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Understanding Alcoholism

Little Creek Lodge is a trusted alcohol treatment center in Pennsylvania

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Alcoholism is widely recognized as a disease of compulsive drinking, which can be arrested, but not cured. It’s a progressive illness, which will only get worse as long as the person continues to drink. Abstinence is the only way to arrest the disease. Alcoholism affects the entire family. Indeed, everyone who has contact with the alcoholic is affected. As a result, alcoholic families need support. Furthermore, many people close to a person with a drinking problem may wonder how to help an alcoholic, or what is the cure for alcoholism? 

Unfortunately, the only person who can stop an alcoholic from drinking is the alcoholic himself. When individuals want to overcome an alcohol addiction, they can attend alcohol detox followed by alcohol addiction treatment. Once in recovery, the individuals in recovery from alcoholism should then go through the 12 steps of addiction.

Who Are Alcoholics?

They can be anyone, from any and all backgrounds and walks of life. Over 95% of alcoholics have families, friends, and jobs. They may function fairly well, but some part of their life is suffering. Constantly, their drinking habits cause a growing problem in their lives and the people surrounding them.

How Do Alcoholics Affect Families and Friends?

Alcoholism is a family disease. The disease affects everyone who has a relationship with an alcoholic. Individuals that are closest to alcoholics suffer the most. The people that care the most about an alcoholic can even get caught up in figuring out how to help an alcoholic. 

Oftentimes, people react to the behaviors of individuals that are suffering from alcohol addiction. Loved ones of those suffering from alcohol addiction focus on the people with the addictions, what they’re doing, where they are, and how much they are drinking at all times. In doing these things, many people that are close to individuals that suffer from alcohol addiction try to control the drinking habits of the alcoholics. 

Loved ones will also take on the blame, guilt, and shame that really belong to the people with drinking problems. People can become as addicted to helping alcoholics as people do to alcohol. Sometimes figuring out how to help an alcoholic can even make people sick. 

An alcoholic controls his or her family through guilt, victimization, or parent-splitting. Oftentimes, alcoholics will even find individuals in their families to take care of them. Once this happens, the entire family of the alcoholics tends to start fighting amongst themselves over the people in their families that are suffering from alcohol addiction.

Alcohol Addiction Statistics Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism

According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 85.6% of people ages 18 and older have drunk alcohol at some point in their lives. According to this same survey, 69.5% of people drank alcohol within that past year, and 54.9% drank alcohol within the past month that the survey was taken. Also, 25.8% of people ages 18 or older report binge drinking, and 6.3% report heavy drinking within the past month that the survey was taken.

High-intensity drinking is when individuals drink two or more times the alcohol than the gender-specific binge drinking threshold. High-intensity drinkers are 70 times more likely to experience an alcohol-related emergency department (ED) visit than people that don’t binge drink. Furthermore, people that drink at three times the gender-specific binge drinking threshold were 93 times more likely to experience an alcohol-related ED visit than people that don’t binge drink at all. 

Alcohol addiction is one of the most common and addictive forms of substance addiction. In fact, the 2019 NSDUH  states that 14.5 million people ages 12 or older suffer from an alcohol use disorder. Of those people, 414,000 were adolescents ages 12-17. 

Alcohol-Related Deaths

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 95,000 people die from alcohol-related causes annually. This statistic makes alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. With alcohol being one of the leading preventable causes of death in the U.S., loved ones of alcoholics are willing to do anything to help their friend or family member overcome addiction.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism

To understand alcoholism, it’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms of alcoholism. There are numerous signs and symptoms of alcoholism. 

Some of the classic symptoms of alcoholism include:

  • Wanting to stop drinking but can’t
  • Strong cravings for alcohol
  • Increased alcohol tolerance
  • Yellow skin and/or eyes due to liver damage
  • Dry skin, hair, or nails due to excessive alcohol drinking drying out the body
  • Strong odor of alcohol coming from the body and breath
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Alcohol withdrawal symptoms

Common Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Two of the most major signs of alcoholism are not being able to control one’s drinking and experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms when one minimizes or discontinues drinking alcohol. Common alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Shakiness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive sweating
  • Tactile, auditory, and visual hallucinations                                                                                                                                                                                                       
  • Seizures
  • Delirium tremens
  • Increase in heart rate
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Nightmares
  • High blood pressure
  • Fever

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning

People that overdose from alcohol do so from alcohol poisoning. According to the CDC, six people die every day due to alcohol poisoning. Alcoholism is a factor in 30% of alcohol poisoning deaths. 

The signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe mental confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin
  • Low body temperature
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Inability to wake up
  • Stupor
  • Seizures
  • Weak pulse
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Cardiac arrest

If a person is suffering from alcohol poisoning, it’s vital that someone calls an ambulance immediately. While waiting for an ambulance to take the person with alcohol poisoning away to the hospital for treatment, try to keep the person with alcohol poisoning awake and in a sitting position. If a person can, also try to give the individual that is suffering from alcohol poisoning water to drink while waiting for an ambulance to arrive. 

Alcohol Detox

12 steps of addiction Detox is the process of ridding the body of alcohol and drugs. Alcohol detox is the first step in the cure for alcoholism. 

