alcohol rehab for seniors

Alcohol Treatment for Seniors: A Growing Problem of Alcoholism in Senior Citizens

Alcoholism is no stranger to our world. Most countries have encountered cases of alcohol dependence. Most communities are currently seeing the negative effects this substance has on some people’s lives. And most families have been impacted by alcohol use disorder. Many younger individuals have struggled with alcohol misuse. But, while it’s certainly important to make sure these individuals have helpful resources can be detrimental as there are many seniors who also suffer from alcoholism. This means alcohol rehab for seniors is absolutely necessary for our communities.

What is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder, is a condition in which a person excessively and uncontrollably uses alcohol. Those who suffer from alcohol use disorder depend on alcohol and feel unable to function properly without this substance. Often, individuals who struggle with alcoholism drink far more often and in larger doses than others. 

Although alcohol is a legal substance and many people tend to enjoy a drink from time to time, some individuals struggle to limit themselves. This could be an indication that alcoholism is developing.

Some of the common signs of alcohol dependence, alcohol use disorder, or alcoholism include the following:

  • Irritability
  • Moodiness
  • Memory loss
  • Recklessness
  • Inability to stop or limit drinking
  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • Drinking first thing in the morning
  • Secrecy (i.e. drinking in private or alone)
  • Loss of interest in once enjoyable activities
  • Prioritizing drinking alcohol over responsibilities
  • Defensiveness when approached about drinking habits
  • Drinking in dangerous situations (i.e. before driving, along with medications, etc.)

Individuals who experience some or all of these signs and symptoms are likely suffering from alcohol dependence or misuse. If you have noticed any of these signs in the life of an older adult that you know, it may be time to intervene and help the individual to enroll in an alcohol rehab program for seniors.

Alcoholism in Seniors: Statistics and Effects of Senior Alcoholism

It’s easy to assume that alcoholism and other substance use disorders are mainly prevalent in the lives of younger individuals. According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 11.0 million adults aged 26 or older had suffered from an alcohol use disorder within the past year. But, many of those adults who suffer from alcoholism are over the age of 65. 

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) states that “one-third of older alcoholic persons develop a problem with alcohol in later life”. Research states that alcohol is the most commonly used substance in the older population. The AAFP also states that approximately 6% of aging adults can be classified as heavy alcohol users.

Why Does Senior Alcohol Dependence Develop?

Alcohol use disorder occurs as a result of many different factors. Each individual is different and has varying experiences. So, the causes of substance dependence will be different from case to case. However, when it comes to older individuals, several factors may contribute to the development of an alcohol use disorder. 

Grief/Loss

Many seniors who suffer from alcoholism have experienced great loss. They may have lost a spouse to illness. Or, their long-time friends may pass away. Many older individuals may lose adult children due to illnesses, violence, or other causes of death. In some cases, even the loss of a dear pet could be very difficult for older individuals. Any other type of companion or caregiver who passes away could also cause a very serious and overwhelming sense of grief to occur in the lives of senior men and women.

Loneliness

The loss of a loved one can leave older individuals alone. This is especially the case in cases where a close companion or caregiver dies. Also, as adult children get older and begin to move away from home, their older parents may feel lonely or empty. Even those who live in facilities or communities that are specially designed to accommodate the needs of older adults may begin to feel severely lonely. 

Retirement/Inactivity/Boredom

Many older individuals are simply unsure about what to do as life changes. Retiring from the workforce can lead to inactivity and, frankly, boredom. It can be hard for people to find a new “normal”, especially after having worked or been extremely active in previous years. Transitioning into a life of retirement can cause older people to feel unsettled or leave them feeling empty.

Depression

Loneliness, uncertainty, and grief can all lead to the development of depression. Physical health conditions can also be another contributing factor. Many older individuals suffer from depression. In fact, the American Academy of Family Physicians reports that approximately 5 million Americans who are 65 years or older have clinical depression. According to the same report, about 1 million adults in this age range have major depression.

The same report says that depression has been seen in 17%-37% of older patients who received treatment in primary care settings. About 30% of these individuals have been diagnosed with major depression.

Depression can worsen, its symptoms becoming more and more severe. This can lead to many challenges and effects, including:

  • Worry
  • Self-harm
  • Restlessness
  • Helplessness
  • Hopelessness
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • Overwhelming dissatisfaction
  • A lack of interest in interpersonal activities
  • An overall loss of motivation or inspiration

These symptoms and effects of depression can become overwhelming and decrease the quality of a person’s life. It can become even more challenging for older individuals to cope with these symptoms if they are also faced with physical illness, loneliness, or grief.

Stress/Anxiety/Fear

Unfortunately, many elderly individuals suffer from immense fear and worry. Anxiety and severe concerns may plague the hearts and minds of older people. Sometimes, this fear can come to older individuals who live alone. Or, elderly men and women may be overcome by concern or worry for their family members or for their own safety. Financial concerns might also become overwhelming for senior citizens as they are no longer working. 

Turning to Alcohol for Help

Sadly, countless older adults are unsure about where to turn for help. They may not know how to get the support or companionship that they need as they suffer from the challenges we mentioned earlier. As a result, many individuals turn to substance use in order to cope with these difficulties. Alcohol is often to “solution” in many people’s lives. Unfortunately, this can cause damaging and life-altering effects to occur.

Alcohol often seems to provide relief and rescue from the negative emotions and obstacles that life presents. It’s not uncommon for people to drink alcohol in order to relax or feel more at ease. But, the truth is that this behavior can lead to alcohol dependence and cause people to develop alcohol use disorders. 

When a person becomes dependent on alcohol, he or she may not feel able to cope with or manage the difficult situations that may arise. This might just lead to even more harmful habits and behaviors, including prescription drug misuse or illicit drug dependence. 

