Perhaps one of the oldest and most commonly consumed addictive substances in the world, alcohol is something that plays a part in many people’s lives. From social events to dinners at home, drinking alcohol is a commonplace habit that millions of Americans can participate in without ever having an issue. But for others, their alcohol consumption spirals out of control until it becomes an addiction.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), nearly 15 million Americans over the age of 12 are currently dealing with an addiction to alcohol. But each year, only an estimated 7 percent of these people actually seek help for their problem. Alcohol-related illnesses account for 18 percent of emergency room visits, and nearly 100,000 alcohol-related deaths in the U.S. every year.
What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism, more commonly referred to as alcohol use disorder these days, is a chronic brain disease that makes people crave alcohol. These people are unable to control their drinking, even when they know that it is causing problems with their health or their daily lives. Alcoholism is an addiction, and it changes how your brain works by making it so that drinking is the only thing that makes you feel happy and relaxed. This makes it extremely difficult to stop drinking, as alcoholics will experience a range of negative withdrawal symptoms such as illness, depression, anxiety, and more, if they try to stop drinking without proper treatment.
Who Becomes Addicted to Alcohol?
As with any other disease, alcoholism has certain signs and symptoms that can help you to decide if you are suffering from this disorder. The most common ones include:
- Frequently ending up drinking more or longer than you meant to.
- You can’t cut down on or stop drinking, even when you try.
- Drinking so much you can’t remember what you did (blackouts).
- You spend a lot of your time drinking or recovering from hangovers.
- You crave alcohol when you aren’t drinking.
- Personal and professional relationships are strained or broken due to your drinking.
- You’ve kept drinking even when you realize it is having a negative impact on your life.
- You’ve cut back or stopped activities, hobbies, or interests to drink instead.
- Having to drink more and more in order to feel the same effect.
- Driving or participating in other risky activities when drinking.
- Suffering from withdrawal symptoms when you go too long without a drink.
Different environmental factors, from your home environment to who your friends are to traumatic experiences, have been found to play a part in experimenting with alcohol, and becoming addicted.
People who have a family history of alcohol abuse are at a higher risk of becoming an alcoholic themselves, as certain genetic traits affect addiction.
A History of Mental Health Issues
For people who have an existing mental health issue, the risk of becoming an alcoholic is twice that of someone without mental health issues.
When You Start Drinking, and How You Do It
Other things that can heavily influence a person’s likelihood of becoming addicted is trying alcohol at a very young age, as well as participating in binge drinking.
Overcoming Alcohol Addiction
After detox, we recommend transitioning into our alcohol rehab in Orange County. We treat every individual and their circumstances for what they are—unique. By providing a variety of therapy options and group work, we create a well-balanced schedule to support you as you transition into sustainable sobriety.
We know that expectations and pressures vary on who you are, so at our center we tailor treatment to young adults, women, men, and most importantly, you.