Alcoholism is serious chronic disease that’s often progressive and characterized by a preoccupation with consuming alcohol, which is the most commonly abused substance in the U.S. In any given year, about 17 million Americans suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence.
Getting alcoholism treatment through a comprehensive, specialized program is essential for safe and effective recovery, but unfortunately, only around 8.4 percent of adults who need treatment don’t get it. As a result, about 88,000 people die annually from alcohol related causes, not including driving under the influence, which kills an additional 10,000 people every year and accounts for 31 percent of all traffic fatalities.
Alcoholism treatment can take place at an inpatient alcohol treatment center or as part of an outpatient treatment program. Effective alcoholism treatment is highly individualized. Because treatment must attend to multiple needs and address a range of underlying issues, no single alcoholism treatment method is appropriate for everyone who is addicted to alcohol. If you have an alcohol problem, and need help quitting, the experts at Jersey City Drug Treatment Centers can help. Call us today at (201) 620-9141.
While the terms “abuse” and “addiction” are often used interchangeably, there are a few major distinctions between abusing alcohol and being dependent on it.
You can abuse alcohol without being addicted to it. Those who abuse alcohol tend to binge drink, drink too often, or drink too much, but they are still able to maintain healthy relationships with family, friends, and co-workers and remain productive at work, home, and school.
Those who are addicted to alcohol, on the other hand, continue to drink despite numerous attempts to quit and despite the serious problems alcohol is causing in their lives, including legal problems, increasingly dysfunctional social and family relationships, trouble at work or school, and financial difficulties.
Treatment for alcohol addiction begins with the detox process, which is the period of time it takes to rid the body of all traces of alcohol. The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include dangerous seizures and the possibility of the onset of delirium tremens, which is fatal for 5 to 15 percent of patients who experience it without medical assistance. A detoxification process known as medical detox is the safest, least uncomfortable, and most effective way to proceed through the alcohol withdrawal process.
Medical detox is closely supervised by medical and mental health professionals and involves the administration of medications that alleviate intense cravings and reduce the intensity of dangerous or uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Medical detox can take place at an in-patient alcohol and drug treatment center or as part of an outpatient treatment program.
Detoxing from alcohol at home without medical supervision is highly dangerous, and it’s rarely successful due to the high likelihood of relapsing simply to make the pain and discomfort stop.
During the medical detox process, the patient is assessed for underlying physical and mental conditions and other issues that need to be addressed during treatment. Once the body is detoxed, treatment begins and involves a team of physicians, psychiatrists, licensed therapists, nurses, and coordinators who work together to provide comprehensive and individualized treatment, which includes individual, group, and family counseling, cognitive therapy, nutrition and wellness support, and working to manage any underlying mental and physical health issues.
Anywhere from 50 to 90 percent of those who complete treatment will relapse. Common reasons for relapse include inadequate aftercare, ambivalence toward recovery, lack of preparation for coping with stress and other triggers, and unrealistic expectations for recovery.
Once treatment is complete, an individualized aftercare program will be put in place to help prevent relapse. The aftercare program will include ongoing counseling and behavioral therapy, support groups like AA, and regular meetings with an aftercare caseworker. Additional aftercare programs abound and may include a sober living facility, vocational rehab, and housing assistance.