Drinking Too Much Alcohol Symptoms

Drinking Too Much Alcohol Symptoms

Even if you do not outwardly admit you have an alcohol problem, the nagging voice in your head is trying to get your attention. While it is natural to ignore the warnings that you have been drinking too much alcohol, symptoms of an alcohol use disorder (AUD) are beginning to become obvious. Remaining in denial about the reality of an AUD is like kicking the can down the road … until eventually it hits the wall.

Continued alcohol abuse can contribute to multiple medical conditions, cognitive impairment, relationship problems, and employment difficulties. For example, the consequences of alcohol addiction can include heart disease, dementia, increased cancer risk, liver disease, gastrointestinal problems, and brain damage. Other negative fallout includes social problems like divorce, depression, anxiety, violence, loss of job, and legal problems. As the problem drinking escalates it can evolve into alcohol dependence, and even become life threatening.

It is never too early to get help for an AUD. If you have noticed the drinking-too-much-alcohol symptoms occurring more and more often, it is time to consider getting help. The sooner that an AUD is acknowledged and treated, the better the recovery outcome will be.

What is a Safe Amount of Alcohol Consumption?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has established useful guidelines to help people better manage their drinking behaviors. According to the CDC, a safe amount of alcohol is defined as follows:

  • For men, no more than 2 alcoholic drinks per day
  • For women, no more than 1 alcoholic drink per day
  • A “drink” is described as 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or 1.5 ounces of spirits

So, why do people drink more than the safe amount? There are a multitude of reasons why people drink excessively. Some may be struggling with a relationship problem or the death of a loved one and trying to self-medicate their emotional pain, others might just get caught up in the party atmosphere and lose control of their consumption. Individuals may have a genetic predisposition toward addiction, but may not know that until it is too late and an AUD has already developed. Others may have a mental health disorder and use alcohol as a means of managing the symptoms of anxiety or depression.

Drinking Too Much Alcohol, Symptoms and Warning Signs

When someone has developed a serious drinking problem there will be telltale signs. Get to know the red flag warning of an AUD:

  • Increasing tolerance. Consuming more alcohol to get the desired effects they initially experienced.
  • Drinking alone to the point of intoxication. Regularly drinking in isolation to the point of intoxication is a sign of an AUD.
  • Lying about drinking. Some will lie to cover up the excessive amount they consume. They may feel ashamed and guilty about it, or they may want to keep others in the dark about their problem.
  • Experiencing blackouts. When a blackout occurs it usually follows heavy drinking. This leads to loss of memory of certain events, places they went, or things they did or said while intoxicated.
  • Increased cravings. As an AUD becomes more severe, the brain and nervous system adjust to the constant dopamine surge. This can lead to alcohol cravings during periods when abstaining from alcohol.
  • Relationships suffering. Excessive drinking can take a toll on relationships, such as a spouse, children, friends, and coworkers, because the drinking becomes their priority.
    Legal problems. Driving under the influence of alcohol can result in a DUI/DWI or a tragic car accident.
  • Avoiding social gatherings. An alcoholic will begin to avoid social gatherings knowing they cannot control their drinking, which can lead to embarrassment.
  • Increasing negative consequences. As problem drinking escalates, so do the negative consequences. These might include declining job performance, loss of employment, relationship or marital problems, child custody challenges, health problems, and mental health disorders.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms. A cluster of symptoms, such as hand tremors, nausea and vomiting, irritability, insomnia, confusion, headache, and anxiety that signals an alcohol dependency emerge when the alcohol wears off.

The Negative Effects of Excessive Drinking

As the alcohol use disorder deepens the damage to one’s life increases proportionately. There are many ways that alcoholism can negatively impact a person’s life. Here are a few examples of the consequences of alcoholism:

  • Isolating behaviors, social withdrawal, loneliness
  • Loss of interest or participation in the activities once enjoyed
  • Legal problems, such as getting a DUI, foreclosure on house, loss of custody
  • Abusive or violent behaviors at home or in public
  • Can disrupt significant relationships and harm family dynamic
  • Neglecting parenting responsibilities and work-related obligations
  • Mounting financial problems, due to spending too much on alcohol, neglecting to pay bills, or being terminated from job
    Serious physical or mental health issues

Because alcoholism is a progressive disease, if no attempts are made to control or stop the compulsive drinking the disease will continue to worsen. There are three stages of alcoholism, including:

  • Early stage alcoholism. In the early stage of alcoholism, the problem is not fully apparent because the individual is still functioning. Sometimes the disordered drinking may arises from attempts to self-medicate, or to use alcohol’s effects to manage stress or negative emotional states. As tolerance builds, consumption increases, and soon it will be harder to hide the problem. Symptoms of early state alcoholism may include alcohol cravings, inability to moderate intake, and steadily increasing the amount of alcohol consumption.
  • Middle stage alcoholism. During middle stage alcoholism it becomes evident to others that there is an alcohol problem. At this stage the individual may experience blackouts, mood swings, irritability, and stomach distress, bloating and weight gain, intensified alcohol cravings, and become obsessed about when they can drink next. At this stage, alcoholism can lead to relationship problems, financial problems due to job loss, and possibly a DUI. When attempting to abstain from alcohol the individual will experience withdrawal symptoms, such as sweating, hand tremors, and gastrointestinal distress.
  • Late stage alcoholism. Late stage, or end stage alcoholism features a loss of control over the alcohol. Major negative life consequences pile up. Because alcohol consumes the person’s life, all other responsibilities are neglected. Major health problems emerge, with nutritional deficiencies, hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis, and brain damage present. When alcohol is not available, highly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms emerge, which can include the delirium tremens.

What to Do When Recognizing the Drinking Too Much Alcohol Symptoms

When it becomes clear that help is needed, you will begin the process of locating an alcohol recovery program. An effective rehab program will combine various treatment elements that are work together to help you overcome the AUD and transition to a new sober lifestyle. There are many different kinds of rehabs, each with their own treatment philosophy, services, and amenities, however most will offer the following treatment elements:

Detox: During a supervised medical detox your vital signs will be monitored carefully as you progress through the detox and withdrawal phases. As withdrawal symptoms intensify, the detox team keeps you as comfortable as possible using a variety of medical interventions.

Evidence-based therapies: Psychotherapies help the individual change their behaviors by guiding them toward recognizing the disordered thinking that has contributed to the alcohol addiction. Some examples of evidence-base therapies include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational enhancement therapy (MET), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and contingency management (CM).

Group sessions: Peer support sessions are essential during treatment. These group sessions offer participants a supportive place to share their stories, fears, and hopes while gaining encouragement and support.

12-step meetings: Many rehabs include the elements of A.A.’s 12-step program, or an alternative non 12-step program. Both options provide group meetings.

Psychosocial: Recovery tools are taught, equipping clients with new coping skills and better communication techniques that will benefit them when encountering challenges in recovery.

Holistic activities: Because stress is a trigger for relapse, most rehabs now integrate relaxation activities into the program. These activities teach you how to regulate stress and promote a calm, relaxed state of mind. They might include yoga classes, massage therapy, mindfulness training, guided meditation, art therapy, journaling, and regular exercise.

How to Maintain Sobriety

Following a residential treatment program, you should have a continuing care plan in place. These are the aftercare actions to reinforce the coping skills learned in rehab and help the transition to a new sober lifestyle. Sober living is an excellent aftercare action, as it provides an excellent opportunity to slowly transition back to normal daily life while still learning recovery techniques in a substance-free living space. Sober living offers an opportunity to reestablish healthy living habits by keeping a regular daily schedule, adhering to the house rules and responsibilities, and being accountable to the other housemates.

Aftercare also includes continuing therapy and/or group counseling sessions, relapse prevention classes, and guidance for life skills, job seeking, or academic goals. Attending meetings with a recovery community such as A.A. will provide accountability (to a sponsor or the group) as well as offer opportunities to make new sober friends.

