Alcoholism or alcohol use disorder (AUD) is one of the biggest health crises in the United States. According to the CDC, more than 88,000 people die from alcohol-related deaths each year in the United States. That adds up to nearly one million people in the past decade alone. The opioid crisis receives a lot of well-deserved coverage in the media, but many wonder why the damage done by alcoholism doesn’t also receive prominent attention.
One reason people often overlook the risks of alcohol is that it’s legal, easily available, and socially acceptable. Alcohol can seem less dangerous than other substances, but alcohol abuse causes damages to the lives of people and their loved ones across all lines, including age, gender, race, religion, and economic status.
Another reason is that many younger people begin experimenting with binge drinking in college, and by the time they graduate, it has become normalized to them. A national survey showed that almost 55 percent of full-time college students ages 18 to 22 drank alcohol in the past month and about 37 percent engaged in binge drinking during that same time frame.
Launch Centers understands the devastation that alcoholism can cause in a person’s life and offers several options for treatment. We provide detoxification, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and outpatient programs that are designed to fit the specific needs of our clients. We help people detox from the toxins that alcohol has built up in their systems and manage their withdrawal symptoms.
Therapy proves beneficial for anyone with an addiction, and we offer therapeutic modalities including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), trauma-informed care, art therapy, experiential therapy, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). We also teach valuable life skills to help a person return home having received a well-rounded selection of valuable tools to keep them focused on and excited about recovery.
According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, it is estimated that 16 million people in the United States have alcohol use disorder. AUD is a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not drinking.
People who are dependent on alcohol often hide some of their symptoms, and some may simply deny the severity of them. These are some of the most common signs of alcohol use disorder to look out for:
- Feeling a strong craving or urge to drink alcohol or being unable to limit the amount of alcohol you drink
- Spending a significant amount of time drinking alcohol or recovering from the effects of alcohol use
- Failing to fulfill major obligations at work, school, or home due to repeated alcohol use
- Continuing to drink alcohol even though it results in negative consequences (e.g., losing a job, getting a DUI, etc.)
- Skipping out on social activities and hobbies that you once used to enjoy
- Developing a tolerance to alcohol that causes you to increase your consumption in order to feel the same effect
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms (e.g., nausea, sweating, shaking, moodiness) when not drinking or drinking to avoid these symptoms
Alcohol misuse is common in the teenage years, with alcohol use disorder frequently developing when a person is in their 20s and 30s. However, it can start at any age. Alcoholism has a variety of genetic, psychological, social, and environmental factors that can contribute to a person developing it. Some of the common risk factors associated with it include:
- Regularly drinking more than 15 drinks per week for males and more than 12 drinks per week for females
- Binge drinking habits starting at an early age
- Family history of substance abuse
- Mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia
- History of trauma or stress-related situations
- Social and cultural factors
If you or someone you love suffers from alcohol use disorder, we can help. Launch Centers in Los Angeles treats alcoholism and drug addiction, as well as any co-occurring mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. We plan treatment around your individual needs and help you choose sobriety and change your life. Contact us today and let us help you take that first step into recovery.