Health Complications Due To Alcohol Use in Seniors

Many older individuals who suffer from alcohol misuse develop very serious health complications as a result of excessive alcohol use. Alcohol use disorder can contribute to, cause, or worsen the following health problems:

  • Stroke
  • Ulcers
  • Diabetes
  • Confusion
  • Osteoporosis
  • Forgetfulness
  • Memory problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Liver diseases (i.e. cirrhosis)
  • Depression and other mood disorders

Some older individuals who misuse alcohol may engage in risky or harmful activities. This might include driving or trying to manage machinery or equipment while under the influence of alcohol. Also, some elderly individuals may develop very serious problems if they mix alcohol with medications. Many individuals do not intentionally use alcohol along with prescriptions. For example, a person may forget that he or she took medication and may drink alcohol. This could lead to adverse and severe effects, some of which could be deadly. 

Since the effects of alcoholism and excessive alcohol use can be so harmful, those who suffer from alcohol use disorder should seek help immediately.

Alcohol Rehab for Seniors

It is highly important for seniors who suffer from the effects of alcohol misuse to have access to treatment services. Again, alcohol dependence can have a very major negative effect on the lives of older individuals. So, finding the right resources can help to prevent further physical damage and end substance dependence altogether. Here are some of the treatment services that may be a part of alcohol rehab for seniors:

Detox

The detoxification process usually involves a medication-assisted treatment process. A professional detox program can help to cleanse the body from the toxic and harmful properties of drugs and alcohol. Throughout this process, individuals can work through the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal in a safe environment. These symptoms can be very difficult to deal with and may even lead people to relapse in order to avoid them. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms might involve:

  • Fevers
  • Tremors
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Sweating
  • Seizures
  • Headaches
  • Moodiness
  • Loss of appetite
  • High blood pressure
  • Sleeping disturbances
  • Inability to think clearly

It’s best for those in recovery to go through a detox process as they work through withdrawal. This will ensure that recovering individuals have access to professional and medical assistance should withdrawal become overwhelming or even dangerous. Also, the medication involved in MAT can help to block or lessen the effects of withdrawal symptoms. This may make the process more comfortable for those who are working to recover from alcohol misuse.

Residential Treatment

Often, those who are working to end addiction can benefit quite a bit from inpatient treatment, Also known as residential care, this approach to addiction treatment offers people the option to live at their addiction recovery facility.

Doing so can allow people to have access to 24/7, around-the-clock care. It also helps to create a healthy distance between individuals and any outside factors that could lead to a relapse. This enables people to develop relapse prevention skills and the other experiences they will need in order to remain free from substance dependence after treatment. 

Residential treatment involves therapy programs, such as individual therapy and group therapy. These approaches can help people to work through the effects of addiction and find healing.

Intensive Outpatient Program

Also known as an IOP, an intensive outpatient program can be considered as a step down from residential treatment. Although individuals do not live at their treatment center, they still have access to care and treatment on an intensive level. Individuals may receive treatment between 9 and 12 hours every week. 

Those in an IOP may continue living at home while getting treatment. This might allow them to go to work or enjoy life with family while they are not in treatment. Intensive outpatient programs usually involve therapeutic services, like those offered in residential care.

Outpatient Treatment Program

Just as is the case with intensive outpatient treatment, outpatient care does not require people to live at a treatment center. Instead, individuals may continue living at home while getting treatment several hours per week. 

Outpatient treatment enables people to hold jobs, tend to various responsibilities, or comfortably live at home while still benefitting from addiction treatment services. However, this approach is not usually recommended for those who have what might be considered “severe” cases of addiction. Instead, people may enter outpatient programs after going through detox and residential care.

Therapy is also involved in this type of treatment. Individuals can continue to benefit from individual therapy, group therapy, and even family counseling. Individuals in an outpatient addiction treatment program can continue to receive care and even transition through a sober living program. 

How to Help an Older Loved One Who Is Struggling

If you’ve noticed signs of alcoholism in the life of an older loved one, you may be unsure about how to help. It can be difficult to know how and when to intervene. But, there are several things you can keep in mind in order to make the best choices as far as this matter is concerned.

It’s important to take special note of negative or unhelpful terminology when it comes to substance dependence. It is imperative that you and your family avoid referring to your struggling loved one as an alcoholic. Also, be sure that you learn more about addiction and how it affects those who suffer from it. The idea that substance dependence is a choice rather than a disease or a disorder can be extremely harmful. It can also prevent you from being able to truly help your family member.

Continue to respect your elderly loved one. Those who suffer from substance use disorders often experience quite a few physical and emotional changes. But, if you continue to offer love and respect to your older family member throughout his or her transitions, you will find that it tremendously helps your loved one to feel supported.

Be honest with your family member about your concerns. If you’re concerned about his or her safety, it’s best to say so. Inform the individual of the effects his or her alcoholism is having on your family. Bear in mind, though, that the person may not be aware of these issues. So hearing about them may cause the individual to feel guilty, ashamed, or even upset by these conversations. Be prepared to offer support and reassurance. But, also, be prepared to offer solutions. 

One of the main and most helpful solutions to addiction is professional treatment. Be sure to present this option.

Finding the Support and Guidance You Need

If you have an older loved one who is suffering from alcohol use disorder, there is no time like the present to help him or her to find hope. Here at Sana Lake Recovery Center, we are committed to offering individuals the resources they need in order to end substance use and dependence. 

Programs that offer alcohol rehab for seniors can be extremely helpful and even necessary for elderly individuals. Alcohol use disorder affects seniors differently than it affects younger individuals. So, it’s important for older adults to get treatment from a program that takes their individual and unique needs into account. 

At Sana Lake, our goal is to assist our members in finding support and guidance that will address their physical and emotional needs throughout recovery. So, whether your aging loved one needs detoxification services, residential treatment, outpatient treatment, or an intensive outpatient program, we can help! 

To learn more about our services or how we can assist you and your family, just contact us today. Our trained and knowledgeable staff is here and ready to help bring hope and healing to the situation your loved one is facing. Now is the time to bring a positive change to your family member’s life. We are dedicated to helping throughout this process!

