What Is Alcohol?
Alcohol (ethanol or ethyl alcohol) is the ingredient in wine, beer, and spirits that causes intoxication. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that works by slowing down vital functions in one’s body. After an individual drinks alcohol, it is absorbed from the small intestine and stomach into his or her bloodstream, and is then metabolized in the liver. The liver is only able to metabolize a small amount of alcohol at a time, which leaves excess alcohol to circulate throughout one’s body via the bloodstream. Hence, the amount of alcohol consumed directly relates to its affects on one’s body. Although in America alcohol is legal for consumption for individuals over the age of twenty-one and is easily accessible, it also happens to be incredibly addictive.
How Is Alcohol Addictive?
When a person habitually engages in drinking excessively, he or she is likely to develop a tolerance, and will continuously require increased amounts of alcohol to achieve the desired feelings. Once an individual develops a tolerance to alcohol, he or she is at increased risk for developing an addiction. United States considers one standard drink as a beverage that contains approximately 14 grams (0.06 fluid ounces) of pure alcohol. Examples of one standard drink, as provided by the Mayo Clinic, include:
- 12 fluid ounces of regular beer (which is about 5% alcohol)
- 8-9 fluid ounces of malt liquor (which is about 7% alcohol)
- 5 fluid ounces of wine (which is about 12% alcohol)
- 1.5 fluid ounces of distilled spirits (which is about 40% alcohol)
Excessive alcohol abuse can lead to addiction. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) excessive alcohol consumption is marked as males drinking more than five alcoholic drinks within a two-hour period and females drinking more than four alcoholic beverages within a two-hour window.
Signs and Symptoms of an Alcohol Addiction
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse may be slightly more difficult to notice. Every individual is different and has the propensity to exhibit somewhat unique symptoms when it comes to alcohol addiction. Some of the common symptoms that frequently present could include, but are not limited to, any combination of the following, as provided by the Mayo Clinic:
- Memory impairment
- Slurred speech
- Aggressive behaviors
- Impaired thinking
- Poor coordination
- Dangerous and risky behaviors
- Increased tolerance to alcohol
- Liver damage
The severity of symptoms will depend on several contributing factors, such as the amount of alcohol consumed, one’s personal health history, the duration of alcohol abuse, if an individual simultaneously abuses additional substances and more.
The Treatment Process
The first step of treatment is to undergo detox. Detox is the process that rids one’s body of all foreign substances. There is a common misconception that due to the fact that alcohol is a legal substance, detoxing from it is safe to do without help. However, the adverse physiological effects that can occur when abruptly stopping can be arduous, as habitual alcohol abuse can alter the way a person’s body functions. Going through a medically supervised detox is highly recommended for people who are addicted to alcohol. A medically supervised detox will ensure that the individual remains physically safe while his or her body is ridding itself from alcohol. Once an individual has successfully completed the detox process, he or she should continue the recovery process by attending a formal substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment program.
Why Choose Annandale in Pasadena?
Annandale Behavioral Health is a private wellness center located in the beautiful hills of Pasadena, CA. Our center provides the ideal environment for guests to reconnect with nature while receiving premium and personalized treatment. At Annandale, we honor each person’s individuality and have a core belief that everyone is capable of achieving true wellness. We understand that in order to heal, every person in recovery deeply benefits from a customized and tailored treatment plan, which we carefully develop for each of our guests. Our multidisciplinary clinical team is made up of highly regarded psychiatrists, physicians, therapists, nursing, and support staff.
Annandale Behavioral Health offers a full continuum of care, including medically supervised detox, stabilization, residential treatment, and aftercare services. We are here to support you every step of the way to help you learn how to lead a healthy, authentic, and fulfilling life that both promotes and supports true wellness.
If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one in regards to mental illness, substance abuse, and/ or addiction, please do not hesitate to reach out for guidance. Our admissions team is available to answer any general questions regarding substance abuse, addiction, mental health issues, treatment, and/or specific questions about our program here at Annandale Behavioral Health. We welcome the opportunity to discuss how we might best be able to help you or your loved one in the recovery process. Feel free to reach us by phone at 855-778-8668 or through our contact form. We look forward to supporting you on your journey.