By seeking out treatment and support, and following up rehab with ongoing continuing care efforts, you will soon discover the many benefits of living a sober lifestyle.

Ken Seeley Communities Treatment for Alcohol Addiction or Dependency

Ken Seeley Communities is a leading addiction recovery rehab in Palm Springs, CA. Founder Ken Seeley is the renowned professional interventionist who was featured regularly on the A&E series, Intervention. Ken Seeley Communities provides all levels of treatment for the recovery continuum, including intervention services, medical detox, outpatient rehab programming, residential rehab programming, and sober living housing. If you recognize the drinking too much alcohol symptoms and are ready to embrace sobriety contact Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.

where do i get help for alcohol abuse

Where Do I Get Help for Alcohol Abuse

Problem drinking can creep up slowly. In fact, what might have started off as a timely intervention for managing stress, say with a cocktail after work, can surprise you when you suddenly realize that your single cocktail has slowly multiplied into several. This can happen as the body becomes more tolerant of the presence of alcohol, which causes a reduction in the initial relaxing effects of the substance. To keep those effects going, you may find yourself increasing consumption.

At some point along the way, it has become clear that you are in need of some help. This realization may appear due to experiencing severe hangovers or even blackouts. As you face the reality that you have developed an alcohol problem, you find yourself wondering, “Where do I get help for alcohol abuse?” This question might have even greater merit during the pandemic when it is unclear which recovery support services are even available now.

Fortunately, many treatment centers have continued to operate during the Covid-19 health event, as addiction treatment is considered an essential service. While outpatient programs have largely shifted online to telehealth therapeutic support, residential rehabs have revamped their facilities to create safe living environments that adhere to CDC guidelines.

With the added stress of the coronavirus pandemic adding additional triggers that lead to alcohol abuse, individuals now more than ever are encouraged to seek professional guidance. Through the interventions of a comprehensive treatment program, alcohol abuse can be thwarted before an alcohol use disorder becomes entrenched into a more serious alcohol dependency. If you are asking yourself, “Where do I get help for alcohol abuse” it is a sign that you recognize the problem and know that you are losing control over the drinking. Listen to your gut.

How Does an Alcohol Use Disorder Happen Anyway?

It is still a mystery as to why some individuals seem to be able to abuse alcohol regularly and never develop an alcohol use disorder (AUD), while others may acquire the disorder in short order. This is a scientific quandary that has not yet been answered through research.

There are, however, some recognized factors that might contribute to the risk of developing an AUD. Understanding these risk factors is helpful in proactively avoiding the possibility of alcoholism from occurring. Again, these are only risk factors, not causes, which only provide some guidance in decision-making regarding alcohol use:

  • Beginning to consume alcohol at a young age, as in under age 15
  • Family history of alcoholism
  • Genetics, specific biology differences that effect how alcohol is processed
  • Culture and ethnicity, with AUD more prevalent in Europe and the US
  • Personality traits, such as being prone to impulsive and high-risk behaviors
  • Having a mental health disorder increases the chances of self-medicating

Alcoholism can affect each person differently, so without any way to test someone in order to predict their chances of developing the disease all we have to go one currently is acknowledging known risk factors and moderating alcohol intake accordingly.

What Are the Signs of an Alcohol Use Disorder?

Someone who has a drinking problem could begin to fall into certain behavior patterns, as well as display the telltale signs of an AUD. These might include the following:

  • Attempts to limit or quit alcohol consumption fail
  • Drinking more alcohol over a longer period than intended
  • Needing to consumer ever-higher amounts of alcohol to experience the initial positive effects or ward off withdrawal symptoms
  • Spending a great deal of time drinking or recovering from effects of drinking
  • Neglecting family or work obligations
  • Increasingly relying on alcohol for perceived needs, such as getting to sleep or prior to a stressful situation
  • Bloating of the face and/or gut
  • Hand tremors
  • Glassy eyes

The adverse effects caused by alcohol abuse are many. According to an article published in the Alcohol Research and Health journal, alcohol abuse causes a litany of serious medical and psychiatric conditions including:

  • Certain cancers
  • Liver disease
  • Infectious disease
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Pancreas disease
  • Unintentional and intentional injury, such as accidents, homicides, and suicides
  • Unsafe sexual practices resulting in STDs, unplanned pregnancy

An interesting finding in the study is that among those who abuse alcohol, women are at a higher risk of being impacted by chronic disease compared to men.

I am Afraid of Detox So What Can I Expect?

If you are a bit nervous about the detox and withdrawal process you are in good company. The alcohol detox phase of recovery is a necessary step that is just not a pleasant experience. Regardless, by keeping the eye on the prize—sobriety—it is possible to safely navigate this phase of your recovery with the help of a trained medical detox team.

During a supervised medical detox, vital signs are monitored continually and the detox professional will provide medical interventions to help manage the withdrawal symptoms as they emerge. A trained detox staff can guide the individual through the process from start to finish, as they help them segue into a treatment program.

Depending on the length of time and severity of the AUD, plus other factors such as coexisting health or mental health conditions and age, the alcohol detox withdrawal symptoms may include:

Mild Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Vomiting
  • Hand tremors
  • Muscle weakness
  • Sweating
  • Agitation, irritability

Moderate Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Disorientation
  • Elevated heart rate and blood pressure
  • Mood swings
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Mild seizures
  • Mental confusion

Severe Withdrawal Symptoms

On average, alcohol detox and withdrawal lasts anywhere from 5-7 days, depending on the severity of the alcohol addiction.

What Types of Alcohol Addiction Treatment Are Available Now?

When seeking treatment for an AUD it is common to wonder, “Where do I get help for alcohol abuse?” It is important to recognize the different types of rehabs available that offer varying levels of care. Generally, an outpatient program is appropriate for a mild or recent AUD, but for a moderate to severe alcohol addiction it is best to seek help through a residential treatment setting. Where the individual is free to remain at home throughout the outpatient program, a residential program requires they reside in provided housing. There are pros and cons of each to consider, so it helps to do some research before deciding on which treatment format is the best fit for you.

During the pandemic, it is essential to locate a treatment provider who is set up for telehealth therapy sessions and support. These platforms have proven invaluable during the aftermath of the coronavirus epidemic here in the US. Outpatient services, including basic outpatient therapy, intensive outpatient, or partial hospitalization programs are provided through the telehealth video conferencing systems.

Treating alcohol dependency or addiction relies on a multidisciplinary approach that addresses all aspects of the disease. Once the individual has completed detox they will begin engaging in various therapeutic treatment elements at the rehab. Participating in psychotherapy is key to achieving a sustained recovery.

Behavioral treatments aim to help the individual make lasting changes in their formerly dysfunctional thought and behavior patterns. CBT is a short-term evidence-based therapy that helps people recognize how their irrational thoughts are triggering addictive and self-destructive behaviors. Through CBT the individual learns to replace those disordered patterns with new, healthy, constructive responses.

Other treatment interventions include:

  • Dialectical behavior therapy. DBT provides life skills that help the individual focus on four specific areas that are particularly helpful in addiction recovery. These include mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, and emotion regulation
  • Group therapy.  Group sessions are led by a clinician that encourages participation discussing various recovery-related topics
  • Family therapy. Family-centered group sessions provides a safe space for family members to participate in their loved one’s recovery efforts
  • Education and relapse prevention planning. Psychosocial education equips the individual with the new coping tools and recovery skills to help navigate their world following rehab
  • Complementary activities. These activities include such things as art therapy, recreational activities, yoga, mindfulness, massage, nutritional counseling, and DBT skills practice

After Treatment, Then What?

Recovery does not end with the discharge papers from the rehab program, however. On the contrary, the real work of recovery begins the day you complete the program and need to navigate the real world once again. For this reason, aftercare is an essential component in alcoholism care planning.

Following a 30, 60, or 90-day residential treatment program, the individual should have a plan in place to continue to reinforce the newly acquired coping tools and sober lifestyle.

