What is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is a highly complex and difficult condition, leaving many people feeling alone and lost. Facing up to the idea that you may have a drinking problem can be one of the most difficult aspects of recovery, but it is also the vital first step of the journey. To recover from alcohol addiction, you need to surround yourself with loving, positive people and seek professional help. Therapy, peer support and structure are the cornerstones of addiction treatment, and with the right support, you can get better. The severity of a person’s substance use disorder will determine whether they require inpatient, intensive outpatient treatment or general outpatient addiction services

Alcoholism is a compulsive disorder in which the sufferer finds it impossible to resist the temptation of consuming alcohol. You have probably tried to stop and failed or told friends and family that you want to get better but can’t. That is the nature of addiction. Learning more about the condition can give you the best idea about how to proceed to give yourself the best chance of regaining control over your life.

If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol abuse and need help now call (888) 342-3881 or visit our admissions page to learn more about how to get started.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism

Drinking is an acceptable pastime in society, so it can be difficult to know where the line between healthy and unhealthy alcohol consumption is drawn. Addiction is characterized by a lack of control and the continued pursuit of getting drunk in spite of negative consequences.

According to the DSM 5, 11 criteria indicate an alcohol use disorder. Two to three indicates a mild disorder, four or five is moderate and identifying with six or more demonstrates a chronic disorder, also known as alcoholism. The criteria are as follows: 

  1. Finding that you regularly drink more than you intended or continue drinking for longer than you meant to.
  2. You’ve tried and failed to stop or cut down your consumption.
  3. Spending a significant portion of your time drinking alcohol or recovering from its effects.
  4. Persistently craving a drink and its effects.
  5. Excessive alcohol consumption in spite of problems at home, school or work.
  6. Friends and family are negatively affected by your continued drinking.
  7. Missing out on commitments or no longer partaking in activities you used to enjoy because of alcohol.
  8. Drinking even though it puts you in positions of danger.
  9. Knowing that you’re making a mental health condition worse by heavy alcohol use.
  10. Building a tolerance to alcohol whereby you need to consume more to get the same effects.
  11. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms if you don’t drink or drinking to avoid them.

What Are the Effects of Alcohol?

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. This means it causes vital functions within your body to shut down; the more you drink, the more pronounced its effects are. When you consume alcohol in excess regularly, your body starts to adapt to its presence in your body. Due to the fact it emulates naturally occurring chemicals in your brain, you begin to rely on alcohol to relax, fall asleep and prevent the onset of withdrawal symptoms. In some cases, withdrawal symptoms can be severe enough to require medical detox services within a treatment program.

Some of the immediate effects alcohol has include:

  • Blackouts
  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Obnoxious behavior
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Respiratory problems
  • Headaches
  • Distorted perception
  • Lack of self-awareness
  • Increased risk of accidents
  • Unconsciousness
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Coma

Does Drinking Excessively Cause Long-Term Health Issues?

Yes. Consuming alcohol to excess is dangerous and can cause serious short- and long-term repercussions. Without the help of professionals, overcoming this disease is difficult and potentially hazardous. The safest way to overcome this condition is in an alcohol and substance abuse treatment center with doctors, nurses, therapists and support staff on hand to guide you through the recovery process. If you continue to drink, you put yourself at risk of the following conditions:

  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Stroke
  • Liver disease
  • Nerve damage
  • Infertility
  • Impotence
  • Permanent brain damage
  • Vitamin B deficiency
  • Ulcers
  • Gastritis
  • Malnutrition
  • Mouth, throat, breast and esophagus cancer

What Causes Alcoholism?

Alcohol use disorder occurs as the result of a complex mixture of genetic, environmental and behavioral reasons. The most prevalent cause of alcohol addiction is exposure to addictive substances such as cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol at a young age. Having genes that predispose someone to be impulsive and sensation-seeking, ease of access to alcohol and having close family members who are addicts are also pertinent contributing factors to developing this condition.

That said, not everyone who possesses these traits or goes through these experiences will go on to develop an addiction to alcohol. Each person has unique reasons that lead them to become an alcoholic, but every person can be helped. Alcoholism can be defeated with the right mixture of therapy, support and determination.

If you’re ready to explore the alcohol treatment services available to you or just need to speak to a specialist about what you’ve been going through, call Recovery at the Crossroads at 888-342-3881. Our rehabilitation center in Blackwood, New Jersey has successfully helped hundreds of men and women into a clean and sober life of recovery.

Alcoholism affects nearly 12% of the population. Unfortunately, only one in 10 addicts is seeking treatment. While there is a stigma attached to addiction and rehab, it can be the difference between a fulfilling future and an endless cycle of alcohol abuse. Taking the first step towards recovery is the most difficult as seeing the truth through the fog of addiction is not easy. By seeking professional help, you give yourself and your loved ones the best chance of a happy, healthy life.

What Is Rehab?

Rehab provides a structured, safe environment for people suffering from addiction to work towards a sober lifestyle. Alcohol use disorder doesn’t just affect your body; it changes the way your brain functions and often significantly alters your lifestyle. These changes don’t have to be permanent — with the guidance of doctors, therapists and support workers, your mind and body can be healed.

Addiction is a chronic illness, so recovery is an ongoing process that doesn’t end with rehab. Attending an alcohol treatment center provides the foundation for sustained sobriety by providing you with a blend of group, individual and experiential therapy, as well as education to give you the tools you need to develop healthy coping mechanisms and stay sober.

How Does Outpatient Rehab Work?

During rehab, our staff takes into consideration your individual circumstances and creates a treatment plan customized to your needs. Recovery at the Crossroads is an alcohol rehab in New Jersey with three levels of care programs: partial hospitalization (PHP), intensive outpatient (IOP) and general outpatient (GOP). You attend the clinic every day with PHP, 10 hours a week for IOP and one to three hours for GOP.

Outpatient treatment can be used as a step-down from inpatient (residential) rehab, and it’s also effective for clients whose addiction is at the level where they don’t require a medical detox. It can also help you if you’ve been through recovery before and are worried about or have experienced a relapse.

What You Learn at an Alcohol Treatment Center

Rehab involves a series of therapeutic interventions that help you to address the root causes of your addiction. Counselors aid you in understanding the thoughts and beliefs that drive you to use unhealthy coping mechanisms and show you ways of cultivating effective, positive ways of dealing with stress and emotion. You’ll learn how to identify your triggers, identify positive relationships and formulate a long-term plan for maintaining abstinence.

It’s also vital that people in recovery gain an understanding of how addiction affects the brain and body. When you fully comprehend the long- and short-term impacts excessive alcohol consumption has on you, avoiding a future relapse becomes much more realistic.

If you or someone you love has an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, speak to one of the experts from Recovery at the Crossroads at 888-342-3881 about how alcohol rehab can change your life.