Alcohol is an integral part of contemporary American culture. In fact, it is a socially acceptable drug, which has become synonymous with a wide range of activities. Social gatherings, sporting events, shopping fests, rock concerts, innovative promotions, happy hours and even business conferences revolve around the latest brands of alcoholic beverages. People of all ages participate in such activities, causing more and more Americans to be get trapped in the highly seductive glitz of pints, cocktails, liquors and pegs for every occasion.
The reason for high rates of alcohol consumption can largely be attributed to a high density of alcohol outlets across the country. It all starts with drinking smaller amounts, over time which triggers the urge to indulge in binge drinking, eventually resulting in addiction. Now, a 2013 survey conducted by experts at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), suggests that nearly 13 percent of the American population aged 18 and older (nearly 32 million adults) indulged in perilous levels of binge drinking on at least one occasion.a
The findings of the study published recently in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine also indicate that an overwhelming majority of adult Americans who consume excessive amounts of alcohol are highly vulnerable to the health hazards associated with dangerous binge drinking. “Of the nearly 90,000 people who die from alcohol each year, more than half, or 50,000, die from injuries and overdoses associated with high blood alcohol levels,” said George F. Koob, NIAAA director and internationally-recognized expert on alcohol and drug addiction.
“I have destroyed two relationships because my addiction to alcohol has hurt them badly, but I always end up putting drinking first” — Damien, 36, Los Angeles;
“Week after week, back-breaking work at the warehouse forced me to look for a way out to relax. It all starts with the first glass, and then, there is never a last glass” — Alex, 27, Manhattan;
“Kicked out of my home when I turned 18, I was homeless and broke, and I started begging for money to buy a drink. After years of heavy drinking, doctors told me there was irreparable damage to my liver and kidneys” — Alyssa (name changed), 26, Riverside;
“I was only 15 but my liver was badly damaged and I was on the verge of killing myself from everything I was drinking” – Jeremy (name changed), 22, Chicago;
“When I wanted to quit drinking, I realized that alcohol had taken to my body in such a way that I couldn’t stop” — Adam (name changed), 33, Florida.
Just like these unfortunate individuals, there are millions in the U.S. who are trapped in the clutches of alcohol. Drinkers never see an addiction coming. It sneaks up on them after a while. Recreational drinking can get some people addicted, while others may get trapped by accident. Researchers at Euromonitor International say while the world has reduced its alcohol consumption levels, Americans seem to be forever on a drinking spree. In 2015, the U.S. bought 30.6 billion liters of alcohol — up from 29.8 billion liters in 2014.
During the holiday season, many Americans indulge in heavier-than-usual drinking behaviors and actually end up not remembering what they did last night or on Thanksgiving. However, many people tend to ignore the fact that indulging in short bouts of heavy drinking or drinking heavily over a long period of time can certainly cause long-term damage to their physical as well as mental well-being. Depending on an individual’s tolerance level, it may take one week to several months for addiction to penetrate its roots. In reality, addiction is a stealthy ambush predator, which catches the drinker totally unawares.
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is treatable
Decades of scientific research have shown that neither alcoholics are powerless over their addiction to alcohol nor are they helpless victims of heredity, an infirmity, a spiritual malaise or character flaws. Over a period of time when people can learn to become addicted, in such a case, they can also make the necessary modifications to harness their brains’ ability to rewire itself to overcome their addictive behavior.
When dealing with people suffering from alcoholism, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. What may work for one person may not be a good solution for another. What is important is to understand the different options, which may include:
- Behavioral treatments: Treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are aimed at identifying the underlying causes and changing thinking patterns through counseling in order to:
- Develop the skills required to reduce drinking.
- Build a strong social support system.
- Strive to set reachable goals.
- Manage the triggers that might cause a relapse.
- Medications: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved three medications for treating AUD:
- Naltrexone, which helps reduce heavy drinking.
- Acamprosate, which makes it easier to abstain from alcohol.
- Disulfiram, which blocks the metabolism of alcohol in the body.
- Mutual support groups: Combined with professional treatment, mutual support groups can offer a valuable added layer of support and a platform for like-minded individuals to share their worries, concerns and encourage each other to stay sober.
In fact, for a successful recovery what matters most is willpower. People with AUD need to look at modifying their destructive habits through alternatives such as substitution drinks and distractions. In fact, counseling sessions in the rehab centers focus on helping patients to view alcohol as a choice rather than a compulsion. They are reminded of the fact that they have power over alcohol by choosing to abstain from it. Such a conscientious awareness goes a long way in helping individuals rewire their faulty thinking patterns.
Seeking professional help
Alcoholism affects everyone alike, without any sort of discrimination at all. Life for an individual affected by alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a constant search for the next drink. Sovereign Health understands the plight of someone who is unable to discontinue the use of harmful substances such as alcohol despite the negative impact on his or her life.
Our customized alcohol addiction treatment programs are tailored to individual needs in order to treat the person holistically. Sovereign Health of San Clemente’s alcohol rehab programs can help reverse the damaging effects of alcohol by addressing the underlying causes of alcoholism in individuals grappling with such an addiction.
If you or your loved one is battling addiction to alcohol, get in touch with Sovereign Health to gain access to the latest and innovative alcohol abuse treatment programs at our state-of-the-art centers in California or in other alcohol recovery centers across the U.S. Call at our 24/7 helpline or chat online to know about the most effective treatment for alcoholism.