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5439499/

https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/cbhsq-reports/NSDUHNationalFindingsReport2018/NSDUHNationalFindingsReport2018.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4146436/

https://www.aafp.org/afp/2004/0515/p2375.html#afp20040515p2375-b4

https://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/0315/p1710.html

https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/harmful-interactions-mixing-alcohol-with-medicines

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5439499/

alcohol and obesity

Craving Alcohol: The Link Between Alcohol Use Disorder and Obesity

Alcohol use disorder and obesity can both be linked to cravings. Craving alcohol can lead to continuous drinking, and it can also lead to obesity in yourself or loved ones. Eating high-calorie foods and drinking are both linked to reward centers in your brain, and people like feeling good, so they’ll usually indulge these cravings. However, suffering from both alcohol use disorder and obesity can greatly harm your body and well being.

Alcohol use disorder and obesity are linked, and we’ll break the connections and how you can be free of both conditions at Sana Lake Recovery Center.

What is Alcohol Use Disorder?

Alcohol use disorder occurs when you can no longer control your drinking and experience withdrawal symptoms when not drinking. About 15 million people in the U.S. have alcohol use disorder, and alcohol is one of the most misused substances out there. This is due to the fact that it’s cheap and widely available in bars, restaurants, and supermarkets.

Craving alcohol can lead to alcohol use disorder. Binge drinking often can also lead to this, and unfortunately, this practice is common in the U.S., especially among young people. Binge drinking is defined as five or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women in two hours.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder

Signs and symptoms of alcohol use disorder include:

  • Continuing to drink even though it impairs your relationships and interferes with work
  • Experiencing frequent memory loss or blackouts
  • Making excuses to drink to feel normal
  • Drinking alone
  • Isolating yourself from family and friends
  • Feeling irritable

Craving alcohol, while initially harmless, could also be a warning sign for alcohol use disorder. 

If alcoholics don’t have a drink for a few days, they go through withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms of alcohol use disorder include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Delirium tremens (DTs), which involves shaking, fever, hallucinations, and high blood pressure

Delirium tremens is rare, but it can happen in serious alcoholics.

Risk Factors for Alcohol Use Disorder

There are a few factors that may make you predisposed to developing alcoholism.

  • Family history of alcoholism
  • Having a mental disorder such as depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder
  • Having low self-esteem
  • Experiencing peer pressure as a young adult

Why Do We Crave Alcohol?

We often crave alcohol when we are stressed and when we’re feeling strong emotions. Alcohol releases endorphins, which make us happy and give us feelings of pleasure. Low blood sugar can be another cause of alcohol cravings, and in other situations, alcohol cravings occur after not eating for a long time. On the whole, people mostly crave alcohol because it makes them feel good. 

The more alcohol you drink, the happier you feel. This leads you to feel intoxicated, and it also dulls your senses.

Alcohol is common and parties and weddings because they are times of celebration and joy. Drinking is also common after the death of a loved one or after a long week of hard work. Some people are able to drink in moderation even when craving alcohol, and some others who crave alcohol end up binge drinking. If you can seem to control your drinking after having one or two beverages, you may be dealing with a form of alcoholism.

How Craving Alcohol Can Lead to Alcoholism

It’s common to crave alcohol after a long, hard day at work or after a stressful day. Alcohol dulls our senses and releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that produces feelings of happiness and satisfaction. However, these feelings are temporary, as alcohol is ultimately a depressant. The more you give in to alcohol cravings, the more toll they can have on your physical health.

Giving in to alcohol cravings can also lead to tolerance, which requires you to drink more and more to achieve the same feeling. Drinking more can then make you dependent on alcohol, leading you to develop alcohol use disorder.

How to Cope with Craving Alcohol

There are going to be times when you have a craving for alcohol. The good thing about cravings, though, is that they are temporary. If you learn how to ride these out, you can control them and keep on living a life of sobriety.

  • Recognize your triggers: There are two types of triggers: external and internal. External triggers are people, places, and things that may remind you of drinking, while internal triggers are emotions and thoughts that may set off alcohol cravings.
  • Avoid risky situations: Don’t keep alcohol in your house. This will keep you from drinking whenever you feel an urge to. You should steer clear of activities with friends that involve drinking. Once your cravings subside, you can begin to hang out with your friends again and suggest alternate party activities.
  • Deal with unavoidable triggers: There are some triggers that you have no control over. Here’s how you can cope with them:
    • Do a short-term activity. Call or text someone, listen to music, go to the gym, or meditate to clear your head.
    • Talk it out with someone you trust. Talk to your sponsor or a trusted friend who you can call on the phone.
    • Ride out the trigger. Accept the feeling you get from the trigger as normal and temporary instead of trying to fight it. The feeling will go away eventually.

What is Obesity?

Obesity is the state in which someone has so much body fat that their health is in danger. People who are obese have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30. Being overweight is not the same as being obese. If you are overweight, you’ll usually have a BMI between 25 and 30.

With the rise of fast-food restaurants and processed foods, obesity has rapidly increased over the years. From 2011 to 2014, more than one-third of adults aged 20 and older were obese. 

Dangers of Obesity

Obesity can cause you to develop many harmful health conditions.

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Sleep apnea
  • Certain cancers, including liver, kidney, and esophageal

Causes of Obesity

A major cause of obesity is consuming more calories than you burn through exercise and regular physical activity. Other common causes include: 

  • Eating high-calorie foods often
  • Not exercising
  • Having certain medical conditions like hypothyroidism and polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Eating when you’re sad or depressed
  • Slow metabolism
  • Excessive drinking
  • Family history of obesity

Women who have gained weight during pregnancy may also be more susceptible to obesity. This weight can be difficult to lose after you’ve had the baby.

The Connections Between Alcohol Use Disorder and Obesity

We already know that having a family history of alcoholism can make you more likely to develop the same disease. Obesity rates are now higher than ever, and this has also been shown to be linked to alcoholism. If you abuse alcohol, you could cause a loved one to become obese without meaning to do so.

