Alcohol detox is the first step in alcoholism treatment, and it often requires 24/7 medical attention. Abruptly ending or reducing alcohol consumption after a period of excessive use may cause the body to experience withdrawal symptoms that can range from mild to life-threatening. Having the support of an inpatient medical detox center can help to ensure a safe and comfortable withdrawal process. The success of alcohol detox can then be carried over into treatment for alcoholism.
Florida Center for Recovery (FCR) offers an all-inclusive onsite inpatient alcohol detox in Florida with comprehensive therapeutic services. The FCR alcohol detox admissions process includes a complete medical and clinical examination, development of an alcohol detox protocol, and the planning of individualized therapeutic services to address each patient’s specific needs.
If a patient also suffers from a co-existing mental health condition, such as anxiety and depression, an integrated dual diagnosis treatment plan will be a part of his or her treatment for alcoholism.
What is Alcoholism?
Internally, alcoholism is characterized by changes in a person’s brain chemistry due to chronic alcohol abuse. Externally, alcoholism is characterized by the inability to control how much one drinks. In fact, alcoholics struggle to stop drinking at all. Another sign of alcohol dependency and addiction is the need to drink more and more alcohol to not obtain withdrawal symptoms.
Many people who suffer from alcoholism also continuously binge drink. Binge drinking occurs when a male consumes five or more drinks within two hours or a female consumes four or more drinks within two hours.
Severe health risks are associated with the act of binge drinking. In fact, alcoholism, in general, can cause a person to experience life-threatening health issues. Not every person that has a drinking problem suffers from the same level of alcoholism though. In fact, alcoholism can be mild, moderate, or severe.
One can determine a person’s level of alcoholism by the alcohol addiction signs and symptoms that he or she exhibits. But regardless of the level of alcoholism that a person suffers from, if a person is an alcoholic, he or she should attend treatment for alcoholism.
The journey of alcoholism occurs in four stages. These stages of alcoholism are exemplified in the Jellinek curve. The Jellinek curve is a chart that describes the stages of alcoholism. As an alcoholic progresses through each stage of alcoholism, things get worse and worse unless someone breaks the cycle of dependency and attends addiction treatment.
Stage 1: Pre-Alcoholic
In the first stage of alcoholism, otherwise known as the pre-alcoholic stage, individuals start turning to alcohol to make themselves feel better, eliminate anxiety, or forget about their troubles. If a person starts drinking more to do these things more than they do to socialize and simply enjoy a nice drink, then that person is already in the pre-alcohol stage of alcoholism. Thus, that person is susceptible to developing an alcohol use disorder.
Stage 2: Early Alcoholic
In the second stage of alcoholism, individuals start to abuse alcohol. When a person is in this stage of alcoholism, that person will start to always do reckless and sloppy things due to consuming too much alcohol.
For example, a person in the early alcoholic stage of alcoholism may always blackout due to drinking too much. A person in this stage of alcoholism will also start to crave alcohol all the time. Individuals in this stage of alcoholism will even sneakily drink alcohol at inappropriate times and lie about it.
Stage 3: Middle Alcoholic
During this stage of alcoholism, it’s apparent to others that a person has a drinking problem. This is partly due to the fact that individuals in this stage of alcoholism will exhibit the physical, mental, and behavioral signs of alcohol addiction. Individuals in this stage of alcoholism will also struggle to upkeep their daily responsibilities due to their excessive alcohol use.
Stage 4: Late Alcoholic
To individuals in this stage of alcoholism, drinking is the most important thing in their lives. In fact, individuals in this stage of alcoholism are willing to sacrifice their livelihood, relationships, and health to continue drinking.
Late alcoholics will experience severe withdrawal symptoms when they minimize or discontinue their drinking. As a result, they will not be able to quit drinking without professional help.
Causes of Alcohol Addiction
There are many reasons why a person may develop an alcohol addiction. In fact, the cause of alcohol addiction is multifactorial. Some factors that impact the development of alcohol addiction include:
Many people that suffer from alcohol addiction have older family members that also had drinking problems. This is because genetic history can play a role in one’s relationship with substances. Thus, people that have a genetic predisposition to developing addictions such as alcoholism, are more likely to suffer from addiction issues.
Early Exposure to Alcohol
How one grows up interacting with alcohol can also impact whether or not a person ends up developing an alcohol use disorder. A person’s environment influences his or her development. So, if a person grows up being exposed to alcohol at a young age, it could cause that person to be more inclined to develop an alcohol use disorder. This is especially true if that person already has a genetic predisposition to developing an alcohol use disorder.