Aftercare, or continuing care, is simply the means by which sobriety is maintained outside of rehab. Three important aspects of aftercare include:

  1. Sober living housing. Planning for a few months residing in sober living provides an excellent opportunity to slowly transition back to normal daily life while still learning recovery techniques.  Sober living offers a great opportunity to reestablish healthy living habits through keeping a regular schedule, adhering to the house rules and responsibilities, and being accountable to the other housemates.
  2. Outpatient therapy sessions. Ongoing outpatient counseling is also an essential part of aftercare, especially helpful in relapse prevention.
  3. Recovery meetings. Participation in a 12-step or similar recovery community provides peer support and is a good resource for acquiring new sober friendships while receiving ongoing support in recovery.

Careful planning for beginning your recovery from an alcohol addiction will yield the most successful long-term results.

Ken Seeley Communities Addiction Treatment Serves Coachella Valley

Ken Seeley Communities offers the complete spectrum of alcohol abuse and addiction treatment, a rare entry in the industry. From providing professional intervention services to telehealth-based outpatient programs (an adjustment made during the pandemic) to residential rehabilitation to sober living house and continuing care services, Ken Seeley Communities covers all aspects of treatment and healing in beautiful Palm Springs, CA. If you are wondering ‘where do I get help for alcohol abuse,’ please contact the team today at (877) 744-0502.

is alcohol a depressant

Is Alcohol a Depressant?

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. When alcohol is consumed it has a sedating effect on the body, causing a sense of calm and relaxation. Some of the initial effects of minimal alcohol ingestion are quite pleasant, such as feeling less inhibited or stressed in a social situation. However, as alcohol consumption increases, the sedating effects intensify, leading to slurred speech, cognitive disturbance, unsteady movements, and slowed response time.

Some might ask, “Is alcohol a depressant?” because they are confused about the use of the term depressant, thinking it refers to a mental state of depression. In other words, they mistakenly apply the word depressant incorrectly when referring to alcohol. Alcohol has depressant properties affecting neural activity and brain function, but drinking a glass of wine will not make you feel sad.

That said, someone who develops an alcohol dependency or addiction may indeed become psychologically depressed due to the negative consequences the disease of alcoholism has on his or her life. In fact, alcoholism and depression are very common comorbidities. However, it isn’t the alcohol itself that made the individual feel sad or hopeless, instead it is the effects of the disease that can lead to depression.

Is Alcohol a Depressant?

Is alcohol a depressant? Absolutely. Ethyl alcohol has a powerful effect on the central nervous system and the brain. Alcohol binds to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors, which induces the feelings of sedation, and also inhibits glutamate, a neurotransmitter that stimulates the central nervous system. Alcohol also causes the neurotransmitter dopamine to be released, producing that well-known “feel good” response that then becomes established in the brain’s reward system as a positive memory.

Alcohol can also cause stimulatory effects. Upon consuming alcohol, some individuals may become euphoric. Some may experience increased heart rate, while others may exhibit aggressive behaviors. It is believed that individuals who have a high tolerance to the sedating effects of alcohol will likely consume higher quantities to achieve sedation, and are therefore at a higher risk for developing an alcohol use disorder.

Effects of Alcohol Intoxication

So why do people drink? What is the allure of the substance? While the majority of people only indulge in drinking alcohol occasionally, usually while participating at a social event or on a special occasion, some individuals misuse alcohol. Some examples of why people abuse alcohol might include:

  • They begin to rely on the sedating effects to relieve stress
  • They self-medicate the symptoms of a mood disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, or an anxiety disorder
  • The use alcohol to increase their feelings of confidence

The effects of drinking alcohol may include the following:

  • Slurred speech
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Sleepiness
  • Unconsciousness
  • Uninhibited behavior
  • Impaired motor skills, clumsiness
  • Depressed breathing
  • Mental confusion, fuzzy thinking
  • Impaired judgment, poor decision making
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Euphoria
  • Cognitive and memory impairment

The Danger of Alcohol Poisoning

When wondering “Is alcohol a depressant?” look no further than alcohol toxicity for the answer. The depressant effects of alcohol can become lethal if the individual consumes more than the body can process. Excessive consumption causes depress the central nervous system to the point of respiratory failure can cause death. Alcohol poisoning occurs when an individual has ingested five or more drinks in a time span of two hours or less, overwhelming the body’s ability to process it. The higher the blood alcohol concentration is, the more impaired the individual becomes.

Signs of alcohol poisoning include:

  • Shallow breathing
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Confusion
  • Clammy or pale skin
  • Low body temperature
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures

It is imperative to call for emergency medical intervention in the event of alcohol poisoning.

What Constitutes an Alcohol Use Disorder?

When an alcohol problem becomes evident, usually after experiencing repeated episodes of inebriation, blackouts, severe hangovers, and withdrawal symptoms, it is likely the individual has acquired an alcohol use disorder. Alcohol misuse over a protracted period of time leads to increased tolerance and higher consumption. All the while, the brain’s chemical structure and neural pathways are continually adapting to the presence of alcohol, which eventually leads to alcohol dependency. In fact, the American Medical Association defines substance dependence as a chronic brain disease.

Signs of an alcohol use disorder include:

  • Cannot stop drinking even though you want to
  • Drinking becomes the center of life, with much attention devoted to buying alcohol, drinking, and recovering
  • Experiencing cravings
  • Try to cut back on alcohol consumption but are unable to
  • Avoiding social situations and giving up usual pastimes in favor of drinking
  • Neglecting responsibilities at home and work
  • Engaging in high-risk behaviors, such as driving under the influence
  • Experience increased tolerance and subsequently increased consumption
  • Experience withdrawal symptoms when alcohol is withheld

An alcohol use disorder is classified as mild, moderate, or severe based on the number of diagnostic criteria that are present. In addition to the diagnostic criteria, the medical or mental health professional will also order a physical exam and blood tests to help determine the level of severity as it can reveal any number of related health conditions.

How is Alcoholism Treated?

The level of care required to treat alcoholism will be determined by the severity of the disorder. There are distinct differences between alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence, and alcohol addiction, each with a treatment route designed to help the individual restore health and functioning.

Detox. If indicated by the length of history and level of alcohol misuse, the individual may need to first complete the medical detox process. Detox and withdrawal refers to the phase of treatment when the individual abstains from alcohol and allows the body to stabilize over a period of days. The withdrawal symptoms begin to emerge 6-12 hours following the last drink, and will peak on days 2 or 3. Symptoms might include:

  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Hand tremors
  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures

During the detox process, the addiction specialists will prescribe medical interventions to help ease symptoms as much as possible. In the majority of cases, alcohol detox lasts 5-7 days.

Rehabilitation. Treatment for alcohol use disorder revolves around learning ways to remain abstinent. Rehab programs are available in outpatient or residential formats, with outpatient treatment best suited for mild to moderate alcohol use disorders. Residential rehab programs provide a much higher level of care and monitoring for individuals with moderate to severe disease. A comprehensive approach to treatment will combine the following:

  • Psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is a central theme in alcohol recovery, allowing the individual to process underlying emotional issues or past traumas that may be contributory. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) provides a blueprint for making fundamental changes in thoughts and action patterns that have kept the individual trapped in the addiction cycle.
  • Group therapy. Meeting with peers in recovery, or engaging in family-focused sessions, provides an opportunity to discuss topics related to recovery with others. New communication skills and conflict resolution techniques are taught in the group setting.
  • Education. Learning about the impact of alcohol on brain chemistry and structure can act as a deterrent to relapse. In addition, the classes guide individuals to form relapse prevention strategies.
  • Naltrexone. Some individuals with more severe AUD may benefit from medication-assisted treatment. Naltrexone is a non-narcotic medication that can assist in reducing alcohol cravings and relapse, helping to sustain sobriety.
  • 12-step or similar programming. Recovery meetings provide important social support and the opportunity to establish new sober friendships.
  • Adjunctive activities. Rounding out rehabilitation are several activities that augment the evidence-based therapies, including learning how to practice mindfulness, yoga class, art therapy, and outdoor recreational therapy.

