Please click here to learn about our coronavirus response and prioritizing your health.

In 2020, excessive drinking rose by nearly 40% across all demographic groups due to the effects of the pandemic.[1] Alcohol addiction accounted for 32% of substance addiction treatment facility admissions in New Jersey in 2020.[2] It ranked second on a list of the most common substance use disorders in the state for the same year. To overcome addiction to alcohol, an alcoholism treatment program is essential.

Understanding Alcoholism and Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcoholism typically refers to alcohol addiction. However, people often use the term interchangeably to refer to binge drinking, addiction, and alcohol use disorder. As a result, there is some confusion. Binge drinking is excessive drinking but not addiction. Although it can lead to alcohol use disorder, not all binge drinkers have AUD. Alcohol use disorder happens when excessive drinking causes harm.[3] Severe AUD may be called alcoholism.

substance use treatment
substance abuse treatment

When a person drinks so much that she or he experiences withdrawal when alcohol is not available, that is called dependence.[4] It often leads to addiction, which is what happens when a person develops a brain disease that interferes with normal functions.[5] As a result, the individual is unable to stop drinking even if the person is aware of the negative effects of the addiction. An alcoholism treatment program provides the high level of help that an addicted individual needs to stop drinking.

Causes of Alcohol Use Disorder and Addiction

There are many potential reasons for developing an alcohol use disorder or addiction.[6] These are some common contributing factors:

  • Starting at an early age
  • Drinking more over time
  • Genetics
  • Social or economic environment
  • Mental health issues

Effects of Alcoholism

Alcohol addiction can have devastating effects on individuals and those around them. It can also have negative effects for the public, such as when people who drive while intoxicated cause accidents. For the individual who struggles with addiction, there are both long-term and short-term effects.

Long-Term Effects

Many of the long-term effects of alcohol addiction are permanent or difficult to reverse.[6] These are some potential long-term effects:

  • Heart problems
  • Liver disease
  • Menstrual irregularity
  • Digestive issues
  • Diabetic complications
  • Male sexual dysfunction
  • Vision problems

Short-Term Effects

The short-term effects of an alcohol use disorder or addiction can be similar.[7] These are some common effects:

  • Loss of coordination
  • Slurred or incoherent speech
  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Distorted senses
  • Memory lapses

Signs of Alcoholism in a Loved One

In many cases, family, friends, and coworkers of people with alcohol use disorders can identify some of the signs. People often change, and it may take a little while to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. In addition to mood swings and secretive behavior, there may be other warning signs.[8] These are some examples:

  • The person is always hungover or drunk.
  • All the person talks or thinks about is alcohol.
  • The individual is withdrawn from social activities, school, work, or other life commitments.
  • The person frequently seems to experience withdrawal symptoms.
 substance abuse outpatient program
inpatient treatment

People may have new financial or legal troubles as well. Financial problems often relate to the person spending more on alcohol, missing work, or other alcohol-related reasons. Legal troubles can happen when a person gets a DUI or commits another crime or violation because of alcohol misuse.

Self-Assessment for Alcohol Substance Use Disorder

People who wonder if they have a drinking problem or alcoholism may wonder how to tell if it is time to get treatment. There are plenty of self-assessment tools online. As a rule, if a person is unable to stop drinking, it is important to seek help. That is a key sign of addiction. Making major life changes, losing money, or experiencing other forms of harm because of alcohol consumption are all signs that it is time to seek help. Those are also common signs of an alcohol use disorder or addiction.

Treatment for Alcoholism

Although addiction happens when people are unable to stop drinking on their own, it does not mean that stopping is impossible. With guidance and support, it is possible to stop. Some people relapse once or relapse multiple times, but they can start over on the path to sobriety with treatment. For a treatment plan to be effective, it should be comprehensive, and it must be approached correctly. Without the advice, support, and supervision of health professionals, it is harder to stay in recovery. There are several forms of treatment for alcoholism that are effective.[9] These are some examples of what an alcoholism treatment program may include.

Detox

This is the most important step of treatment. Without detoxing, it is impossible to get sober and stay in recovery. Detox is the body’s natural way of getting rid of harmful substances. Alcohol detoxification should never be completed without medical guidance or supervision. Some people can experience seizures during withdrawal, which can be dangerous. Also, the other symptoms of withdrawal can be unpleasant. Medical professionals can provide medications and other assistive therapies to ease symptoms. Also, without supervision, the risk of relapsing can be higher when a person is in withdrawal.

inpatient rehab - inpatient treatment - addiction treatment center
treatment options

Rehab

Rehab is a term that often includes multiple therapy structures and types. The right structure depends on a person’s abilities and needs. Some people need intensive outpatient care or partial hospitalization, which are more intense structures that involve longer and frequent therapy sessions. There are several helpful therapy structures that support recovery, individual wellbeing, social function, and healing. These are some examples:

  • Group therapy
  • Adventure therapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • 12-step programs
  • Individual counseling

Group therapy and 12-step programs help people learn how to support others, articulate their needs and share their struggles. Adventure therapy and other supportive therapies promote wellbeing and can help people develop healthy ways to express themselves. CBT and individual therapy are useful for discovering triggers, behavior causes, and strategies for positive changes.

Recovery

Part of staying in recovery is attending 12-step meetings. Some people may also need ongoing counseling. Since a treatment program introduces people to counseling and 12-step programs, it is easier to become comfortable with therapy and interacting with others. Recovery is a lifelong journey, but a professional treatment program equips people with the keys to beating addiction and overcoming their struggles.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

In 2020, more than 60% of people admitted to treatment facilities in New Jersey had a co-occurring mental health disorder.[2] People who have a co-occurring mental health disorder and alcohol use disorder need treatment for both issues. Treatment facilities provide simultaneous treatment for both disorders to maximize the chances of staying in recovery.

AUD often stems from an untreated mental health disorder, and people tend to try to self-treat emotional pain with alcohol. If the underlying disorder is not treated, its effects will persist and can increase the chance of relapse. A good treatment facility offers dual diagnosis treatment to ensure that all issues are properly addressed.

Professional Alcoholism Treatment Program in New Jersey

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction or misuse, our facility is here to help. Garden State Treatment Center is located in Sparta and welcomes residents from nearby areas. We offer intensive outpatient, partial hospitalization, outpatient, dual diagnosis for mental health issues, and other treatment programs (levels of care). Also, we use multiple therapy approaches. Our team is here to help you or your loved one start the recovery journey. We help people discover the keys to beating the cycle of addiction. To learn more about our alcoholism treatment program in New Jersey, please contact us.

 References

[1] https://www.nj.com/coronavirus/2021/08/pandemic-drinking-soars-among-blacks-hispanics-women-with-young-children-study-says.html

[2] https://www.nj.gov/humanservices/dmhas/publications/statistical/Substance%20Abuse%20Overview/2020/Statewide.pdf

[3] https://medlineplus.gov/alcoholusedisorderaud.html

[4] https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p1120-excessive-driniking.html

[5] https://www.asam.org/quality-care/definition-of-addiction

[6] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alcohol-use-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20369243

[7] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/305062#short-term-effects-

[8] https://www.webmd.com/connect-to-care/addiction-treatment-recovery/alcohol/how-to-tell-if-a-loved-one-is-an-alcoholic

[9] https://alcoholtreatment.niaaa.nih.gov/what-to-know/types-of-alcohol-treatment

24/7 Confidential Treatment Helpline