Peer pressure doesn’t just stop in childhood. People experience some form of peer pressure throughout their entire lives. Unfortunately, because drinking is such an intricate part of socializing in many cultures, many people experience peer pressure to abuse alcohol.
Since all human beings have a desire to fit in, many people bend to the pressure to abuse alcohol. When people fall under the pressure to abuse alcohol on a daily basis, they may start developing alcohol dependence and addiction. Once a person does experience alcohol dependency and addiction, that person should seek out treatment for alcoholism.
Health Risks Associated With Alcoholism
There are many health risks that are associated with alcoholism. Some of these health risks can even develop under just a mild form of alcoholism. Examples of some of the health risks that medical professionals associate with alcoholism include:
- Heart disease
- Organ damage
- A weakened immune system
- Gastrointestinal issues such as ulcers
- Neurological disorders such as dementia
- The development of mental illness such as depression
- Hypoxia, or decreased oxygen levels to a person’s brain
- Stillbirth in the unborn children of pregnant female alcoholics
- Physical injuries due to falling and other physical incidents while drunk
- Infectious diseases due to a weakened immune system or risky behavior
- Vulnerability to sex crimes due to not being fully aware of one’s surroundings
- Developmental issues in children whose mothers abused substances while pregnant
- Alcohol poisoning
- Alcohol overdose
Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction
There are numerous signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction. People with milder alcohol addictions may exhibit fewer signs and symptoms of alcoholism than those with more severe addictions to alcohol. Individuals who have less severe alcohol addictions may also exhibit the signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction, but to a lesser degree than those with more severe alcohol addictions. Regardless, all alcoholics exhibit at least a few of the following signs and symptoms.
- Craving alcohol
- Weakened immune system
- An increased alcohol tolerance
- Troubles at work or school due to alcohol use
- Inability to function normally due to alcohol use
- No longer enjoying activities that you once enjoyed
- Continuing to drink even though you know that it’s ruining your life
- No longer participating in hobbies or activities that you once enjoyed
- Trying to minimize or discontinue your use of alcohol but not being able to
- Using alcohol at times when it isn’t safe to, such as when swimming or driving
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you minimize or discontinue your use of alcohol
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
One of the signs of alcohol addiction is a dependency on the substance. When a person is dependent on a substance, that person experiences withdrawal symptoms anytime that he or she minimizes or discontinues use of the substance. Due to how addictive alcohol is, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be severe. Some common alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:
- Troubles sleeping
- Body aches and pain
To manage the severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms that individuals receive when they discontinue their use of substances, it’s imperative that people attend professional alcohol detox. Detoxification is the process of ridding one’s body of substances.
Oftentimes, when people detox from substances as addictive as alcohol, the withdrawal symptoms that they experience reach the pinnacle of intensity. As a result, the human body will go into shock due to no longer having substances in it that it has been dependent on to function for so long.
In fact, if alcohol withdrawal symptoms aren’t managed properly, they can cause a person to experience long-term health defects and even death. That’s why it’s so important to detox in a professional medical detox facility.
When detoxing in a professional medical detox facility, a medical staff filled with physicians and other medical professionals will monitor you 24/7. During medical detox from alcohol, the medical staff will also make sure that you taper your use of alcohol.
Tapering is the act of gradually minimizing the use of a substance. The purpose of tapering is to prevent the human body from going into shock due to completely quitting all use of substances cold turkey.
If after tapering the use of alcohol during detox, you’re still experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms, the medical staff at a professional medical detox facility will prescribe you medications that you can take to help you manage.
Treatment for Alcoholism
After completing alcohol detox, individuals that are suffering from alcoholism should attend professional treatment for alcoholism. When receiving addiction treatment for alcoholism, it’s best to attend an inpatient treatment program. This is because inpatient treatment programs provide patients with the 24/7 care and monitoring and intensive therapy that patients who are addicted to a substance as addictive as alcohol need to achieve sobriety.
Achieve Sobriety Here At Florida Center for Recovery
At Florida Center for Recovery, we offer inpatient alcohol detox and addiction treatment programs for individuals in all stages of alcoholism. Thus, you can use our alcohol detox and addiction treatment programs to finally overcome your alcohol addiction.
Alcohol is not the only substance that we provide inpatient detox and addiction treatment for. In fact, we provide inpatient detox and specialized addiction treatment programs to a wide variety of substances.
Therefore, regardless of the substance that you’re addicted to, you can receive the help that you need to achieve sobriety here with us. To learn more about FCR and the various detox, addiction treatment, and therapy services that we offer at our treatment center, contact us today!