Dual diagnosis treatment. A large percentage of individuals with alcohol addiction also struggle with a mood disorder. A recent study noted that individuals with an alcohol use disorder are at increased risk for developing major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, antisocial and borderline personality disorders. Data supports utilizing an integrated treatment approach for dual diagnosis to ensure that both the alcohol use disorder and the mental health disorder are both treated at the same time.

How to Sustain Sobriety

A prime focus of rehab is to provide individuals with the tools they will need to access in recovery that will help them overcome cravings and other triggers, therefore avoiding relapse. An effective treatment program will equip the individual with new coping skills, teach them relaxation techniques, encourage new healthy lifestyle habits, and guide them in creating their own individualized relapse prevention plan.

In recovery, actions to help avoid a relapse include:

  • Have a confidante. This can be a sponsor, a close friend, a sibling, or a spouse, someone you maintain honest, open communication with in recovery
  • Continue doing the work of recovery. Go to meetings, work the steps, be of service
  • Establish a regular sleep routine and get at least 7 hours of quality sleep nightly
  • Avoid people or situations where drinking or heavy partying is happening
  • Leave destructive friendships behind and begin making friends in the sober community
  • Begin seeking enjoyable sober activities and shift completely to a sober lifestyle
  • Keep stress under control with yoga, prayer, meditation, deep breathing work, or massage
  • Continue outpatient psychotherapy

Ken Seeley Communities Addiction Recovery Complex in Palm Springs

Ken Seeley Communities is a leading addiction recovery treatment center serving the Coachella Valley. Founder Ken Seeley is a renowned professional interventionist who was a staple on the A&E series, Intervention. His recovery complex serves individuals in need of addiction treatment, including providing intervention services, medical detox, outpatient rehab programming, residential rehab programming, and sober living housing. If you wonder if alcohol is a depressant or have any other questions about alcohol use disorder, please reach out to our team today at (877) 744-0502.

 

coming off alcohol

Managing the Effects of Coming Off Alcohol with Residential Detox

If only there was a way to magically bypass the detox and withdrawal phase of recovery. But until some brilliant inventor creates a magic pill that can allow a person to leapfrog over the suffering of detox, there is the detox, an absolute necessity when alcohol is the substance involved.

It is widely understood that people with an alcohol dependency who want to enter recovery should undergo a supervised detox. There is good reason for this guidance, as the effects of coming off alcohol can produce highly unpredictable, even dangerous, symptoms. Trained detox specialists are prepared to intervene should such symptoms arise and result in an emergency.

About Alcoholism

Alcoholism continues to lead the rehab admissions in America. While the opioid crisis has captured the national headlines, in reality alcohol addiction represents 80% of the individuals suffering from a substance use disorder, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Wellness Services Alliance.

There is a strong genetic component to the disease, with over 50% of Americans having a family history of alcoholism. In addition to genetics, neuroscience research is beginning to identify the chemical effects of alcohol on the brain structures. Using MRI and PET imaging, scientists are able to literally see the impact of alcoholism on the human brain.  According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a method called event-related potentials (ERP) has allowed researchers to identify markers that appear in the brains of alcoholics and their children, becoming a useful tool for identifying individuals at risk for alcoholism.

Other potential risk factors for developing an alcohol use disorder include alcohol being introduced at an early age, psychological factors, such as a co-occurring mental wellness disorder, poorly formed coping skills or a lack of resilience, or stressful life events.

Importance of a Residential Detox

All too often, someone wrestling with an alcohol dependency may hit a low point and impulsively decide to stop drinking on his or her own. Attempting to undergo alcohol detox alone is a serious mistake, as sudden, unpredictable acute withdrawal symptoms can emerge, requiring immediate assessment. Detox specialists possess the training to quickly intervene should severe withdrawal symptoms suddenly occur.

During a residential detox, a specially trained detox team will have the client’s intake data available that can prepare them for any potential problem. This information helps to alert the detox team if there is a health condition or a history of acute withdrawal syndrome. Throughout the detox process the team will monitor the client’s vital signs so they can identify any serious symptoms.

The delirium tremens (DTs) is a very serious development that constitutes a emergency. While the DTs only affect a small percentage of individuals going through alcohol detox, the mortality rate for those who do is about 5%-15%, the need for attention should it emerge is essential. Symptoms of the DTs include severe mental confusion, tremors, fever, high blood pressure, hallucinations, and seizures.

During the detox process, specialists will administer medications as needed to dramatically reduce many of the common alcohol withdrawal symptoms, as well as provide emotional support. The goal of a residential detox is to use interventions to guide the client safely through the withdrawals with the least amount of discomfort, while preparing the individual to transition into the treatment phase of recovery.

Factors that Influence Withdrawal Severity

Certain factors can determine the level of severity of the withdrawal symptoms, which can range from mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms to severe. These factors include:

  • Length of history of the alcohol use disorder
  • The level of alcohol consumed daily
  • Having a history of alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS)
  • Age of individual
  • A coexisting mental wellness disorder
  • General health status of individual

Withdrawal Symptoms and Detox Timeline

Alcohol detox needs to be viewed as a necessary step in achieving freedom from alcohol addiction. It is the gatekeeper to recovery, so it must be endured before one can proceed into addiction treatment. Detox is the most unpleasant part of recovery, where the body attempts to adjust to the sudden absence of alcohol, something that results in unpleasant physical withdrawal symptoms that begin within 6-12 hours. Again, alcohol detox should only be attempted under the care and supervision by a detox team.

In most cases, withdrawal symptoms will be unpleasant, but not life threatening. However, for someone with a long history of excessive alcohol consumption or other risk factors, serious complications can arise. Withdrawal symptoms generally fall into one of two categories based on the severity of the alcohol addiction or dependency.

Common Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Sweating
  • Tremors of the hands
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Agitation or irritability
  • Depression
  • Insomnia

Severe Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Body shakes
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Nightmares
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Severe mental confusion
  • Seizures
  • Death

Alcohol detox occurs in three stages—the emergent stage, the peak stage, and the subsiding stage—and is typically completed within 7 days.

Managing the Effects of Coming Off Alcohol

While the unavoidable effects of coming off alcohol is an unpleasant one, here are some methods that can help to minimize the discomfort:

  • Hydrate. While the body is detoxing electrolyte levels can benefit from drinking fluids, which helps combat nausea and dehydration.
  • Distract. Depending on the severity of the withdrawal symptoms, it may help if you can take a walk, take a brisk shower, listen to music or a podcast, or watch TV.
  • Eat healthy. Increase the intake of fresh fruits and vegetables to help balance blood sugar levels.
  • Holistic. Try deep breathing techniques, aromatherapy using oils that reduce cravings and help with detoxification, a YouTube yoga class, or a meditation app.

Riding out the detox process is just that, so brace yourself for waves of cravings that will soon dissipate, remind yourself of the reasons you seek sobriety, and know that the detox process is a very short-lived inconvenience.

Treatment for Alcoholism

After detox is completed, a structured addiction treatment program will guide individuals through the process of changing disordered addiction-related behaviors and habits. Recovering from alcoholism requires an extended period of treatment to replace those self-destructive patterns and acquire new behaviors and recovery skills that help support sobriety. Rehab is available in an outpatient format, which is appropriate for mild to moderate alcohol use disorder, or a residential format, which is appropriate for moderate to severe alcoholism.