If someone sees a family member misusing alcohol, they may avoid drinking. However, rather than craving alcohol, they may turn to other substances to make them happy. In many cases, these are high-calorie foods, which taste good and are a cheaper, more accessible option for dealing with their problems. 

In some cases, alcoholics are almost malnourished since they depend more on drinking than eating. Alcoholic drinks, especially mixed ones with juices, usually have a lot of calories. For example, a pina colada packs about 650 calories, and a gin and tonic has up to 300 calories. Since alcoholic drinks don’t satisfy hunger, people will end up eating more on top of the drinks to feel full. As a result, they’re probably consuming much more calories than they should.

Finding Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder

Sadly, less than 10 percent of people with alcohol use disorder get treatment for it. Before finding treatment for alcoholism, you need to realize that you have a drinking problem. This may come after an intervention or a bad experience that you had with alcohol. Once you find the right treatment program, you can begin your journey to sobriety. 

Medical detox will be the first step for your alcohol use disorder treatment. Detox is crucial because it rids your body of alcohol and helps lessen your withdrawal symptoms. Licensed clinicians at Sana Lake Recovery Center monitor these symptoms and keep close watch over you as you recover. Once detox is complete after 30 days, you will begin the process of rebuilding your life without alcohol dependence. Although you may still be craving alcohol at this point, these cravings will be managed under our care.

Holistic treatment is effective in treating both alcohol use disorder and obesity. With holistic treatment, you can not only overcome substance use disorder, but you can also exercise, practice mindfulness and conquer your food cravings. Individual and group therapy can also help change the way you think about craving alcohol. 

Below are some examples of holistic treatment that we offer at Sana Lake.

  • Yoga: Yoga enhances your fitness and mental well being. This ancient Indian practice provides a well-rounded mix of breathing techniques, poses, and meditation. 
  • Guided meditation/mindfulness: Meditation is known to calm the mind and “rewire” the brain. It can relieve anxiety and put difficult emotions at ease.
  • Journaling: Writing down your thoughts and feelings can be therapeutic for people suffering from alcohol use disorder and obesity.

Besides practicing mindfulness, the best way to fight obesity is to eat right and exercise. 

Cure Your Alcohol Use Disorder at Sana Lake Recovery Center

Why wait to change your life for the better? Let the licensed medical staff at Sana Lake Recovery Center treat your alcohol cravings and get you back to your old self. We know how hard it is to take that first step, but once you do, you’ll know you made the right choice. Contact us today to learn more about our programs.

References:

https://www.livescience.com/10371-craving-alcohol-linked-obesity.html

https://www.healthline.com/health/alcoholism/basics#risk-factors

https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/tools/Interactive-worksheets-and-more/Stay-in-control/Coping-With-Urges-To-drink.aspx

alcohol myths

10 Common Alcohol Myths: Breaking the Myths About Alcoholism

There are many alcohol myths as alcohol is a substance that people often and commonly consume. It’s legal and fairly easy to access as restaurants and grocery stores all sell it. While most people tend to use alcohol without excess, some people have trouble limiting their alcohol intake. This is due to a disease called alcoholism or alcohol use disorder. It’s an uncontrollable dependence on alcohol that many people suffer from.

But, when it comes to alcohol use disorder, individuals are often unsure of what it means to suffer from it. This leads people to believe in myths about alcoholism. But, whether you think you or someone you know suffers from alcohol use disorder, it’s important to know the truth about alcoholism. It’s time to debunk the alcohol myths you may have heard.

Myth 1: “Alcohol dependence is a choice.”

It’s very unlikely that anyone who has a tolerance for alcohol or is dependent on it ever meant to be in that position. When an individual becomes dependent on alcohol, it means that his or her body struggles to function without alcohol. People who struggle with alcohol dependence are unable to control the amount of alcohol they consume. This is due to changes in the brain’s chemical composition.

Alcohol can negatively affect neurotransmitters within a person’s brain and body. This substance can also prevent the brain’s chemical symptoms from sending and receiving signals from each other. (This is what usually causes people to have slurred speech or impaired judgment when they drink.) 

When an individual drinks alcohol, he or she may eventually build a tolerance for the substance. This is not at all uncommon. But, what happens after that tolerance occurs is important as tolerance can lead to addiction. The simple explanation of tolerance is as follows:

A person has a tolerance for alcohol if he or she needs to drink more alcohol in order to achieve the same effect that a smaller amount of alcohol used to produce. In other words, to be tolerant of alcohol is similar to being used to its effects. So, individuals who build a tolerance for alcohol stop feeling the effects of it. In order to experience the desired effects again, they need to consume larger amounts of the substance.

It’s important to understand that many people don’t realize that tolerance is developing. So, eventually, tolerance may give way to dependence as people may begin to experience withdrawal symptoms when they’re not drinking. These symptoms can prevent people from feeling “normal”, as though they can’t function without alcohol. This means that they suffer from alcohol dependence or alcoholism.

Myth 2: “You can overcome alcoholism if you try hard enough.”

This is a fairly common yet harmful myth. Again, people who suffer from alcoholism do not choose to do so. While willpower and self-motivation are certainly important in recovery, individuals who struggle with substance dependence also need help from other sources. In the end, self-control and willpower are not exactly what will end or prevent substance dependence. 

As mentioned before, alcohol dependence is a matter of the brain; people who suffer from alcoholism have a physiological dependence on alcohol. So, simply choosing to stop drinking isn’t enough. Often, people who want to overcome substance abuse can only do so with the help of a professional treatment program. In these cases, individuals may need more than “willpower” to end substance dependence.

Myth 3: “People who suffer from alcohol use disorder have ‘hit rock bottom’.”

