Is Alcoholism a Chronic Disease?
What is Alcoholism?
Simply put, alcoholism is an addiction to drinking alcohol. This may require alcoholism treatment.
It can also be called alcohol use disorder, or AUD.
Alcohol use disorder can be mild, moderate, or severe.
Those in need of alcoholism treatment have the most severe type of AUD and are at the highest risk of suffering from many different health issues.
Alcoholism is considered a chronic disease because of how it affects a person’s brain.
It also has a high rate of relapse.
Left untreated, alcoholism can cause many long-term health issues.
Over 14 million American adults struggle with alcoholism, and each year 95,000 die from alcohol-related illnesses.
Getting treatment at an alcohol rehab, such as Emerald Isle Health and Recovery, is the best option to help you quit drinking before it severely affects your health.
Immediate Placement in Rehab for Alcoholism
People who are struggling with alcoholism feel like they cannot function without alcohol. This is because excessive drinking changes the way that your brain works.
When you drink, your brain releases dopamine, a chemical that makes you feel happy and relaxed. The more you drink, the more dopamine your brain releases.
Over time, your brain forgets how to release it naturally. This leads to cravings for alcohol because your brain thinks it will make you feel better. This is what makes alcoholism a chronic disease. Alcoholics cannot stop drinking, even when they know it is causing issues in their lives or with their health.
Over time, these issues can worsen and damage your body, as well as your relationships with your loved ones.
The Physical Effects of Alcohol Abuse
Years of research have shown that alcoholism can have many different negative effects on your body.
It can cause heart problems, including an irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and heart attacks. Heavy drinking can also cause many issues with your liver. This can include cirrhosis, fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, and fibrosis. You may also have issues with your pancreas. This happens when alcohol makes your pancreas release a toxic chemical, which causes the blood vessels in your pancreas to swell so it cannot help your digestion as it should.
Alcoholism also weakens your immune system, making it more likely you can get sick with things like a cold, the flu, pneumonia, and even tuberculosis.
One of the biggest risks of long-term alcoholism is an increased risk of cancer. This can include many different types of cancer, including liver, throat, esophageal, colon, and breast cancer.
Learn More About Our Alcoholism Rehab Programs
Mental Illness and Alcohol Abuse
Many people find themselves drinking in order to treat mental health issues that they already have.
It is easy to think that alcohol will help you feel better when you are depressed or anxious. But, alcohol actually makes these issues get worse over time. It also makes it harder for you to sleep and increases your thoughts of suicide.
This is because alcohol changes your mood and behavior. It makes it harder for you to think clearly and can affect your coordination. These effects often make alcoholics have problems at work or school, leading to unemployment or quitting school.
Many people are also more prone to outbursts of violence or conflict when they are drinking heavily. This can cause many types of issues within the home, and cause damage to your relationships with your family.
How to Tell if You Have a Drinking Problem
Sometimes the warning signs of alcoholism are very easy to see. Other times, they can be very subtle. If you are wondering if you are becoming an alcoholic, there are some signs that you can look for.
- Feeling like you cannot control how much you drink
- Craving alcohol when you’re not drinking
- Giving up things you used to love, like hobbies or seeing friends so that you can drink instead
- Need to keep drinking more in order to feel drunk
- Spending a lot of money on alcohol
- Behaving differently after drinking, like angry outbursts or extreme sadness
- Spend a lot of time drinking, or getting over hangovers
- Experience withdrawal symptoms, such as shakiness, nausea, sweating, or depression, when you try to stop drinking
The sooner a person realizes that they are drinking too much, the sooner they can receive alcohol addiction treatment.
If you think that you may be in need of alcoholism treatment, the first step to recovery is contacting Emerald Isle Health and Recovery. We have treatment programs specifically designed to help you overcome your drinking problem.
24-Hour Alcoholism Rehab Hotline
Medical Treatment Options for Alcoholism
There are many different treatment options available for those looking for reputable rehabs for alcoholism treatment.
There are even medicines that have been approved to help treat alcoholism. The three that are currently available are disulfiram, naltrexone, and acamprosate.
Disulfiram is a medicine that makes an alcoholic have unpleasant side effects if they drink, including nausea and skin flushing. Naltrexone blocks the receptors in your brain that make you feel good when you drink and reduces cravings. Acamprosate is very effective in helping to reduce cravings for alcohol, especially when you first get into an alcohol rehab program.
Each of these medicines is a great option to help those struggling with alcoholism quit drinking because they keep alcohol from rewarding their brain with dopamine. They will not cure your alcoholism, but they will help you manage your symptoms so that it is easier to stay sober.
Therapy Options for Alcoholism
The second part of your alcoholism treatment will be therapy.
This is an extremely important part of your treatment journey because it helps you to change the behaviors that were causing you to drink. Therapy is also very important for those struggling with a mental health issue and alcoholism, as it helps to treat both of these issues as well.
There are a few different types of therapy available, depending on what will work best for you.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Motivational Enhancement Therapy
- Family Counseling
CBT helps identify the emotions and situations that lead to your drinking. It also teaches you ways to manage stress, and avoid things that trigger your alcoholism. Motivational Enhancement Therapy helps build positive motivations that help you avoid alcohol. Family Counseling focuses on repairing any family relationships that have been damaged by your alcoholism. It can include your spouse, children, or other family members. Being able to build a stronger family system helps both your family heal from any emotional damage as well as increase your chances of staying sober.
Free Insurance Verification for Alcoholism Treatment
Let Us Help You Overcome Alcoholism
If you believe you have become an alcoholic and need help to stop drinking, we are here to help.
At Emerald Isle Health & Recovery, we pride ourselves on our unique approach to individualized, evidence-based treatment.
Our comprehensive clinical and medical programs help our clients achieve long-term, sustainable recoveries.
Our state-of-the-art facility was built in a highly private location to ensure clients are able to get away from things that cause them stress or trigger their addiction.
We also focus on ensuring that each of our clients feels safe and comfortable so that they can approach their recovery in the most positive way possible.
We realize that many of our clients wonder about how they are going to pay for their treatment.
That is why we accept most major insurances through our free insurance verification.
Simply give us a call, and one of our addiction specialists can verify whether or not your insurance will cover your detox and rehab for alcoholism treatment.
We will also communicate with your insurance provider to ensure that you receive every benefit that you are entitled to.
You can complete a simple form right from our website, or call us directly.
Alcohol addiction can be a very difficult problem to overcome.
But with proper treatment at an alcohol rehab, you too can kick your drinking problem.
At Emerald Isle, we are here to help you design your recovery plan for maximum success.
Let us help you with all of the tools that you need to get on the path to a healthy life.
Call us today to get started on the path to sobriety.
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