Addiction is a disease and like any disease, it often requires treatment to address properly. Alcohol addiction, or Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), can be tough to navigate for both the person suffering and those around them.
Alcohol addiction affects over 14 million Americans every year. Since alcohol is a legal substance for anyone in the United States over the age of 21 it is easily accessible and socially acceptable, unlike many other substances of abuse.
This can make it difficult at times for those suffering from an AUD to admit that they have a problem and even for the family members and loved ones of the person suffering to spot.
At Bayview Recovery, we understand the importance of substance abuse treatment of all kinds, including alcohol addiction. Our programs for addiction treatment in Washington State offer a safe and supportive environment to get the help that you need to recover from your alcohol use disorder.
How Does Alcohol Abuse Start?
Whether intentional or not, many people don’t view alcohol and alcohol abuse in the same light as other illicit substances. After all, it’s legal, easily accessible, and an accepted part of our society from TV shows and movies to advertisements everywhere you look.
Since many people have such a casual outlook toward alcohol they tend to start using it at a young age and may not view alcohol abuse or addiction as a serious issue, instead viewing it simply as an obstacle that they may have to overcome or even simply look over.
This view of alcohol can often lead to people using and abusing alcohol in unhealthy ways. Drinking in excess, or binge drinking is fairly common and is not only a form of alcohol abuse, but it can also cause major health issues and even result in changes in a person’s brain chemistry.
These changes in brain chemistry can often lead to alcohol addiction, or alcohol use disorder. When a person’s alcohol use reaches a level of dependency or addiction it means that they can’t stop drinking, even if they want to. Without proper treatment, it can also cause potentially life-threatening major medical issues. If you or a loved one are dealing with alcoholism, our substance abuse treatment center in Washington State can help.
How Does Alcohol Abuse and Addiction Affect Your Health?
Drinking alcohol, especially drinking in excess can have an impact on your overall health both short-term and long-term. The more severe your alcohol abuse, dependency, or addiction is, the worse your alcohol-related health issues can get. In some extreme cases, alcohol abuse can even lead to death.
Some of the health risks associated with alcohol abuse and addiction include:
- Liver damage
- High blood pressure
- Various cancers such as throat, mouth, and liver cancer
- Alcohol hepatitis
Alcohol can not only have an adverse effect on the body physically but mentally as well. Those battling alcohol abuse and addiction often struggle with mental health conditions as well. While in some cases alcohol may be used as a way to deal with a pre-existing mental health condition, whether intentionally or unintentionally, in other cases the changes in brain chemistry that can occur with regular alcohol use can lead to the development of one or multiple mental health issues.
Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction
As we touched on, unlike other substances of abuse it might not always be easy to spot when you or a loved one is suffering from alcohol addiction. Since alcohol is legal and available practically everywhere, just having alcohol around doesn’t always mean that there is a problem.
Since alcohol dependency and addiction can be deadly when left untreated it is important to know the signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction so you or a loved one can get the treatment you need right away at an alcohol rehab in Washington State.
Below are some of the signs that your alcohol use may be at an unhealthy level:
- You are needing more and more alcohol to reach your desired effect (ie. get drunk or catch a buzz)
- You are prioritizing alcohol over responsibilities at home or work
- You are thinking about or drinking every day
- You are using alcohol as a way to self-medicate a mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, or stress
- You are hiding your drinking from others
- You feel like you need a drink to feel normal or get through the day
- You want to quit drinking or have even tried to quit and were unsuccessful
- You continue to drink even though it is causing problems
- You are experiencing legal or financial trouble as a result of drinking
- You are drinking in risky or dangerous situations (ie. drinking and driving, etc)
Someone battling alcohol addiction will often show physical symptoms as well, including:
- Slurred speech
- Blurry vision
- Poor coordination
- High blood pressure
- Weakened immune system
- Slow heart rate
- Changes in weight
- Irregular heartbeat
Treatment for Alcohol Addiction
At the first sign of an alcohol abuse or addiction issue being present it is important to seek treatment right away. Even if you are simply looking to wean yourself off alcohol it is important to do so under proper medical care and supervision.