There’s a common misconception about the “appearance” of a person who struggles with alcohol use disorder. People tend to believe that it’s easy to identify alcoholism. It’s easy to assume that the only people who suffer from this issue are those who may have lost their jobs, homes, and money. But, alcohol use disorder doesn’t look the same for everyone who suffers from it. 

Some people continue to hold jobs throughout their struggle with alcohol use disorder. Some continue to take care of their families and homes despite their battle with addiction. So, it’s important to avoid only looking for “rock bottom” signs, such as home loss or unemployment. Instead, it’s best to seek signs such as:

  • Memory lapses
  • Loss of appetite
  • Inability to focus
  • Changes in weight
  • Excuses regarding alcohol use
  • Isolation and social withdrawal
  • Alcohol use to cope with stress
  • Inconsistent or irregular emotions
  • Defensiveness about drinking habits
  • Inability to stick to alcohol use limitations
  • Plans that seem to revolve around alcohol
  • Increased tolerance (i.e. ability to “handle more” than usual)
  • Withdrawal symptoms (headaches, appetite loss, anxiety, etc.)

If you’ve noticed any of these signs in your life, it may be time to seek help for alcohol use disorder. Also, if you have ever thought that you might have an alcohol dependency, it’s possible that you are dealing with addiction. 

Myth 4: “If I drink a little too much, I can just drink coffee and I’ll feel better in no time.”

People often shrug off the intoxicating effects of alcohol by saying that they can simply drink coffee or “sleep it off”. But, alcohol can remain in your system for hours. So, no matter what a person does in order to eliminate the effects of alcohol on their body, the impact of this substance will remain.

Myth 5: “The type of alcohol determines the severity of the addiction.”

Often, individuals think that drinking beer (as opposed to hard liquor) is not likely to lead to alcohol dependence. Some may even feel that it’s not harmful to drink wine excessively. But, there are many people who currently suffer from the effects of alcoholism after developing a dependence on wine. Alcohol in any type of beverage can be addictive.

Also, many people assume that alcoholism isn’t as “serious” as, say, heroin dependence. Or, perhaps dependency on legal substances such as prescription drugs isn’t as “severe” as dependency on cocaine. But, this ideology is both untrue and harmful. It can lead people to misuse “less harmful” substances and, eventually, develop substance dependencies. It might also lead people to minimize the effects of risky alcohol use or prescription misuse. 

When it comes to addiction, it’s important to avoid using a “level” system. Alcohol use disorders are serious, regardless of the type of substance people may use. So, whether a person is suffering from risky alcohol use, prescription drug misuse, or cocaine dependence, seeking help is absolutely necessary.

Myth 6: “Once a person develops substance dependency, he or she will always struggle with it.”

While it’s certainly true that recovery is a lifelong process, individuals who overcome addiction do not have to live with the fear of relapse forever. Those who suffer from a substance use disorder may need to be intentional about avoiding triggers and any other situations that could encourage relapse. However, the idea that a person will continuously suffer from alcohol misuse even after treatment simply isn’t true.

Myth 7: “Addiction only affects people of certain age groups.”

Many people believe that older individuals can’t develop substance use disorders. They may also believe that substance dependence doesn’t really affect young users. But, this isn’t true. Addiction can impact the lives of people of all ages, including seniors and young adults

When it comes to substance dependence, it is important to understand that this disorder can affect anyone who drinks in any capacity. So, having the mentality that addiction won’t become a reality in your life is dangerous. 

Myth 8: “I can still drink alcohol to help me sleep or relieve stress.”

In many cases, people develop alcohol dependence as a result of self-medication. In other words, people who turn to alcohol use in order to cope with issues such as insomnia, stress, or depression. 

When an individual goes through treatment for alcohol misuse, it’s highly probable, even inevitable, that stress and sleep disturbances will continue to occur. People who are in recovery may be tempted to use alcohol in order to deal with these issues. After all, they may believe that this method of self-medication worked before. They may feel as though they can still drink alcohol for these purposes as long as they “limit consumption”.

But, those who are in recovery from alcohol use disorder may struggle to place or stand by a limit on the amount of alcohol they consume. The brain and body may respond to alcohol in a negative way, desiring more and more of the substance and leading to physical relapse.

Myth 9: “Alcohol use disorder only affects the individuals who suffer from it.”

This is one alcohol myth that is completely untrue. Many people think addiction only impacts the lives of those who struggle with it. Substance dependence has a way of causing behavioral changes to occur in the lives of those who suffer from this disease. These changes can cause people to act differently toward their family members and friends. Behavioral changes may also prevent people from being able to connect with their loved ones. 

Sometimes, addiction can cause people to become irritable, angry, and even violent. Their family members and friends may suffer because of these occurrences. Previously healthy relationships may begin to fall apart. Spouses may drift away from the partners who struggle with substance dependence. Children may not feel comfortable around their struggling parents. Addiction can cause separation to occur within even the closest family units.

It can be beyond difficult to see someone you love suffer from the effects of alcohol dependence. So, if your family is currently struggling with a family member’s addiction, it’s important to seek support and guidance. While counseling and treatment will certainly be helpful for your loved one, your family can also benefit from these things. Family therapy is one of the best ways for families to find healing as individuals recover from substance dependence.

Myth 10: “I can just quit alcohol misuse without getting help.”

The “cold-turkey” approach is no stranger in the world of substance dependence recovery. It’s quite common for people to try to quit using alcohol abruptly without getting help from professionals. This is often thought of as the cheapest way to overcome substance dependence. However, this is often the least safe way to end alcohol use.

