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Treating Alcohol Addiction in Louisiana

Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder (AUD) or alcohol addiction, is a chronic medical condition characterized by an individual’s inability to control or stop drinking despite negative consequences. It is considered a substance use disorder involving the excessive and compulsive consumption of alcohol.

Key features of alcoholism or alcohol use disorder include:

  • Loss of Control: Individuals with alcoholism often find it challenging to limit the amount of alcohol they consume. Once they start drinking, they may be unable to stop or control the quantity they drink.
  • Craving: There is a strong desire or craving for alcohol, leading to a preoccupation with obtaining and consuming it.
  • Physical Dependence: With prolonged and heavy alcohol use, physical dependence can develop. This dependence may lead to withdrawal symptoms when not drinking, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety.
  • Tolerance: Over time, individuals with alcohol use disorder may develop tolerance, requiring larger amounts of alcohol to achieve the desired effects that a lower quantity once provided.
  • Continued Use Despite Consequences: Despite experiencing negative consequences such as health problems, strained relationships, legal issues, or occupational difficulties, individuals with alcoholism continue to drink.
  • Neglect of Other Activities: As a result of excessive drinking, individuals may neglect responsibilities at work, home, or school, and may withdraw from social and recreational activities.

Alcoholism exists on a spectrum, with mild to severe forms. Some individuals may exhibit a few symptoms, while others may experience a more pervasive and severe impact on their lives.

What causes alcohol addition?

Addiction to alcohol can occur for a variety of reasons. There is no single cause for alcoholism, and not every person who drinks will become dependent on alcohol. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), various factors can increase a person’s risk for alcohol misuse. These factors include:

  • Family history. Having a parent who is addicted to alcohol increases a person’s risk for developing alcoholism. Being exposed to heavy drinking as a child increases their likelihood of developing a dependence on alcohol.
  • Drinking at an early age. Those who begin drinking before age 15 are more likely to have an alcohol use disorder than those who waited until they were 21. If you experiment with drinking at an early age, you are more likely to have a problem with alcohol later in life.
  • Gender. Men are more likely to develop alcoholism than women.
  • Mental health conditions. Having a mental health condition such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder can put a person at a higher risk for alcoholism. The numbing effects of alcohol can ease the symptoms of a mental health condition; over time, the person craves the numbing quality and can become addicted.
  • Environment. Living in a stressful environment or being under large amounts of stress at work can cause a person to drink heavily as a means to escape.
  • Past trauma. Those who experienced childhood trauma such as a divorce, physical or sexual abuse, or a loss of a parent are at a higher risk for alcoholism.
  • Binge drinking. Consuming large amounts of alcohol over short periods of time can lead to dependency on and abuse of alcohol.
  • Peer pressure. Being surrounded by others who drink, such as a spouse or close friends, can cause a person to give in and drink due to peer pressure. Drinking excessively and more often can lead to dependency problems.

What are warning signs of alcohol dependence?

Although everyone is different, there are various warning signs, both physical and behavioral, when it comes to dependence on alcohol. It’s important to recognize these signs early to help facilitate timely intervention and support. Here are common warning signs of alcohol dependence:

  • Increased Tolerance: Needing more alcohol to achieve the same effects that lower amounts once produced.
  • Withdrawal Symptoms: Experiencing physical or psychological symptoms when not drinking, such as nausea, sweating, tremors, anxiety, or irritability.
  • Loss of Control: Inability to limit the quantity of alcohol consumed or control drinking behavior.
  • Failed Attempts to Cut Down: Repeated efforts to cut down or control alcohol use have been unsuccessful.
  • Increased Time Spent Drinking: Spending a significant amount of time obtaining, using, or recovering from the effects of alcohol.
  • Reduced Interest in Other Activities: Diminished interest or participation in activities that were once enjoyable, as alcohol use becomes a central focus.
  • Continued Use Despite Consequences: Persisting in alcohol use despite awareness of its negative impact on physical health, mental well-being, relationships, or work.
  • Neglect of Responsibilities: Neglecting responsibilities at work, home, or school due to alcohol use.
  • Social Isolation: Withdrawing from social activities or avoiding friends and family.
  • Preoccupation with Alcohol: Spending a significant amount of time thinking about, obtaining, or recovering from the effects of alcohol.
  • Drinking in Risky Situations: Consuming alcohol in situations where it is physically dangerous, such as before driving or operating machinery.
  • Legal and Financial Issues: Facing legal problems or financial difficulties related to alcohol use.
  • Denial of the Problem: Denying the severity of the alcohol-related issues or downplaying the impact on one’s life.

If you or someone you know is exhibiting these warning signs, it is important to seek professional help. A healthcare provider or addiction specialist can assess the situation, provide guidance, and recommend appropriate treatment options. Early intervention and support significantly increase the chances of successful recovery from alcohol dependence.

Treating Alcoholism at Victory Addiction Recovery Center

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, help is available. At Victory Addiction Recovery Center, we have a variety of programs to meet your or your loved one’s specific needs, including detox and residential treatment programs, outpatient programs, relapse prevention programs, therapy sessions, and many other activities designed for those in recovery. In addition, we can provide support for the entire family. We’ve been there and we can be there for you.

How can you get help for alcohol addiction?

The first thing you need to do is reach out. Calling for help can be one of the hardest steps in getting better, but we try and make it easier by offering guidance from the first call. Reach out to us at 337-456-9111.

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