A Brief Overview of Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol is the world’s most deadly drug, killing more people than all other drugs combined. It is ranked as the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
The devastating effects of excessive alcohol use tear apart families, drain finances, cause loss of jobs or school expulsion, and may result in arrest. Alcohol can cause permanent health deterioration, and it can lead to death. In fact, long-term alcohol use isn’t necessary for life-threatening consequences to occur. One episode of binge-drinking, or the first time driving drunk, can result in death.
Alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence now fall under the classification of alcohol use disorder. Individuals are determined to have a mild, moderate, or severe alcohol use disorder dependent upon the number of symptoms they exhibit.
A Self-Test For Signs of An Alcohol Problem
A tool called the CAGE questionnaire was developed in 1968 by Dr. John Ewing, founding director of the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The CAGE tool is considered to have a 93% accuracy in pinpointing an alcohol problem.
The short test can be administered by a doctor or as a self-test. Respondents should consider behaviors and feelings over their lifetime and not just in the present.
- Have you ever felt you needed to cut down on your drinking?
- Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
- Have you ever felt guilty about drinking?
- Have you ever felt you needed a drink first thing in the morning (eye-opener) to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover?
The probability of having an alcohol problem is 25% if you answered yes to 1 question, 50% if yes to 2 questions, 75% if yes to 3 questions, and 95% if yes to all 4 questions.
Answering yes to 2 or more questions does not diagnose a person as an alcoholic. It does indicate there may be a problem and a broader look into symptoms of alcohol use disorder is advisable.
How Does Alcohol Affect Your Health?
Alcohol affects your health in many ways, causing both physical and mental issues. Though some people may think only long term drinking can cause health issues, short term binge-drinking is also dangerous. Both are dangerous, but the duration of alcohol abuse is realized differently.
Short Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse
- Alcohol poisoning
- Memory loss
- Self harm
- Coordination loss
- Impaired judgement
Long Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse
- Increased risk of dementia and stroke
- Increased risk of stomach ulcers and bowel/stomach cancer
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased risk of liver cancer
- Reduced testosterone levels and sperm count in men
- Heart attacks
- Reduced fertility in men
- Heart damage
- Increased risk of liver cirrhosis
Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal
The body’s nervous system controls blood pressure, breathing, heart rate, motor nerves, digestive glands, muscles, and motor function. Because alcohol is a depressant, it acts to slow normal functioning of the nervous system. After time, the nervous system adapts to the presence of alcohol, but once that alcohol is no longer present, the nervous system jumps into a hyperactive state. This can cause withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Anxiety or depression
- Mood swings
- Restless, irritable
- Shaky, jumpy
- Nausea, vomiting
- Body ache, fever
- Sweating, clammy skin
- Insomnia, nightmares
- Racing heart, high pulse rate
Severe withdrawal from alcohol can result in delirium tremors (DTs), which can cause seizures, hallucinations, extreme confusion, heart attack or stroke. DTs dangerously impact how the brain regulates the circulatory system and breathing, and can cause critical changes to the heart rate and blood pressure.
Withdrawal symptoms don’t all happen at the same time, and not every person going through withdrawal will experience all symptoms. Initial symptoms usually start 5-10 hours after the last drink, while other symptoms may kick in over the next few days. Most symptoms decrease within 5-7 days. Detoxification from alcohol can be dangerous and should take place under medical supervision.
Treatment for Alcohol Abuse at BlueCrest Recovery Center
BlueCrest Recovery Center offers a safe, comfortable, and highly effective outpatient treatment program for those with alcohol use disorder. Combining therapeutic techniques with a unique holistic approach, the Center’s highly trained, compassionate staff works with you to heal mind, body, and health.
Our alcohol rehab center includes group, individual, and family therapy presented in an outpatient or intensive outpatient format.
- Intensive program provides a fuller exploration of relationship conflicts, and builds upon skills learned during the therapeutic process.
- Outpatient programs provide a safe, structured environment for recovery, while allowing you to continue to work or go to school, and to live at home.
The addiction specialists at BlueCrest will help you to understand the psychological factors that have contributed to your addiction, and teach you skills and tools to overcome those issues. They will work with you to rebuild damaged relationships, as well as help you to address work, legal, or other issues. As it’s not uncommon for those with substance abuse issues to have co-occurring disorders, like depression or anxiety, therapists will help you address those issues as well.
Start Your New Life At Our NJ Alcohol Recovery Center
The team at BlueCrest Recovery Center will help you to rebuild your life. If you need detox before entering a treatment program, we will help you find the best fit for your recovery needs. And if the best course of treatment for you is a residential treatment program before participating in a structured outpatient program like ours, we will help you with that as well. We want you to have the best chance of long-term sobriety and the life you deserve. Take your first step toward living a happy, sober life. We invite you to contact BlueCrest Recovery Center today.