It’s important for people to seek professional help in order to overcome alcoholism. There are several reasons for this, including the following:

  • Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be intense and, in some cases, harmful. So, people who want to end alcohol use may not be able to do it “cold turkey”. Instead, professional detox and treatment programs may be necessary in order to help with the process.
  • Support will be absolutely necessary throughout the recovery process. Individuals can get the support and guidance they need through a treatment program.
  • It’s likely that those who have a substance use disorder have specific underlying causes. These underlying reasons for addiction will only remain in place if a person chooses to end substance use without professional guidance. So, it’s important to identify and address these underlying causes in order to help individuals to remain free from alcohol use disorder.
  • Some people may have dual diagnoses (mental health disorders and substance dependence). Co-occurring disorders exist, it’s possible that the disorders affect each other. For example, a person may use alcohol to self-medicate the symptoms of major depressive disorder. In this case, his or her depression will still remain, even if alcohol isn’t in the mix anymore. This could lead the individual to relapse or use another substance in order to cope with depression. Professional treatment can help to address dual diagnosis cases.

Needless to say, professional treatment may be best for those who want to end alcoholism in their lives.

Defying the Myths of Alcoholism: Overcome Alcohol Use Disorder Today

Maybe you have heard many of these alcohol myths before. Perhaps, some of them have prevented you from seeking help for alcohol dependence. If so, know that you are not alone; many others have struggled to get past these thinking processes and determine the best course of action for their recovery. But, help is available for everyone who needs it. So, if you’re unsure about how to end substance misuse in your life or you’re simply not sure whether or not you need help, we’re here for you.

At Sana Lake Recovery Center, we understand the many challenges people face when dealing with substance dependence. Alcohol use disorder is serious and can cause major issues in the lives of those who suffer from it. So, if you have been dealing with the effects of alcoholism, now is the time to reach out for help. 

Contact us here at Sana Lake to speak with professionals who can both understand your struggle and work to provide solutions. Take a step toward a healthier, addiction-free future today!

References:

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000856.htm

https://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/specialfeatures/alcoholmyths.aspx

alcoholism

What Are the Stages of Alcoholism?

The prevalence of drinking alcohol in the United States and around the world is unprecedented. In fact, approximately two billion people around the world drink alcohol. All human behavior has a motivation behind it, and the reasons why people drink alcohol are all unique. 

Whatever your reasoning behind drinking alcohol is, we must understand that there are a fine line and difference between casual drinking and abusive drinking. It usually starts with people drinking casually, but then they realize that this habit has turned into an obsession/addiction and that they can’t drink in moderation anymore. 

Alcohol dependency turns into an addiction. Without help, this choice that has turned into a life-changing consequence will become worse and could result in death due to overdose. If someone does not go to treatment and receive the professional help that they need to manage their addiction properly. 

The addiction specialists at Sana Lake Recovery Center want to help individuals recognize the signs and risk factors that lead to alcohol abuse. Therefore, here is our guide to recognizing the stages of alcoholism, which in turn, will help lead you or your loved one to a life of sobriety. 

Recognizing the Signs of Addiction: What Are The Stages of Alcoholism?

What is Alcoholism? 

In the United States, alcoholism is the third leading cause of death, killing 88,000 people every year. 62,000 men and 26,000 were women. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reported that 17 million American adults develop an alcohol use disorder (AUD), resulting in the death of 1 in 20 people. 

An alarming statistic from The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that people who experiment with drinking alcohol before they are 15 years old are five times more likely to develop an addiction to alcohol and become an alcoholic, than those who don’t start drinking until the legal age of 21. 

Alcoholism is more than just drinking an excessive amount. The Mayo Clinic defines it as the inability to control the amount one drinks, due to having an emotional and physical dependence on alcohol. 

In other words, a person who becomes an alcoholic cannot control their craving or urges to drink. Thus, this preoccupation causes them to drink uncontrollably, otherwise known as binge drinking, despite the consequences it causes with work, school, various relationships, financially, and most importantly, with one’s health. 

Alcoholism is a chronic disease that does not discriminate. Remember, people who suffer from substance abuse made a choice that resulted in a consequence; they did not choose or realize that they were going to become addicted. Some individuals are more susceptible and more at risk of developing this disease more than others. It depends on various factors including, genetics/family history, how much one drinks, environment, mental health, etc.   

Why Do People Choose to Drink?

The truth is, there are various reasons why we drink, but most commonly, alcohol is a beverage that is so widely accepted in our society, where everyone has a different experience experimenting with it. The most common reasons why people choose to consume alcohol include: 

Accessibility 

Probably the top reason why people drink alcohol is that it is so easily accessible. While the drinking age is 21 in the United States, and around 18 in most countries, including Europe, drinking is a choice people make because it is so easy to, and simply, because they can. 

Fun

Drinking alcohol is a very social activity. Being with friends in a carefree environment and drinking makes them feel happy due to the release of endorphins. People simply drink just to have fun and “let loose” because they think it enhances their experience, especially for those who are usually more introverted. Alcohol usually helps people come out of their shells. 

Preference

People also drink alcohol just because it is their preference, and they enjoy the taste. Enjoying an alcoholic beverage over other types of drinks is just what some people choose to do. 

Curiosity 

Especially with the younger generations, kids, teenagers, and college students will start experimenting with drinking alcohol as some probably have never drunk before. Therefore, they are curious and start to drink to know what it tastes like, or wonder what it feels like to be drunk. It is purely an experimental phase, which can also lead to other dangerous things if not careful. 

Stress and Lower Inhibitions

Being under the influence of alcohol tends to make someone lose their inhibitions, meaning that it gives a person a sense of feeling carefree and that nothing can get in their way. It also allows them to behave in ways that they wouldn’t if they were sober. 

For many people drinking alcohol is a major stress reliever. It helps people unwind and de-stress, or so they think. Drinking appears to help numb one’s pain, allowing them to forget about all the stressors going on in their lives.

However, what is ironic is that drinking when you are stressed often creates more complications, and they can develop a drinking problem, which is what often happens. 

The Stages of Alcoholism

Professional help at a treatment facility is a person’s best chance at recovery and a sober lifestyle. Recognizing the signs of becoming an alcoholic is crucial to you or a loved one realizing that they need addiction treatment. 

Alcoholism is a progressive disease that occurs in stages. Therefore, knowing the signs and symptoms of each stage of alcoholism can also save lives, and possibly help someone avoid the consequences of dependency and addiction before they occur.