When detoxing from alcohol, it’s important to attend a professional, medical detox. This is because alcohol withdrawal symptoms are often severe. Thus, individuals that are detoxing from alcohol need constant supervision from physicians and a medical team to ensure that alcohol detox goes safely. 

If individuals experience severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms during medical detox, the doctors supervising the alcohol detox will prescribe them withdrawal medication. The use of prescription withdrawal medication during medical detox is called medication-assisted treatment. 

Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS)

Sometimes, individuals that are detoxing from substances such as alcohol experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS). PAWS are lingering withdrawal symptoms that occur after acute withdrawal and post-rehab. PAWS due to alcohol misuse can last anywhere from a few days to a year. 

Common post-acute withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Low energy
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Poor memory
  • Dizziness
  • Increased proneness to car accidents
  • Delayed reflexes
  • Intense cravings
  • Chronic nausea

How to Diagnose Alcoholism

Individuals that want to learn how to help an alcoholic should know how alcoholism is diagnosed. When a doctor diagnoses a person with alcoholism, he or she will first review the person’s medical history. While doing so, the doctor will look for signs of alcoholism in the person’s medical history. 

Particularly, alcoholism signs that the doctor will look for when trying to make an alcoholism diagnosis include hand tremors, irregular heartbeat, dehydration, and fever. Additionally, a doctor that is trying to diagnose alcoholism will also likely perform a toxicology screen on the person that he or she is seeing. 

A toxicology screen is a test to see how much alcohol is within a person’s body. To diagnose and measure alcohol withdrawal symptoms, a doctor will give a patient a questionnaire called the Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment of Alcohol (CIWA-Ar).  

Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Once alcoholism is diagnosed and individuals that suffer from alcoholism go through medical detox, it’s time for them to attend alcohol addiction treatment. It’s best to attend an inpatient form of addiction treatment when treating alcoholism. 

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient alcohol addiction treatment is alcohol treatment that requires patients to live in a rehab facility while receiving 24/7 care and supervision. This form of addiction treatment is for people with severe addictions. 

Individuals that are looking to attend inpatient treatment for alcoholism can attend standard inpatient treatment or residential inpatient treatment. The main difference between these two forms of inpatient treatment is that standard inpatient treatment is more structured than residential inpatient treatment. Thus, individuals attending residential treatment receive more free time to themselves. Residential inpatient treatment patients also receive more time to partake in holistic forms of addiction treatment. 

Outpatient Treatment Understanding Alcoholism

Outpatient addiction treatment programs don’t require patients to live in rehab facilities while receiving care. This means that outpatient addiction treatment patients can live in their own homes in between rehab sessions. 

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) Treatment

There are three types of outpatient treatment for alcoholism. The most intense one is partial hospitalization program (PHP) treatment. PHP addiction treatment requires patients to attend rehab for five to eight hours a day, five to seven days a week. PHP treatment is usually for patients with moderate to severe addictions.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) Treatment

The second most intense form of outpatient addiction treatment is intensive outpatient program (IOP) treatment. IOP treatment requires patients to attend rehab for a few hours a day, a few days a week. IOP treatment is typically for people with moderate addictions.

Outpatient Program (OP) Treatment

The least intense form of outpatient addiction treatment is the standard outpatient program (OP) treatment. This form of outpatient treatment requires patients to attend rehab for a couple of hours a day, once or twice a week. OP treatment is usually for people with mild addictions. 

12 Steps of Addiction

Whether a person is attending an inpatient or outpatient form of addiction treatment for alcoholism, it’s important that that person also attends 12 steps of addiction programs for alcoholics. Regularly attending anonymous 12 step meetings for alcoholism, otherwise known as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), is a great way to help individuals in recovery maintain sobriety.  

How to Help An Alcoholic Through Little Creek Lodge?

Little Creek Lodge is a drug and alcohol treatment center located in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Here at Little Creek Lodge, we follow the 12-Steps of addiction in conjunction with recreational therapy and clinical care while offering residents a holistic approach to treating their addictions. 

We here at Little Creek also offer a structured, safe environment with 24-hour care for all of our residents to recover from addiction. We also offer outpatient and family counseling programs. Furthermore, we provide individuals that need extra assistance transitioning from treatment back into the real world through our sober living facility, Shane’s House. Shane’s House is located on the Little Creek Recovery property, adjacent to Little Creek Lodge.

On top of going through the 12 steps of addiction, we here at Little Creek, take our residents through the Three Stages of Care. That way they can reconnect with themselves, learn how to ask for help, and reengage with the world. 

Our Little Creek residents learn how to empower themselves through their choices. They also learn how to reconnect with their spirituality. That way they can heal their minds, bodies, and souls and move forward in life.

Learn How to Help an Alcoholic Through The Use of Little Creek Lodge Today

Little Creek Lodge provides comprehensive clinical and holistic therapies to help treat alcohol addiction. If your loved one is suffering from alcoholism, let our Little Creek family help your family. To learn more about our alcohol addiction treatment program and services, contact us. We would be more than willing to answer any questions that you may have about alcoholism and how to help an alcoholic close to you.  

References:


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Little Creek Lodge
359 Easton Turnpike
Hamlin, PA 18427