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Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Alcohol addiction treatment in Rhode Island is a serious problem. Addressing the problem of alcohol addiction in Rhode Island is difficult, as the majority of people view alcoholism as nothing more than a bad habit or a lack of self-control.

In reality, alcohol addiction is an incurable chronic disease of the brain that requires professional treatment.

What is Alcohol Addiction?

Alcohol addiction is a physical or psychological dependency on alcohol. Alcohol dependency is also sometimes called, alcoholism.

How Does Alcohol Addiction Develop?

Most people can have a drink or two with friends on the weekend and never experience any problems. However, when a person begins to drink more than the recommended daily amounts, the brain starts to adapt to the presence of alcohol in the system.

The brain needs to maintain a careful balance of chemicals in order to function normally. Yet, with constant exposure to alcohol, the brain is forced to release abnormal amounts of hormones and chemicals in an effort to restore the balance that alcohol has destroyed.

Over time, adaptions in the brain’s chemistry means that the drinker has become tolerant to the effects of alcohol. They may need to drink larger volumes of alcohol in order to feel the same effects that were previously achieved with lesser amounts. The person may also appear to drink large amounts without getting drunk, and may not experience hangovers after drinking heavily the night before.

When a heavy drinker stops drinking alcohol, the brain goes into a hyper-excitable state. It continues to overproduce hormones and chemicals in anticipation of being flooded with its usual amounts of alcohol. The over-production of brain chemicals causes unpleasant, and sometimes dangerous, withdrawal symptoms.

Statistics for Alcohol Abuse and Addiction in Rhode Island

A report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), showed that Rhode Island is third in the nation for the number of deaths caused by alcohol poisoning, behind New Mexico and Alaska (1).

A staggering 76% of those deaths were among adults aged 35 to 64, with the most predominant age bracket in statistical results being 45 to 54.

According to a study conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Rhode Island ranked in the top five in the United States for alcohol consumption.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse

Many people who have a drinking problem, often do not realize they have an issue. They may believe that since they still hold down a job, or since they only drink in the evenings or weekends, they cannot possibly be alcoholic.

Alcoholism is insidious, and usually the last person to recognize that a problem exists, is the alcoholic.

The signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse include:

  • Hiding how much is really being consumed
  • Drinking in secrecy or drinking alone
  • Drinking before attending an event so that people cannot see how much is being consumed in public
  • Avoiding social events or outings in order to stay home and drink
  • Problems at work or school because of drinking
  • Problems with relationships or finances due to drinking
  • Neglecting home, family, work, or financial obligations
  • Drinking in risky situations
  • Experiencing blackouts, or not remembering what was said or done while drunk
  • Continued drinking, despite health or legal problems

The signs and symptoms of alcohol dependence, or alcoholism, include:

  • Tolerance to the effects of alcohol
  • Loss of control over the amount being consumed
  • Inability to stop drinking once started
  • Spending more time drinking or recovering from drinking
  • Withdrawal symptoms occur when drinking stops

Treatment Options

Treating alcohol addiction requires treatment in a safe, medically-supervised environment to ensure the person’s safety, but also to improve treatment success rates. The first stage of treatment begins with the detox process.

Withdrawing from heavy alcohol abuse can result in severe withdrawal symptoms that range from unpleasant to painful, to outright dangerous. Some symptoms can be potentially life-threatening and may require emergency medical assistance.

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include

  • Shaking
  • Muscle tremors
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches (not associated with hangovers)
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Unpleasant dreams and nightmares
  • Increased heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Increased body temperature
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

Detoxing from alcohol in a professional alcohol treatment facility, is considerably safer for the recovering person, as medical staff can administer prescription medications to treat the worst of any withdrawal symptoms that emerge.

When the detox process is complete, intensive counseling and behavioral therapy are required, preferably in an inpatient treatment facility. It is far too common for recovering alcoholics to attempt to quit drinking at home, in the same environment that triggered the dysfunctional drinking behavior in the first place.

In order to learn strong new habits and coping skills for living a sober life, it is important to be away from the people, places, and other associated drinking triggers that could damage any efforts at sobriety before they begin.

By comparison, seeking professional treatment in a licensed alcohol rehab facility, allows the recovering person the space and support required to concentrate on their own personal recovery. Addiction specialists work with cognitive behavioral therapies to correct dysfunctional attitudes and patterns behind compulsive drinking, replacing them with healthy habits and new coping skills for living an alcohol-free life after treatment is completed.

One of the key factors in any successful alcohol addiction treatment program, is a strong relapse prevention strategy. The recovering person learns effective ways to identify and avoid their own personal drinking triggers by implementing newly-learned relapse prevention skills.

Another factor in treatment success rates, is having a strong support network during the recovery process. Many people struggling with alcoholism, tend to isolate themselves from family and friends, therefore it is important that they attend regular group support meetings.

Group meetings, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or SMART Recovery, allow the person to develop new support networks and social connections that help to reduce feelings of isolation. Group meetings also help to maintain motivation to remain sober and provide guidance to overcome difficult periods.

There is no need to struggle in the grips of alcohol addiction alone, reach out to dedicated Rhode Island addiction treatment centers today to learn more about the available treatment options.