It is important to note that everyone’s case of alcohol addiction is different and unique. While drinking does affect people in similar ways in terms of getting drunk, how people act while under the influence is not the same. An alcohol use disorder (AUD), typically occurs in five stages. These stages of alcoholism are as follows: 

Stage 1: Early-Stage Alcoholism: Experimentation and Occasional Binge Drinking 

The first and beginning stage of alcoholism is called early-stage alcoholism. During this stage, a person begins to experiment with drinking alcohol, a common occurrence with young adults. Since most people who engage in this stage are just beginning to enjoy drinking, they tend to drink an excessive amount, or what is called binge drinking.

For women that are four or more beverages in two hours, and for men, it is five or more drinks within two hours. This amount is often exceeded. Consuming this large amount of alcohol in such a short period is extremely dangerous, and can lead to serious health complications, coma, or worse, death. 

Stage 2: Middle-Stage Alcoholism: Increased drinking 

In the second stage, also known as Middle-Stage Alcoholism, people have already left this element of experimentation, which occurs in the first stage. Drinking starts to increase and escalate. As a result of increasing the amount of being drunk, people quickly develop increased tolerance and dependence on alcohol. 

Since the body becomes used to large amounts of alcohol becoming consumed in such a short amount of time (binge drinking), the body becomes used to it (tolerance), which results in dependence. Since a person at this stage can no longer control their drinking and do so in moderation, they are now at major risk of developing alcoholism.

Stages 3 and 4: End-Stage Alcoholism: Problem Drinking

Stage three is when a person is considered a “problem-drinker.” This means that they have been abusing alcohol uncontrollably, and finally start to experience the physical and social consequences of their actions. In this stage, the problem-drinker can become depressed, anxious, and develop insomnia, and start losing sleep. Relationship issues and decreased social activity usually also will occur because of their preoccupation with alcohol. 

Stage 4: Dependence 

Alcoholism has two main components, dependency and addiction. While they are two different things, they are related to one another. When someone reaches the last stage in the alcoholism cycle, they are attached to alcohol, and it has taken control over various aspects of one’s life. 

While you may be aware of the adverse side-effects and symptoms of drinking excessively causes, it is too late, because all control over how much one drinks is lost. 

As a result of drinking heavily, the body becomes dependent or used to how much of a substance has entered the bloodstream. In other words, because the body has now become tolerant of alcohol, you may have to drink larger amounts of it to feel buzzed or drunk. 

Drinking excessively causes damaging effects to the body, one being symptoms of withdrawal. Each time you sober up, the body is not only hungover but is confused when no alcohol is being consumed, because again, the body is used to it. Therefore, the body reacts by producing undesirable symptoms such as nausea, tremors, sweating, irritability, insomnia, diarrhea, etc. 

Stage 5: Addiction

The last and final stage of alcoholism is addiction. In this stage, a person is officially defined as an alcoholic, as they have become addicted to alcohol, characterized by the need to physically and psychologically drink. The only way to recover from alcoholism and addiction and become sober again is to attend treatment at a specialized treatment center, such as Sana Lake Recovery Center in Dittmer, Missouri. 

Dual Diagnosis: Mental Illness and Alcoholism

A common risk factor of addiction is mental illness. People with any sort of mental illness such as anxiety or depression often turn to substances such as alcohol to cope with their symptoms. 

Alcohol abuse and mental illnesses that occur simultaneously are known as dual diagnosis or a co-occurring disorder. Those who are alcoholics also may have an underlying mental illness, but, because they are oftentimes so hard to detect and diagnose, the addiction and the underlying mental illness is left untreated, resulting in major complications, and even death due to relapse and overdose. 

At Sana Lake Recovery Center, we believe that mental illness is the foundation of one’s health. Therefore, during the intake and detox processes, we make sure to fully understand all of your medical histories, and make a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to each person’s needs.

Everyone is different, so treatments will vary. Both mental illness and alcoholism will be treated to ensure an optimal chance of recovery and sobriety. 

Recovery From Alcoholism is Possible At Sana Lake Recovery Center

At Sana Lake Recovery Center, we educate our members on the stages of alcoholism to help them cope with their disease. People must recognize the signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse to identify the problem and receive the necessary help that they need. 

To learn more about the stages of alcoholism, and how you or a loved one can receive the help needed to reach long-term sobriety, contact us today!

References

https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/alcohol-facts-and-statistics

https://www.healthline.com/health/stages-alcoholism#addiction

https://www.alcohol.org/alcoholism-types/stages/

alcoholism

Is a Loved One Struggling with Alcoholism? Five Reasons They Should Consider Treatment

When faced with confronting our loved ones with their alcoholism, many more times than not it is a lot harder than we anticipate. They may deny their addiction has even happened or refuse to accept help from anyone because they believe they can conquer it alone. No matter how strong their fight is against getting help and receiving treatment, your main reason to continue on until they agree should be to help them live a longer, happier life. Not only will they be grateful you stepped in to help them realize the potential of gaining their sobriety back, but you will help save their life and be able to have them around a lot longer to celebrate.  

Why Addiction Happens

Life can sometimes get us down. The weight of stress and anxiety from day to day can become overwhelming, and with this comes the risk of turning to substances like alcohol in order to escape from the everyday struggles we all face. Not everyone will turn to 

Drinking once in a blue moon to numb the pain of a certain situation going wrong in life is not something that should be worried about. Everyone should be allowed to have a drink or two after a breakup, loss of a job, being stressed out, etc. to relax and relieve some anxiety. The problem of alcoholism occurs when someone decides to drink every once in a while isn’t enough, and they begin to use alcohol to cope with everyday life.

Signs of Alcohol Addiction

No matter what kind of alcohol is being consumed, various signs will hallmark an addiction. For example, consider the following:

Seclusion from Others: People struggling with alcoholism may want to be alone the majority of the time and hide in their homes instead of agreeing to outside plans. In addition, they also lose interest in hobbies they previously enjoyed.