While in treatment the individual will participate in a variety of treatment activities and therapies that approach all angles of recovery, including:

  • Psychotherapy. Individual therapy, using various evidence-based psychotherapies, helps the individual work through any underlying emotional issues or past traumas that may be a factor in the alcoholism.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy. CBT guides individuals toward adopting new thought and behavior patterns that replace the disordered patterns that have culminated in alcohol abuse through addict behaviors.
  • Group therapy. Group sessions offer peers in recovery opportunities to share about their personal experiences and challenges, fostering an essential source of mutual peer support.
  • Family-based therapy. Family-focused therapy helps family members process their frustrations, mend hurt feelings, and discuss the fears around the disease of alcoholism and how it has impacted the family.
  • Relapse prevention planning. Each individual will examine his or her unique triggers or stressors that could potentially disrupt recovery and lead to a relapse.
  • Meetings. 12-step meetings, or some form of alternative programming, can provide additional social support, as well as opportunities for establishing new sober friendships.
  • Holistic therapies. There are complementary therapies, such as yoga classes, massage therapy, acupuncture, mindfulness training, and art therapy that can help the individual in recovery regulate stress.
  • Nutritional counseling and exercise.  Establishing new lifestyle habits that are focused on wellness are incorporated into the program to help promote physical and psychological healing.

Life in Recovery

Taking that first step is momentous, putting you on the path to reclaiming your life and fulfilling the dreams that had been lost in the fog of addiction. Life will begin to improve in a multitude of ways, especially following that first year of recovery. But even in that first year of adjusting to a sober lifestyle, improvements in sleep quality, your physical appearance, energy, cognitive and memory functions, and overall mood will spur you to stick tight to the plan. Stay in outpatient therapy, participate in a recovery community, and try sober living if the home environment is not supportive to your recovery goals. Do whatever it takes because life is so worth the effort.

Ken Seeley Communities Alcohol Recovery Program in Palm Springs

Ken Seeley Communities is a leader in the field of addiction recovery. Founder Ken Seeley is a renowned professional interventionist who was a staple on the A&E series, Intervention. His recovery complex includes all facets of the recovery continuum, including intervention services, detox, outpatient rehab programming, residential rehab programming, and sober living housing. If you are ready to tackle the effects of coming off alcohol in a safe, supportive environment, please reach out to our team at (877) 744-0502.

 

alcohol poisoning next day

Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms Next Day and Beyond

Alcohol poisoning is a potentially fatal event that occurs when an individual consumes a high level of alcohol over a short period of time. The result of binge drinking on college campuses has been well document, with many tragic deaths occurring as a result of the dangerous drinking behavior. Alcohol poisoning doesn’t have to be related to partying college kids, however. There is the potential for anyone to drink to excess, either intentionally or accidentally, through chronic over drinking, which could result in a devastating outcome.

It is important to recognize alcohol poisoning symptoms next day effects, and long-term alcohol abuse consequences. Alcohol has the potential to upend one’s life, leading to substantial negative health effects and serious ramifications generally. Avoiding the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption requires knowledge of, and a healthy respect for, the risks of drinking.

About Alcohol Poisoning

The human body is only capable of metabolizing a certain amount of alcohol. The liver is able to process about one ounce of liquor per hour, meaning that drinking in excess of that amount will result in the non-metabolized alcohol accumulating in the blood. When the liver, bloodstream, and body tissues become overwhelmed by excessive alcohol consumption, the alcohol causes toxicity.

The guidelines established by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Addiction state that women should drink no more than three drinks in a given day or seven drinks per week. Men should not exceed 4 drinks in a given day or 14 drinks per week. Blood alcohol concentration can reach the legal limit of .08 g/dl after a woman drinks 4 drinks in a two hour period, or a man drinks 5 drinks in that same time span.

When alcohol toxicity occurs the body’s ability to metabolize it has been overridden, leading to very serious potential health risks. The individual will experience the following signs:

  • Low body temperature
  • Irregular breathing
  • Pale, clammy skin
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Mental confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Seizure
  • Incoherent
  • Coma

In the event of alcohol poisoning, it is considered a life- threatening emergency. While waiting for the first responders to arrive, keep the individual in an upright position and attempt to keep them awake. Do not leave the individual alone. Once at the hospital, the individual will be treated based on severity. The individual will likely need intravenous hydration and glucose. They may require a breathing tube until normal breathing is restored. In some instances, the stomach will need to be pumped to quickly eliminate the remaining alcohol contents in the system.

Untreated alcohol poisoning can result in asphyxiation due to the individual vomiting and not being able to expel it. Other serious after affects include possible brain damage, hypothermia, or hypoglycemia. Alcohol poisoning will have impacted the liver, pancreas, and stomach, causing inflammation. The alcohol poisoning symptoms next day may resemble a severe hangover as the body attempts to stabilize.

Symptoms Alcohol Poisoning Next Day and Prevention of Alcohol Use Disorders

Anyone who has experienced binge drinking, even without reaching a state of alcohol poisoning, can see how extreme the after affects are. The obvious short-term affects include nausea, vomiting, headache, fever, stomach distress, increased risk of accidents, DUI, or unsafe sex. In addition, alcohol abuse at a young age is a risk factor for eventually developing an alcohol use disorder later on.

Practicing safe drinking practices from early adulthood is key to avoiding the potential of addiction. Being cognizant of the temptations to party in college and setting self-boundaries for participating in social drinking is important in establishing self-moderation and control with regard to drinking and the affects of alcohol abuse.

If there is a mental wellness issue present, it is important to address it and get some therapy. Anxiety and depression are highly prevalent mental wellness conditions that can drive alcohol abuse. In an attempt to minimize psychological suffering, alcohol can be used as a crutch, which can develop into an alcohol use disorder over time.

The Importance of Getting Help for an Alcohol Use Disorder

Ignoring an alcohol use disorder is never advisable. Alcoholism is a chronic, progressive, relapsing brain disease that is relentless in its trajectory. Ignoring the burgeoning problem will only allow the alcohol issue to continue to worsen, so delaying treatment or counseling is not productive.

The reasons why someone becomes alcoholic is still not fully understood. Science has not yet determined why one heavy drinker becomes addicted or dependent on alcohol and another does not. Genetic predisposition, family history, personality traits, individual biology, and life events can all play a part in the development of an alcohol use disorder. When an individual has experienced enough alcohol poisoning symptoms, next day and beyond, they will hopefully elect to get help. For the best recovery outcomes it is best to seek professional help when an unhealthy pattern of alcohol consumption becomes evident.

Residential Detox

Before entering a rehab for alcoholism it is first necessary to complete a residential detox. Alcohol detox can turn potentially dangerous, necessitating trained detox specialists who are able to quickly respond if withdrawal symptoms become erratic. In most cases, the alcohol detoxification segment of the recovery process will take about a week to complete.

During detox, the brain and central nervous system will respond to the absence of alcohol by becoming destabilized. As the body attempts to normalize the individual will go through withdrawals, the unpleasant symptoms that will vary in severity depending on how long a history the individual has with heavy drinking, the general health and age of the person, and whether there is a coexisting mental wellness disorder.

Withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Sweating
  • Shakiness
  • Hand tremors
  • Chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations

To help manage the symptoms, the detox team will provide benzodiazepines and other medications.

Comprehensive Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder

To treat an alcohol use disorder there are two types of rehabs available, outpatient and inpatient, or residential. The outpatient option is less intensive, lower cost, and more flexible, but it is only appropriate for mild to moderate alcohol use disorders. The residential option provides an extended stay at a treatment center where a broad schedule of therapeutic activities will consume much of the day. This includes psychotherapy, group therapy, medication management where appropriate, addiction education, and 12-step programming.

Ken Seeley Communities Provides Early Intervention Services and Rehab for Alcoholism in Palm Springs, CA

Ken Seeley Communities wants to make a difference in the prevalence of binge drinking and alcohol abuse by providing services to help individuals get help earlier rather than later. If your loved one is engaging in dangerous binge drinking behaviors, consider contacting Ken Seeley Communities for our expert and renowned intervention services. Ken Seeley was featured on the hit A&E series, Intervention, as well as being interviewed by major networks about his effective intervention techniques.

