Alcohol Treatment

Alcohol Treatment

Alcohol Treatment Washington, Causes, Effects and Symptoms of Alcoholism, Therapies, Medications & Dual Diagnosis Rehab Washington

How Effective is Alcohol Treatment in the United States?

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a medical condition characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences. Fortunately, no matter how severe the problem may seem, most people with AUD can benefit from some form of alcohol treatment.

Alcohol-related problems—which result from drinking too much, too fast, or too often—are among the most significant public health issues in the United States. Many people struggle with controlling their drinking at some time in their lives.

According to the 2019 NSDUH, 14.5 million people ages 12 and older had AUD. This number includes 9.0 million men and 5.5 million women. This problem threatens a big number of young people too, as stated by the same source, an estimated 414,000 adolescents between the ages of 12 to 177 had AUD. This number includes 163,000 males and 251,000 females. 

An estimated 95,000 people, approximately 68,000 men, and 27,000 women die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the third-leading preventable cause of death in the United States. The first is tobacco, and the second is poor diet and physical inactivity.

 Alcohol Treatment
No matter how severe the problem may seem, most people with AUD can benefit from some form of alcohol treatment.

Causes of Alcoholism

It is common to think this condition arises from a person who simply does not know how to control their alcohol consumption and is trapped in a vicious circle, but according to the scientific piece ‘The many causes of Alcoholism’ Cohen, S. Published on the Drug Abuse & Alcoholism Newsletter,  there are three main causes of alcoholism disease: biological, physiological, and sociocultural.

  • Biological causes may be:
    • Genetic: “Inherited susceptibility to alcohol’s acute effects, impaired ability to catabolize ingested alcohol, or difficulty in dealing with anxiety, frustration, and depression”. 
    • Biochemical: Sensitivity to insulin, episodes of spontaneous hypoglycemia, or adrenal insufficiency.
    • Or endocrine: Persistently low levels of androgenic hormones.
  • Among the psychological causes of Alcoholism are:
    • Need for tension relief and anxiety control
    • Personality disorders
    • Psychodynamic factors 
    • Learning: Tension reduction from drinking provides a positive reinforcement to continue drinking
    • Role modeling: Peer example or occupational pressures
  • Culture-specific drinking traditions, and those stresses and conflicts experienced by certain subcultures also contribute to overindulgence in alcohol

Alcohol’s Effects on the Body

The effects of a drink of alcohol can vary a lot from one person to the next, but it usually takes about an hour for your body to metabolize one drink. Alcohol stays in the body for different periods depending on how much you drank, your body weight, and your sex. Factors that influence how quickly alcohol leaves the system include your age, height and weight, and amount of food in your stomach at the time you drink.

But Alcoholism can affect multiple organs of the body, including the brain, heart, liver, pancreas, and even the immune system.

  • Brain: Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain looks and works. These disruptions can change mood and behavior, and make it harder to think clearly and move with coordination. 
  • Heart: Drinking a lot over a long time or too much on a single occasion can damage the heart, causing problems including:
    • Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle
    • Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat
    • Stroke
    • High blood pressure 
  • Liver: Heavy drinking takes a toll on the liver, and can lead to a variety of problems and liver inflammations including:
    • Steatosis, or fatty liver
    • Alcoholic hepatitis
    • Fibrosis
    • Cirrhosis
  • Pancreas: Alcohol causes the pancreas to produce toxic substances that can eventually lead to pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.
  • Immune System: Alcohol weakens immune system, making your body a much easier target for disease.  People who drink chronically are more liable to contract diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis than people who do not drink too much.  Drinking a lot on a single occasion slows your body’s ability to ward off infections – even up to 24 hours after getting drunk.

Symptoms of Alcoholism

As stated by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, these are the signs to be aware of in terms of this condition: 

  • Appearing intoxicated more regularly
  • Appearing tired, unwell or irritable
  • An inability to say no to alcohol
  • Becoming secretive or dishonest
  • Drinking more, or longer than one intended
  • Wanting to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but haven’t been able to do so 
  • Spending a lot of time drinking, being sick or getting over the aftereffects
  • Experiencing craving, a strong need, or urge to drink
  • Founding that drinking, or being sick from drinking, often interferes with taking care of your home or family, job troubles or school problems
  • Continuing drinking even though it was causing trouble with family or friends
  • Giving up or cutting back on activities that are important or interesting to you, in order to drink
  • More than once gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unsafe sex)
  • Continuing to drink even though it was making you feel depressed, anxious, or adding to another health problem, or after having had a memory blackout
  • Having to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want. Or finding that your usual number of drinks have much less effect than before
  • Finding that when the effects of alcohol are wearing off, you have withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating.

What is Binge Drinking?

Binge drinking is drinking so much at once that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is 0.08% or more. For a man, this usually happens after having 5 or more drinks within a few hours. For a woman, it is after about 4 or more drinks within a few hours. Not everyone who binges drinks has an AUD, but they are at higher risk of getting one.

Binge drinking is the most common, costly, and deadly pattern of excessive alcohol use in the United States. If you notice you or a loved one has a pattern of heavy binge drinking, it’s a sign that you should seek alcohol treatment as well; despite most people who binge drink do not have a severe alcohol use disorder.

Alcohol Treatment
If you notice you or a loved one has a pattern of heavy binge drinking, it’s a sign that you should seek alcohol treatment.

Alcohol Treatment Options Led by Health Professionals

Which medication to use during alcohol treatment will depend on clinical judgment and client preference. Each has a different mechanism of action. Some clients may respond better to one type of medication than another.