Possible Depression or Anxiety: In some cases, addiction can bring about a co-existing mental health condition. For example, some people suffer from accompanying depression and anxiety when they face alcoholism.

Physical Changes: Physical changes are common and can include many things. Some people may not be interested in bathing, brushing their hair, or handling other self-care tasks. Other signs may include red eyes and dark circles from lack of sleep, as well.

Extreme Mood Swings: Someone addicted to alcohol will oftentimes act completely normal when under the influence. As the amount of consumed alcohol goes up or once the individual experiences the “coming down” from a drunk, their mood will change. They can become angry or extremely sad one minute and experience a completely different mood the next.

The First Step to Helping Someone With an Addiction

Family and friends who have been faced with alcoholism will oftentimes refuse help or hide from their addiction. In order for them to know that they will not have to go through the process of recovery alone, it is important to stage an intervention. An intervention is when loved ones who care about the affected individual’s well-being schedule a gathering where they show their support and worries about the individual’s addiction. The people in attendance will share personal stories about their experience with the person’s addiction and how it has affected their relationship. 

The goal of the intervention should be to express concerns in a helpful way and to give the addict their options. They will hopefully decide to receive treatment instead of continuing to travel down the path they’re on. Our specialists here at Sana Lake Recovery Center are able to provide more information on intervention preparation and shed light on what professional help for the individual will look like once at our treatment center.

Five Reasons to Encourage Getting Treatment

Because addiction treatment has such a negative connotation, it is important to come up with a variety of reasons to show the person you know struggling with alcoholism of what they could achieve by going to a rehabilitation center. There are many reasons to include, but we believe five of the main reasons are:

  • Gaining Financial Stability. Although treatment costs are high, spending a large amount on an addict’s future health versus being a prisoner to substance abuse is a worthwhile investment. After the treatment is finished and sobriety is achieved, it will be a lot easier for the affected individual to go back to work and financially support themselves than when they were addicted to alcohol.

 

  • Repairing Relationships. When going through addiction, many individuals lose sight of what is important. They place their substance over everything, including their relationship with their loved ones. By beating their addiction, they will be able to focus on rebuilding their relationships they once lost.

 

  • Building a Support System. Addicts oftentimes believe they are facing their struggles and worries alone, which is why they turn to alcohol in the first place. By participating in group therapy and family therapy programs at Sana Lake, they will be able to turn to others instead of turning to a substance for support.

 

  • Developing Passions. Alcohol becomes the only thing someone cares about during his or her addiction. Once sobriety has been achieved, they are able to see the many other options for happiness that life has to offer. 

 

  • Saving Their Life. If alcoholic individuals carry down the same path for too long, their bodies and minds will eventually start to give out to their addictions. By attending our programs at Sana Lake, they will have a better chance of living a longer, healthier life than they would have when facing their addiction by themselves.

 

Alcoholism Treatment Services Provided at Sana Lake Recovery

Medically Monitored Inpatient Detoxification: Detoxification refers to the process of weaning an individual’s body off the substance they were abusing. It’s been proven the safest to slowly clear the body of the unwanted substance as opposed to going cold turkey 

Adult Substance Use Disorder Residential and Outpatient Psychosocial Services: Inpatient services are provided around the clock at treatment facilities for those who require more care for their addiction. Outpatient treatments allow patients to maintain somewhat of a normal lifestyle, so they can continue to go to school or work to provide for their families.

Naturopathic and Holistic Treatment: Both of these treatments require a desire to not only help one’s body but also one’s mind and spirit. Naturopathic treatments focus on using natural remedies to cure the body like acupuncture and massaging to relieve excess stress. Holistic treatments are centered on finding the “bigger picture,” and they encourage patients to believe in something larger than this life has to offer. 

Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment (Individual and Group Therapy): When someone is diagnosed with a substance disorder, it is often accompanied by a mental disorder. This treatment is to help someone struggling with multiple disorders and focuses on how to treat both at the same time.

Trauma Therapy (Individual and Group Therapy, including EMDR): Individual and group trauma treatment focuses on pinpointing the time in a person’s life that inflicted so much mental or even physical pain on them that it caused them to want to turn to a substance to help cope with the memory. Included in this are the EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy that uses an individual’s eye movements to decrease the power of emotionally charged memories.

Medication-Assisted Treatment: This is the common term for prescribing patients medication in order to cope with certain disorders, whether it is substance abuse or a mental disorder.

Family Programming: These programs aim to help all individuals affected by substance abuse, not just the patient. They encourage family members to attend these sessions to help them understand why their loved one has developed an addiction.

Wellness Programming: These programs intend to show former addicts how to live a healthy lifestyle. Patients are taught how to eat healthily, exercise and even develop their spirituality. All of these encourage them to find another, healthier outlet to avoid the substance they abused for so long.

Clinical Staff

Our Sana Lake staff works around the clock to ensure that patients are receiving the full amount of assistance they need to overcome their disorder. Our psychiatrists and clinicians assess the severity of the condition a patient is in. They then work to create a plan that best suits what the patient requires, whether it is inpatient or outpatient services. Once admitted into the program, our medical professionals begin the detoxification process that will ultimately lead the patient to other treatment programs. 

Our nursing staff is trained to manage all medications prescribed to patients while in the facility. We have EMDR trained therapists that use eye movement techniques to reduce the severity of emotionally charged memories. Also present at the facility are individual and family therapists that focus directly on the patient and their families in order to help all parties involved understand why the disorder occurred. All of these professionals strive to meet the needs and goals of each patient that is admitted into our facility here at Sana Lake.

About Sana Lake Recovery Center

Our Dittmer team strives to service and educate individuals needing assistance with helping their loved ones receive the treatment they need. We are able to help not only the Missouri community but also individuals across the nation. If you believe you or a loved one needs more information on alcohol abuse recovery, please contact us today at 855-745-3336.