Alcohol is a beverage that contains a significant amount of ethanol, a depressant. It is the most commonly abused substance in the United States.
Booze, brew, juice, hard stuff, sauce, hooch, liquid courage
Excessive drinking, also known as binge drinking, is the consumption of enough alcohol to raise your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08. Typically, that means four drinks for women, and five for men ─ in a period of two hours.
Alcohol reduces inhibitions and can have a relaxing effect. It is often consumed at social functions as a way to unwind, relieve stress, and connect with others, but excessive drinking presents dangerous short- and long- term health risks.
Because alcohol is legal, many downplay the dangers of excessive drinking. However, alcoholism is just as dangerous as drug addiction. Even moderate drinking (defined as one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men) can negatively impact an individual’s memory. Binge drinking can promote risk-taking and harmful behaviors, leaving individuals more vulnerable to sexual assault, injuries, and car accidents. Drinking can also lead to alcohol poisoning, pancreatitis, and strokes, and is especially life-threatening when mixed with prescription painkillers, cocaine, Ecstasy, and sedatives.
Repeated alcohol misuse can lead to addiction and health problems, including:
- Liver disease
- Cancer of the skin, mouth, and throat
- Heart disease
- Brain damage
Alcohol poisoning occurs when an individual consumes a toxic amount of alcohol. Because that amount depends on age, gender, size, weight, health, how quickly an individual has been drinking, how much they have eaten, and whether they have consumed other substances, it is impossible to know how much alcohol will lead to an overdose. Acute alcohol poisoning can be deadly, which is why individuals who overdose require immediate medical attention.
Signs of Overdose
- Slurred speech
- Slow breathing
- Blue or pale skin
The first step in treating alcoholism is to allow the body to rid itself of all toxic substances. Because detoxing from alcohol can pose both serious physical and mental health risks, detoxing at home is extremely dangerous and often deadly. To ensure safety, it is important that individuals detox under the supervision of a healthcare professional. Doctors can monitor for physical and mental withdrawal symptoms and help make you as comfortable as possible. In some cases, doctors may prescribe medicines to make the detoxification process safer and easier.
- Involuntary movements
While detoxing from alcohol is important, it primarily focuses on the physical impact that addiction has had on the body. Addressing the substance’s psychological impact is just as important, and individuals should therefore seek addiction counseling and recovery support through inpatient (residential) programs or outpatient programs.
Traditional therapies help form an individual’s foundation for recovery, and supplementing them with holistic therapies builds upon that progress. This well-rounded approach to addiction treatment better prepares individuals for life after treatment.
Because alcohol abuse severely damages the heart, the liver, the pancreas, and the brain, individuals in recovery from alcoholism can reap the rewards of activities that encourage both physical and mental healing. Those in recovery should replace their alcohol consumption with Nutrition Education, which explores how to build nutritious meals and undo the damage caused by alcohol. Alcohol users suffering from a weak immune system can go on Hikes and Walks to physically strengthen the body. Individuals who drank to relieve their stress can find similar relaxation through Qi Gong.
Group designed to create mindful eating habits by exploring the role nutrition plays in recovery. Activities include label reading, food preparation, and food tastings.
Hikes and Walks
Staff-supervised hikes and walks throughout our more than 300 acres and the abutting Housatonic State Forest to help you practice self-reflection and recharge your spirit.
Combination of movement, meditation, and breathing to enhance energy flow, improve blood circulation, and stimulate immune function.
MEDICATION-ASSISTED TREATMENT (MAT)
For many struggling with alcoholism, painful withdrawal symptoms and severe cravings can prevent them from fully committing to recovery. For those individuals, MAT can be a life-saving tool. Through the use of FDA-approved addiction medications, MAT helps to significantly minimize withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings, allowing individuals to focus on getting better.
Because MAT primarily addresses physical dependence, it has proven most effective when paired with clinical therapy as part of a comprehensive addiction treatment program.
ADDICTION MEDICATIONS FOR ALCOHOLISM
To learn more about addiction medications, visit our Medication-Assisted Treatment page.
If you or a loved one is struggling with drinking, reach out for help. Mountainside’s team of experts can help you obtain the healthy, alcohol-free life you deserve.