcohol to self-medicate puts the person at a greater risk of developing an addiction while also worsening the mental health issue. When this is the case, individuals are said to have a co-occurring disorder that requires dual diagnosis treatment.