About Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol addiction, or alcoholism, is defined as a mental and physical dependence on alcohol leading to unhealthy or dangerous drinking habits. With one in 12 adults suffering from alcohol abuse or dependence nationwide, alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States. That’s about 17.6 million people currently struggling with alcoholism, and there are millions more who engage in dangerous drinking patterns that could lead to alcohol dependence.
What Causes Alcohol Addiction?
The cause of alcoholism is still not completely understood. There is no single cause, but rather a combination of genetic, psychological, and societal factors that put someone at risk. Family history of alcoholism or drinking problems plays a large factor because of both genetic predisposition and early social exposure. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates that at least 6.6 million children under age 18 live in households with at least one alcoholic parent, and that before age 18 about 25% of children are exposed to family alcohol dependency or alcohol abuse.
Alcohol Abuse Facts
- Alcoholism is the 3rd leading cause of preventable death in the United States, with an estimated 88,000 deaths attributed annually.
- About 20% of adults admitted to the hospital (for any reason) are alcohol dependent
- Men are more than twice as likely than women to be alcohol dependent
- Alcoholism costs the United States about $185 billion annually
Alcohol affects every body system, and continued abuse leads to a wide range of health problems including: memory disorders, liver disease (including cirrhosis and hepatitis), high blood pressure, muscle weakness (including the heart), heart rhythm disturbances, anemia, clotting disorders, decreased immunity to infections, gastrointestinal inflammation and irritation, acute and chronic problems with the pancreas, interference with reproductive fertility, weakened bones, and increased risk of cancer of the liver, esophagus, and breast.
Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse:
- Feeling a strong craving or urge to consume alcohol
- Spending a lot of time drinking, getting or recovering from alcohol use
- Being unable to limit the amount of alcohol consumed
- Lack in ability to fulfill major work, school, or home obligations due to continued alcohol use
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you don’t drink – sweating, shaking or nausea
- Continued alcohol consumption even though the individual knows it’s causing social, physical or interpersonal problems
Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Treatment for alcohol addiction includes abstinence from alcohol consumption and professional counseling. Some patients may seek assistance with detox and medication to manage withdrawal symptoms.
If you are concerned that you or a loved one are suffering from alcohol addiction, don’t hesitate to get help. Early identification of alcohol abuse or addiction can make the recovery process less intense for patients. For more information about outpatient treatment for alcoholism and how to identify signs of alcohol abuse, click here.
At Silicon Beach Outpatient Center, our staff provides support and treatment for those seeking help with alcohol addiction at our intensive outpatient addiction treatment center. For more information about our IOP and alcoholism treatment program please call 310.846.8215.