What You Should Know About Alcoholism and Treatment

There is a general misconception in the country today that alcoholism and alcohol abuse are somehow laughable or not all that serious, but the reality is quite different and is the reason that many people do not know about the best alcohol addiction treatment centers available to them.

Alcoholism is often trivialized and misrepresented in popular media and treated as a weakness of character or a severe lack of self-control. However, none of these ideas are accurate and can actually prevent people from seeking out the care and help they need from the best alcohol addiction treatment centers in the nation. If you are worried that you or someone in your life is dealing with an alcohol abuse problem or addiction, find out some of the important facts about alcoholism and its treatment so you can better understand this serious issue affecting millions of people across the country.

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Alcoholism is a Diagnosable Disease

Alcoholism is not a character flaw as many people consider it to be. It is actually a disease, one that has a biological and chemical aspect as well as a psychological one. Because alcoholism is a diagnosable disease and a medical condition, this means that it requires treatment to be successfully dealt with.

When a person consumes alcohol, the various chemicals in the alcohol make their way from the digestive tract into the bloodstream. Once in the blood, these chemicals are carried to the brain and begin to interact with the brain as soon as they arrive there. Alcohol will signal the brain into certain actions, including the release of dopamine (the feel-good or pleasure chemical) and will block as well as slow down others.

Those signals have an immediate impact on the brain and body. However, when a person continues to consume alcohol on a regular basis, those effects stop being acute (i.e. isolated singular effects) and become more long-term and chronic. The brain is adaptable and will adjust itself to accommodate the alcohol that it frequently comes into contact with. When these changes occur, a person has a medical and physical addiction.

Not All Alcoholics are an Obvious Mess

Many people assume that their friend or loved one that binge drinks frequently is not an alcoholic because they seem to have it generally together in the rest of their life. However, not all people that are addicted to alcohol match the stereotype of the falling down drunk that can barely function on a daily basis. Some alcoholics are what are known as "high functioning."

High functioning alcoholics can often time cover up their alcoholism to employers and other people in their life pretty well. They may be able to keep their job, avoid major legal troubles, and otherwise maintain most social relationships and interactions. Just because a person seems to hold it together does not mean they are not an alcoholic. If they chronically binge drink and cannot go without consuming alcohol, then they are addicted, no matter how well the rest of their life is going.

Alcoholism is a Progressive and Damaging Disease

Alcoholism does not occur all at once. In other words, you are not fine consuming alcohol one day and then suddenly addicted the next. The disease is progressive and gets worse over time. As a person regularly binge drinks, their brain slowly changes and adapts to the presence of alcohol (as previously mentioned). This also causes a person to progressively build up a tolerance to alcohol in their bloodstream, meaning they need to consume more to achieve the same effect.

As this tolerance level builds, so does the person's need to consume alcohol to avoid painful withdrawal symptoms and cravings. This progressive nature continues as long as the person consumes alcohol and can result in serious psychological and physical health damage. A person can develop serious cognitive impairments over time including short-term memory loss, loss of higher brain functions, slower processing and cognition, and the like.

Additional health issues that can occur include liver and kidney damage and failure, weight gain and bloating heart disease and heart attack, and even strokes and seizures. Alcohol poisoning is also a risk with alcoholism and could be fatal.

Alcoholism Treatment Options

The best alcohol addiction treatment centers offer a variety of treatment options to help a person overcome their addiction. Because alcoholism is such a complex disease, it is important to address all of the aspects of the addiction. The medical side of the addiction is dealt with through medical detox programs.

In medical detox, prescription drugs can be used to help reduce withdrawal symptoms and make the process easier. However, these prescription drugs do not just need to be limited to detox, they can be used in the long-term to prevent future alcohol abuse by causing the body to react negatively anytime alcohol is consumed.

The mental side of an addiction is dealt with through individual and group therapy sessions as well as expressive therapies like art therapy. Social aspects are addressed in programs like equine therapy, family therapy, and the like. The best alcohol addiction treatment centers deal with all sides of alcoholism to provide comprehensive treatment options.

Now that you better understand alcoholism and the ways that the best alcohol addiction treatment centers address alcohol addictions, you can be sure that you find the right treatment program for you and your needs.

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