Ken Seeley Communities provides all aspects of alcohol addiction treatment, covering the spectrum of services including interventions, outpatient rehab, residential rehab, dual diagnosis treatment, sober living housing, and continuing care services. Our focus is on early intervention and comprehensive treatment, all within the context of a compassionate and respectful treatment environment. For more details about our intervention services and recovery programs, please contact Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.

alcohol and social anxiety

The Link Between Alcohol and Social Anxiety

When considering what may drive someone to use alcohol as a soothing panacea for managing mental wellness disorders it is helpful to gain a deeper understanding of the connection between social anxiety and alcohol abuse. It isn’t difficult to identify the causal nature of this link, considering the effects of social anxiety on a person. For individuals who suffer from social anxiety, the intense level of discomfort in social situations can lead to an array of physical symptoms. These include a racing heart, spiked cortisol and adrenaline production, palpitations, sweating, shaking, and nausea. Alcohol can behave as a very quick antidote to these symptoms, producing a calming, relaxing effect in moments.

But as with all substances that produce chemical changes in the brain, alcohol can create a whole host of additional problems on top of the social anxiety it is supposed to be helping. The partnership between alcohol and social anxiety becomes symbiotic, that is the effects of one enhance the effects of the other, as a vicious cycle. Alcohol abuse can enhance the anxiety symptoms, as well as contribute to depression and many negative consequences in one’s life.

Why Do Those With Social Anxiety Use Alcohol?

Someone with social anxiety disorder typically has an intense fear of social events and interactions. This can include fearing simple activities like eating a meal in public or something associated with an extreme fear of being judged, such as public speaking. It has been found that 20% of those who suffer from social anxiety disorder also present with a comorbid alcohol use disorder, according to the article by Book and Randall, “Social Anxiety Disorder and Alcohol Use.” Alcohol can help these individuals relax in social settings, reducing the anxiety symptoms associated with the social phobia.

For those who dread the prospect of being scrutinized or criticized publically, turning to alcohol can be the last thing they do before leaving the house. Self-medicating fears away is only going to provide a temporary Band-Aid as more and more of the substance will inevitably be needed to relax.

Signs of Alcohol Dependency

Alcohol dependency comes in stealthily, like a thief in the night attempting to rob one of everything they hold dear. While the alcohol started out as a crutch for managing social anxiety, over time increased tolerance resulted in higher levels of alcohol consumption. There are some specific signs that alcohol abuse has evolved into a disorder. These signs include:

  • Being unable to control the levels of alcohol consumption. No shut-off capability
  • Turn to alcohol first thing in the morning
  • Hiding alcohol in the house or at work, or lying about alcohol use
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Excessive absences from work or classes
  • Decline in work or academic performance
  • Obsess about getting alcohol, having enough on hand, anticipating drinking
  • Try to quit alcohol but cannot stop
  • Experience withdrawal symptoms when try to quit

Treatment for Social Anxiety

Treating social anxiety will involved a combination of targeted psychotherapy and the use of medication. The psychotherapy best suited for treating social anxiety disorder is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). In addition, exposure therapies are also helpful in assisting individuals in overcoming their fear of social situations.

Antidepressants may be effective in managing the symptoms of social anxiety disorder. In addition, other types of antidepressants, such as the SNRI has been shown to be effective for this anxiety disorder. Anti-anxiety medications may also help reduce feelings of anxiety in a stressful situation, however these drugs have a high propensity for abuse and addiction.

Treatment for an Alcohol Use Disorder

When seeking help for an alcohol use disorder the first step in the process of recovery will be the detoxification process. Alcohol detox should always be conducted in the safe and supportive detox environment. Alcohol detox can suddenly introduce serious health risks, such as seizures or the delirium tremens, so detox should never be done without appropriate supervision.

Once the detox is completed, it is time to transition to treatment for the alcohol and social anxiety disorders. Both disorders should be treated simultaneously using psychotherapy, such as CBT and motivational enhancement therapy, medication, 12-step programming, and adjunctive activities that can enhance the conventional treatments. These might include recreational therapy, mindfulness, EMDR therapy, yoga, and hypnotherapy.

Ken Seeley Communities Treats Dual Diagnosis in Palm Springs

Ken Seeley Communities is an integrated alcohol and dual diagnosis treatment center in California. At Ken Seeley Communities, great lengths are taken to match the needs of each individual client based on their particular substance of abuse or co-occurring mental wellness condition. For alcohol and social anxiety, a comprehensive approach to treating the co-occurring disorders would involve evidence-based therapies that are targeted toward social anxiety disorder. These include cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, and exposure-based therapies. The alcohol use disorder should be treated simultaneously for the best recovery outcome. For more information about our recovery services, please contact Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.

Alcohol and Depression

Dual Diagnosis Alcohol and Depression

A dual diagnosis occurs when an individual is struggling with both a substance use disorder and a coexisting mental wellness disorder. Dual diagnosis is a complex and prevalent condition that impacts about 25% of those with a drug or alcohol addiction, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Wellness Services Administration. Of those, the most common is the dual diagnosis alcohol and depression combination.

There are two ways the dual diagnosis alcohol and depression can develop. In some cases, the individual is experience a major depressive episode and may turn to alcohol as a means of self-medicating their emotional pain away. Over time, the tolerance to alcohol increases, resulting in more excessive drinking and potentially alcohol addiction. This is a situation where depression was a precursor to alcoholism. In others, the individual develops alcoholism first. As the consequences that result from the alcohol addiction mount, depression can set in, indicating that alcoholism can trigger a depressive disorder. In both scenarios, the dual diagnosis alcohol and depression is the outcome.

This particular dual diagnosis is a particularly dangerous one. Because alcohol is a depressant, and can cause major devastation in all aspects of one’s life, when co-occurring with depression there is a higher risk of suicide. In fact, suicide rates among alcoholics are exorbitantly high. According to a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, among alcoholics, the lifetime risk of suicide is 10%-15%, and that, in fact, depression and alcoholism were comorbid in 85% of 100 cases of completed suicide.

Treatment for individuals who present with this dual diagnosis of alcohol and depression will need to be provided through a specialized dual diagnosis provider where both disorders will be treated simultaneously for the best recovery outcome. These programs include psychiatric expertise on staff that are trained to respond to the issues that may emerge during detoxification and rehab.

Signs of the Dual Diagnosis Alcohol and Depression Co-Occurrence

The symptoms of both disorders, depressive disorder and alcohol dependency, will be evident in individuals who have developed this dual diagnosis. These symptoms include:

Depression

  • Sadness, despair, hopelessness
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of desire to participate in usual activities
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Slowed motor and cognitive functioning
  • Inappropriate feelings of shame or guilt
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Suicidal thoughts

Alcoholism

  • Tolerance increases causing increased alcohol consumption
  • Experiences blackouts
  • Increasing time spent thinking about, obtaining alcohol, and recovering from drinking
  • Continue to drink despite negative consequences
  • Secretive behavior, hiding alcohol, lying about how much is being consumed
  • Efforts to quit or cut back are ineffective
  • Physical signs include bloating, glassy eyes, ruddy complexion
  • Withdrawal signs commence when alcohol is not available

Characteristics of Alcoholism and Coexisting Depression

The fallout for this dual diagnosis can be exceptional. Struggling with both depression and alcohol dependency can result in a slew of negative consequences. This can be due to the increased impulsivity of the alcoholic, an increase in risk-taking behaviors, and neglecting obligations, among other causes.

Consequences of the dual diagnosis of alcoholism and depression might include:

  • Loss of job
  • Divorce or interpersonal relationship issues
  • Loss of custody
  • Financial consequences due to job loss
  • Legal problems, such as getting a DUI
  • Health problems, such as pancreatitis, liver disease, heart disease, cancer
  • Accidents that result in injury to self or others, or damaged property

Individuals with a dual diagnosis of alcoholism and depression should not ignore the need for professional help. Loved ones who recognize these signs and symptoms are encouraged to seek out treatment for the individual.

