Alcohol addiction is the oldest addiction and certainly one of the most common addictions in the US.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, almost 18 million Americans are dependent on alcohol.
The World Health Organization’s 2011 Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health confirms that alcohol, when abused, is a worldwide problem causing “millions of deaths” and is also responsible for the loss of “hundreds of thousands of young lives.”
With 2.5 million deaths worldwide as a result of alcoholism, binge drinking damages far more than the health and bank balance of the problem drinker. The WHO describes problem drinking as “very costly to communities and societies.”
There’s some good news among those very sobering global statistics, though…
Since alcohol has such a lengthy and far-reaching history of abuse, there are effective methods of treating alcohol addiction.
Alcohol addiction, like any chemical dependency, leads to changes in brain chemistry. The negative backlash from drinking to excess spills over affecting not just the life of the drinker but the friends and family.
Alcoholism the US remains a significant problem today. Reports from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the NIH (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism show that approximately 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes each year. These deaths put alcohol in third place as a preventable cause of death after tobacco and poor diet/lack of physical activity.
Back in 2010, the estimated financial burden in the US due to alcoholism was a staggering $249 billion.
With 33% of 15-year-olds Americans in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) having tried alcohol and over 10% of US children having a parent with an alcohol problem, the issue of alcohol abuse is a nationwide flashpoint.
Things don’t get much better with college students. In the 2015 NSDUH, 1825 students aged 18 to 25 die from injuries related to alcohol. Almost 700,000 assaults occur as a result of intoxication. A sobering 97,000 instances of sexual assault and date rape attribute to excessive drinking. The excessive alcohol consumption culminates in fully 1 in 4 college students readily admitting to suffering adverse academic consequences as a result of alcohol.
Nationwide, alcoholism is negatively impacting babies, college students, families and communities so how about in California specifically?
In California, 7.3% of residents over the age of 11 suffer from alcohol abuse or dependency in 2012-13 with an estimate of 2.3 Californians battling against alcohol use or dependency each year.
Between 2009 and 2013, over 185,000 people in California sought alcohol addiction treatment.
Alcohol use is estimated to cost the state over $30 billion a year, the fifth highest cost per capita of all states.
In 2012, alcohol was the second most common drug of abuse for all Californians admitted to public treatment programs, second only to marijuana.
When it comes to detox treatments, alcohol is second only to heroin in Los Angeles County. It should be remembered, though, that many people admitted for heroin detox also abuse alcohol. Over 40% of all those Californians in treatment for substance abuse also report issues with alcohol.
These figures make for truly arresting reading and underscore the huge problem alcohol poses when abused.
What are real risks involved when it comes to health and overall well-being, though?
Many of the shorter-term health risks are due to binge drinking, something we’ll highlight just below.
These risks include but are not limited to:
Left untreated, alcoholism can lead to the onset of severe health issues and chronic diseases including the following:
Binge drinking is when a male drinks 5 or more drinks in a 2-hour period. A woman drinking four drinks in that same timeframe is binge drinking.
When this behavior occurs 5 or more times in the space of a month, it’s considered heavy drinking.
A 2013 national survey showed that 25% of Americans admit to binge drinking in the preceding month. In California, binge drinking seems to be increasing.
When does binge drinking and heavy drinking cross the line and become alcoholism? Here are some common warning signs that indicate drinking is becoming an addiction…
If you or someone you know are experiencing these problems with drinking, it might be time to take action so what should you do?
Attempting to regulate problem drinking alone and without seeking professional assistance is not the best approach.
Effective treatment programs can help you from the point of initial detox through to the early stages of recovery. From here, programs offer long-term support to help you overcome alcohol addiction and stay on the path of sobriety despite the challenges you’ll inevitably face.
While medical treatment is not always necessary, for anyone in the grip of alcohol addiction, a residential program makes things more accessible from the withdrawal faced during detox to the early days of recovery where it can be very tough to stay sober without a rigid support network in place.
Although indeed not the only practical approach to recovering from alcoholism, 12-Step programs offer a structure that we’ll highlight now…
While not the only approach to successfully treating alcoholism, Alcoholics Anonymous claims over 2 million members worldwide with over 1.3 million members US residents.
Most reputable recovery programs follow this 12-Step treatment which offers an established pathway for anyone who wants to quit drinking.
The 12-Step program considers alcoholism on 3 different levels:
Broadley group 12 steps into four distinct phases:
Admission: Before anything else, the problem drinker needs to admit that their drinking is entirely out of their control. This ties in neatly with the idea of alcoholism as a disease.
Submission: After admitting to powerlessness, the alcoholic needs to entrust themself to a higher power in any way they understand that concept. The program does not require an alcoholic to subscribe to a particular faith, and this higher power can be anything the problem drinker chooses.
Restitution: Alcoholics begin to acknowledging the harm caused to others and looks at ways in which to make amends for the damage done.
Helping Others: Upon completion of all 12 steps, the alcoholic is required to reach out and extend help to others in need..
Being at the point of detoxing from alcohol, here is what you can expect from a 12-Step program.
Rather than merely listing out the 12 steps – you can find those in full here – we’ll look at the core concepts included in each of these steps toward ongoing recovery…
These steps work with the expectation that each step is complete. Don’t turn to the next one or give up. Setup path to follow with a degree of flexibility.
All that’s asked of new members is to have an open mind. Then explore the initial concepts without any pressure.
New members of a program are reminded that alcoholism is a disease that will not get better, and that there is no cure. It’s reinforced that total abstinence is the only workable solution.
If you or someone you love is struggling to cope with alcohol addiction, there’s no reason to struggle.
At Vita Nova Rehab Newport Beach, we can help you every step of the way from fully managed detox through to a lifelong path of sobriety.
In our private and luxurious rehabilitation center, you can put alcohol behind you. Confidently emerge as a happier version of yourself without needing to rely on alcohol any longer.
The first step, though, comes well before step 1 of a meeting. The very first step is to set your pride to one side and get in touch to discuss detox and treatment, or to investigate long-term recovery options.
We’re here to help you every single step of the way.