Medications For Alcohol Treatment Washington

  • Naltrexone: Blocks opioid receptors that are involved in the rewarding effects of drinking and the craving for alcohol. It has been shown to reduce relapse to problem drinking in some clients. An extended-release version, Vivitrol—administered once a month by injection—is also FDA-approved for alcohol treatment, and may offer benefits regarding compliance.
  • Acamprosate (Campral®): Acts on the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate neurotransmitter systems to reduce symptoms of protracted withdrawal, such as insomnia, anxiety, restlessness, and dysphoria. Acamprosate has been shown to help dependent drinkers maintain abstinence for several weeks to months, and it may be more effective in clients with severe dependence.
  • Disulfiram (Antabuse®): Interferes with the degradation of alcohol, resulting in the accumulation of acetaldehyde, which, in turn, produces a very unpleasant reaction that includes flushing, nausea, and palpitations if a person drinks alcohol. The utility and effectiveness of disulfiram are considered limited because compliance is generally poor.

However, among clients who are highly motivated, disulfiram can be effective, and some clients use it episodically for high-risk situations, such as social occasions where alcohol is present. It can also be administered in a monitored fashion, such as in a clinic or by a spouse, improving its efficacy.

  • Topiramate: Is thought to work by increasing inhibitory (GABA) neurotransmission and reducing stimulatory (glutamate) neurotransmission, although its precise mechanism of action is not known. Although topiramate has not yet received FDA approval for treating alcohol addiction, it is sometimes used off-label for this purpose.

Topiramate has been shown in studies to significantly improve multiple drinking outcomes, compared with a placebo.

Medications Combined With Behavioral Alcohol Treatment

While a number of behavioral treatments have been shown to be effective in alcohol treatment, it does not appear that an additive effect exists between behavioral treatments and pharmacotherapy.

Also known as alcohol counseling, behavioral treatments involve working with a health professional to identify and help change the behaviors that lead to heavy drinking. Behavioral therapies for alcohol treatment share certain features, which can include:

  • Working to set reachable goals
  • Coping with or avoiding the triggers that might cause relapse
  • Developing the skills needed to stop or reduce drinking
  • Helping to build a strong social support system

Types of Behavioral Treatments for Alcohol Treatment

  • Cognitive–Behavioral Therapy: The type of therapy that can take place one-on-one with a therapist or in small groups. This form of therapy is focused on identifying the feelings and situations (called “cues”) that lead to heavy drinking and managing stress that can lead to relapse. The goal is to change the thought processes that lead to alcohol misuse and to develop the skills necessary to cope with situations that might trigger problem drinking.
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy: It is conducted over a short period of time to build and strengthen motivation to change drinking behavior. The therapy focuses on identifying the pros and cons of seeking alcohol treatment, forming a plan for making changes in one’s drinking, building confidence, and developing the skills needed to stick to the plan.
  • Marital and Family Counseling: This therapy for alcohol treatment incorporates spouses and other family members in the treatment process and can play an important role in repairing and improving family relationships. Studies show that strong family support through family therapy increases the chances of maintaining abstinence, compared with clients undergoing individual counseling.
  • Brief Interventions: These are short, one-on-one, or small-group counseling sessions that are time-limited. The counselor provides information about the individual’s drinking pattern and potential risks. After the client receives personalized feedback, the counselor will work with him or her to set goals and provide ideas for helping to make a change.
Alcohol Treatment
Also known as alcohol counseling, behavioral treatments involve working with a health professional to identify and help change the behaviors that lead to heavy drinking during alcohol treatment.

Mental Health Problems and Alcohol Use Disorder

Depression and anxiety often go hand in hand with heavy drinking. Studies show that people who are alcohol dependent are two to three times as likely to suffer from major depression or anxiety over their lifetime. When addressing drinking problems with alcohol treatment, it’s important to also seek therapies for any accompanying medical and mental health issues.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.5 million U.S. adults experienced both mental illness and a substance use disorder in 2019. The best alcohol treatment with dual diagnosis is integrated intervention, this is when you receive care for both your diagnosed mental illness and substance use disorder, such as alcohol.

Advice for Friends and Family Members with a Loved One Getting Alcohol Treatment

Caring for a person who has problems with alcohol can be very stressful. It is important that as you try to help your loved one, you find a way to take care of yourself as well. It may help to seek support from others, including friends, family, community, and support groups.

If you are developing your own symptoms of depression or anxiety, think about seeking professional help for yourself. Remember that your loved one is ultimately responsible for managing his or her illness. You might as well need to be eager to join in family therapy sessions while your loved one undergoes alcohol treatment.

Alcohol Treatment Washington Center


Medically-Assisted Detox and Dual Diagnosis Rehab Washington

If you are an alcoholic, your very first step in recovery should be to medical detox in a safe and medically supervised setting.

We Level Up WA dual diagnosis rehab Washington and alcohol treatment center medically assist clients to clear their systems of addictive substances, such as alcohol. For anyone who suffers from addiction, just the thought of having to stop drinking alcohol can cause severe mental distress. But, with the help of a medical detox center, the medical detox process is managed.

A comprehensive team prescribing medications can alleviate your withdrawal pains while monitoring your health 24 hours. Assuring both your safety and comfort. At We Level Up WA, our thorough approach to rehabilitation supports several levels of care to ensure the best possible outcome for every client who enters our doors. From an intensive and more supportive atmosphere for those in the early days of recovery to a comfortable residential-style living dynamic upon completion of detox, we are here to help guide you down the safe and results-based path to your sobriety.

If you or someone you love is seeking a safe, secure, and compassionate resource for alcohol treatment, We Level Up dual diagnosis rehab Washington is here for you. Call us and speak with an addiction counselor today about our levels of care.