Suicide Prevention

One of the more devastating consequences of alcoholism/depression co-occurring disorders is the dramatically increased risk of suicide. Primary care providers are being trained to assess for risk of suicide among patients who are alcohol dependent, hopefully increasing referrals to addiction treatment programs. These patients should be questioned about possible presence of depression symptoms as a way of identifying suicide risk in this group.

Suicide awareness includes recognizing symptoms such as:

  • Prolonged and persistent sadness, signs of hopelessness
  • The individual conveys the opinion that his or her loved ones are better off without them
  • Isolating behaviors
  • Loneliness
  • Successive setbacks that occur, such as relationship problems, loss of employment, financial difficulties
  • Appear to be giving away prized possessions
  • Making end of life arrangements
  • Saying goodbye to loved ones and friends
  • Acquiring the means to commit suicide, such as a firearm, rope, pills

Comprehensive Treatment for Dual Diagnosis

Treatment for the dual diagnosis will involve a full spectrum of therapeutic interventions that work together in an integrated approach to recovery. These treatment elements include:

Residential detox and withdrawal: Alcohol detox should always be supervised, as potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms can suddenly emerge. 

Individual psychotherapy: Therapy is an essential core element for treating both disorders. The therapist will guide the individual to examine sources of emotional pain and help them resolve these. In addition, cognitive behavioral therapy helps shift addiction responses toward positive, productive behavioral responses, as well as teaching coping skills.

Group counseling. Group therapy supports peer interaction and is a source for sharing and accountability.

Relapse Prevention: Individuals create a detailed relapse prevention strategy by identifying specific triggers or situations that could lead to relapse, and response strategies as well.

Continuing care services: Following completion of the program, sober living housing, 12-step group participation, and outpatient counseling are strongly encouraged.

Ken Seeley Communities Provides Expert Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Ken Seeley Communities is a Palm Springs-based addiction and dual diagnosis recovery program. The expert dual diagnosis clinical staff is trained to treat both disorders, alcoholism and depression, concurrently, providing detox, rehab, and sober living transitional housing. Ken Seeley Communities features a unique approach to guiding individuals into recovery, including intervention services and a subsequent continuum of care throughout the recovery process. For more detail about the program, please contact Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.

medication for alcoholism

Drugs To Treat Alcoholism

Anyone who has attempted to quit drinking unsuccessfully understands the powerful grip of alcohol addiction. Alcoholism is a brain disease, a result of the altered brain chemistry and neural pathways that can make it a very daunting and frustrating condition to rise above. While therapy can and does help the alcoholic learn how to break down the deeply engrained addiction behaviors that hold a person captive, it is sometimes not enough to fend off the relentless cravings for alcohol.

In recent years, drugs to treat alcoholism have become available to add additional mettle to the daily battle the recovering alcoholic faces. While recovery from alcoholism requires a comprehensive treatment approach for best outcomes, the medication-assisted treatment for this relentless disease is a welcome treatment element. These drugs are intended as adjunctive measures to further reinforce recovery, and not to be thought of as standalone treatment measures.

Why Is Alcoholism So Hard to Overcome?

Not only can drinking alcohol become addictive, but once addiction or dependency take root, alcoholism can be very difficult—although not impossible!—to overcome. Recovering from alcoholism is very unique to the individual. Some of the same factors that contributed to the addiction in the first place, such as genetics, growing up in a home where alcohol use was prevalent, a history of emotional or physical trauma or abuse, and individual biology, will be issues in recovery.

This means that for some people, beating alcoholism is very challenging. They may have to battle against a genetic predisposition to alcoholism, or mental wellness issues that keep them dependent on using alcohol for coping with the unpleasant symptoms. For every recovering alcoholic there are the societal pressures to drink, the television commercials and magazine ads that promote alcohol use, and entrenched habits to overcome.

Drugs To Treat Alcoholism

So far, there are three FDA-approved drugs on the market for assisting in alcohol recovery. These include:

  • Disulfiram (Antabuse). Approved in 1951 as a measure to support sobriety in alcoholics, Antabuse acts as a deterrent to drinking. Once the individual is on Antabuse, if they drink they can experience highly unpleasant and even dangerous effects, such as extreme headache, nausea and vomiting, chest pain, heart palpitations, blurred vision, mental confusion, and respiratory difficulty. Knowing that these effects will occur if they drink, the idea is to deter any consideration to drink.
  • Acamprosate (Campral). Campral also works to reduce alcohol cravings and relapse. Additionally, Campral can help minimize the lingering withdrawal symptoms that can persist for months, such as sleep disturbances, edginess, and depression.

These drugs may be prescribed singularly or in combination based on each individual’s unique recovery needs or issues.

Are Drugs to Treat Alcoholism Safe?

When taken under a physician’s supervision, these drugs are generally safe, however there are some side effects that should be noted. Antabuse can have serious health effects, even including heart attack, respiratory failure, coma, and death. For this reason, Antabuse is not recommended for individuals with a history of repeated relapses. Vivitrol, ReVia, and Campral can have side effects such as headache, nausea, headaches, diarrhea, and fatigue.

What Is Comprehensive Treatment for Alcoholism?

Because of the complexity of alcohol dependency, recovery from alcoholism necessitates a multi-modal approach to treatment. Going about beating alcoholism from several different angles offers the best chances at a successful recovery result. There are three primary phases  of alcoholism recovery, including:

  • Residential Detox. A Residential Detox is the first step in the recovery journey, and can be one of the biggest obstacles to initiating treatment for an alcohol use disorder. This is because of the harsh, even dangerous, withdrawal symptoms that arise during detox. For this reason, individuals are cautioned never to approach detox alone without licensed supervision. During detox the detox specialists will provide the necessary medications to mitigate many of the withdrawal symptoms, and guide the individual safely through the process. In addition, the detox professionals offer important psychological support as well, as anxiety, depression, insomnia, and mental  confusion are common in detox and withdrawal.
  • Addiction Treatment. Treatment for an alcohol use disorder can be provided in either an outpatient or residential setting. Addiction recovery involves making fundamental changes to the learned behaviors that have kept the person dependent on alcohol. By replacing distorted thoughts and self-destructive addictive behaviors with new positive, constructive thought patterns will eventually become new healthy habits. Medication-assisted treatment is provided as one of the treatment elements for individuals in addiction recovery. Other interventions include psychotherapy, group therapy, holistic therapies, acquiring stress-management skills, active planning to prevent relapse, and 12-step meetings.
  • Continuing Care. An important treatment component includes the continuing care services that will support recovery after rehab is completed. Those in early recovery are very vulnerable to relapse, no matter how committed they are to sobriety. By continuing on with regular outpatient counseling and support services, as well as engaging in a recovery community that provides peer support, the individual will have a supportive backstop when issues that threaten recovery arise. Sober living housing is another excellent continuing care option during outpatient rehab and into the first few months of recovery.

Ken Seeley Communities Offers Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Palm Springs

Ken Seeley Communities and Rehab provides a full spectrum of addiction treatment services in the Palm Springs, California area. These services include professional intervention planning, detox, outpatient rehab, residential rehab, and sober living housing. One of the treatment elements offered at Ken Seeley Communities is medication-assisted treatment, including detox medications to treat alcoholism. For more information about the program and addiction treatment services, please contact Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.

brain to heal from alcohol

How Long Does it Take for Your Brain to Heal from Alcohol?

Recovery is a beautiful thing. It is a fact that even someone with a lengthy history of alcoholism can regain brain health in recovery, reversing years of damage to brain structures, volume, and functioning. Even after only six months, the individual in recovery will experience significant restoration of brain health.

In fact, even two weeks of abstinence will reveal a reversal of brain damage, according to a study out of Stanford University. The focus of the study was on volume loss caused by alcohol abuse, which is associated

Several factors may influence how long it takes for the brain to heal from alcohol addiction. These include the number of prior detoxifications, if the individual is a smoker, or if he or she has a strong family prevalence of alcoholism. These factors can slow down or prevent a complete brain recovery.

For someone considering getting treatment for an alcohol use disorder, it is encouraging to learn that not only will the individual experience improvements across the board in psychological and physical health, but their brain health will recover, too. These kinds of results will only be experienced when the individual complies with continuing care efforts and remains sober, but knowing that it is possible for the brain to heal from alcohol addiction is a powerful motivator.

How Alcoholism Affects Brain Health

Chronic alcohol abuse has deleterious effects on the brain. The brain matter volume literally shrinks as a result of alcoholism. In addiction, there can be an increase of cerebrospinal fluid. Along with the loss of volume in the insula and cingulate cortex, are other neuropsychological effects, also known as alcohol-related cognitive impairment, such as difficulty concentrating, memory loss, and even increased impulsivity.

Individuals with a serious alcohol use disorder experience changes in the frontal lobe, where executive functions like decision-making and self-control are regulated. The cerebellum is also affected by alcohol abuse, which is the region that contributes to controlling and coordinating muscle movements. Additionally, alcohol dependency can slow brain cell development and accelerate dementia.

5 Ways the Brain Heals from Alcohol Addiction

MRI imaging reveals the rapid restoration of brain volume in studies that measure brain scan results from participants of which half are in early alcohol recovery, starting 24-hours after detox, and half who had little exposure to alcohol. The increase in the cerebellum region was nearly completely restored after 14 days of abstinence.

Although the impact of chronic alcohol consumption on the brain is significant, the brain has an amazing ability to regenerate following abstinence from alcohol. This encouraging news is tempered somewhat by the fact that not all brain damage will be immediately restored, and that some effects of alcohol abuse on the brain may have permanent effects. However, the brain has an amazing capacity to heal. Some of the ways the brain heals from alcohol addiction include:

  1. Brain volume is restored. A dramatic increase in brain matter volume occurs within 2 weeks of abstinence from alcohol, as has been shown on brain imaging tests.
  2. New cell growth. While some brain cell destruction is permanent, sustained abstinence results in new brain cell growth in the hippocampus.
  3. Improved motor skills. Executing a motor skill toward a predetermined movement outcome is a brain function that improves with sobriety.
  4. Improved visual-spatial abilities. While visual-spatial abilities will not recover completely there is some improvement with long-term abstinence.
  5. Improved cognitive abilities. As the brain heals, cognitive functions, such as short-term and long-term memory, and most executive functions are improved.

Recovery of such behaviors as sustained attention span and other neurocognitive functions may take longer to rebound.

Other Benefits of Sobriety

Renewed brain health isn’t the only benefit enjoyed in sobriety. Some of the other positive effects associated with early recovery include:

  • Improved mood. Alcoholism often coexists with the symptoms of depression and/or anxiety. The impact of alcohol on the brain creates emotional instability, and the negative life consequences due to alcoholism only enhance feelings of shame, guilt, and anxiety. After a month or two in recovery an improvement in mood along with a renewed sense of purpose are quite common.
  • You just feel better. Alcohol is a toxic substance that can do serious damage to major organs. High daily consumption results in hangovers and nausea, and a general feeling of illness as the disease progresses. By abstaining from alcohol the body eliminates the associated toxins and the brain will stabilize. After a few months of sobriety the individual may feel more energetic and focused as the body begins to function optimally again.
  • Better appearance. Alcohol abuse has a dehydrating effect that can leave us look old and tired, as the body is unable to produce new cells at a normal rate. Inflammation caused by alcohol can cause a reddish skin tone. In sobriety the individual will notice an improvement in the overall appearance of their skin as collagen levels are restored to normal.
  • Better sleep. People may be under the misunderstanding that alcohol will assist with sleep. Alcohol is a sedative and may help someone fall asleep faster, but its effects in the bloodstream will disrupt the third and fourth phases of the sleep cycle, impacting the circadian rhythm and causing sleep disturbance. Sustained sobriety has the positive affect of better sleep quality, a key component of achieving overall wellness.
  • Weight loss. Alcohol is high in sugar content and calories, therefore alcohol abuse is often associated with weight gain and bloating. Individuals with a moderate to severe alcohol use disorder may also begin to adopt an unhealthy diet. This combination of high alcohol intake and poor diet can lead to extra pounds, liver distention, and water retention. When eliminating alcohol consumption from the daily caloric intake, facial features becoming more defined, your belly flattens, and a trimmer overall appearance will result.

Signs of an Alcohol Use Disorder

An alcohol use disorder is defined as the excessive consumption of alcohol to the point that it begins to negatively impact health, quality of life, and daily functioning. Sometimes it can take years for an alcohol habit to begin to reveal negative consequence. It is always best to recognize the warning signs of an alcohol use disorder early on so appropriate steps can be taken to proactively obtain professional help.

Some of the signs of an alcohol problem include:

  • Increased tolerance to alcohol, leading to higher alcohol consumption in an effort to experience the initial desirable effects
  • Neglecting daily responsibilities, such as parenting obligations or paying bills
  • Lying to others about how much you drink, hiding alcohol around the house, in the car, or at work
  • Isolating from friends and family so one can drink in private
  • Becoming obsessive about having alcohol available, looking forward to drinking, seeking excuses to drink
  • Experiencing problems at work, declining work performance, termination from job
  • Legal problems, such as DUI or child custody challenges
  • Negatively impacting interpersonal relationships
  • Alcohol cravings
  • Attempting to stop drinking but cannot
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when alcohol is withheld

Getting Help for Alcoholism

The road to restoring brain health and general wellness begins with the completion of a medically supervised detox program and commitment to addiction treatment. Following the detox the individual in recovery will need an extended period of professional treatment to acquire new behaviors and recovery skills designed to help them remain sober. Treatment programs are available in either an outpatient or a residential setting. The level of care that is appropriate is determined by the severity of the alcohol use disorder.

During the treatment phase of recovery the individual will participate in a variety of treatment activities and therapies that approach all aspects of alcoholism recovery. These interventions include:

  • Psychotherapy, which allows the individual to explore underlying emotional issues or past traumas that may be a contributing factor.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy, which guides the individual toward adopting new thought patterns that replace the dysfunction patterns that have fueled the alcohol abuse.
  • Group therapy, which provides opportunities for individuals in recovery to gain mutual peer support and learn new recovery skills.
  • Family-based therapy helps family members to process and heal their frustrations, emotions, and fears while learning new ways to relate.
  • Medication management using naltrexone can help recovering alcoholics manage cravings, which can reduce the risk of relapse.
  • Relapse prevention planning, which encourages the individual to examine their unique triggers and stressors that might disrupt recovery and lead to relapse.
  • 12-step meetings or similar programming, which provide social support and opportunities for leadership and making new sober friends.
  • Holistic therapies that can assist in regulating stress, such as yoga, massage therapy, acupuncture, practicing mindfulness, and art therapy can enhance the effects of traditional therapy as promote relaxation.
  • Nutritional counseling and exercise, which can help build a healthy lifestyle and promote physical and emotional healing.

Anyone who desires to take back control of their life and enter into recovery from alcoholism should be encouraged by the improvements in brain health, mood, physical health, and quality of life that result from a commitment to sobriety.

Ken Seeley Communities Trusted Resources for Alcohol Recovery Treatment

Ken Seeley Communities is a leader in the field of addiction recovery. Founder Ken Seeley is a renowned professional interventionist who was featured regularly on the A&E series, Intervention. His recovery center provides all levels of treatment for the recovery continuum, including intervention services, medical detox, outpatient rehab programming, residential rehab programming, and sober living housing. If you are ready to address an alcohol use disorder and allow your brain to heal from alcohol addiction, please reach out to Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.