April is Alcohol Awareness Month. Why do we need to set aside a whole month? Because without awareness of the toll that alcoholism takes on our population, we cannot create meaningful change, break the stigma, and get the people the care and support they need.
Alcohol is the most commonly abused addictive substance in the United States. It is estimated that:
- One in twelve adults struggles with alcohol addiction
- More than three-quarters of young people under age 20 have experimented with alcohol
- There are 95,000 alcohol-related deaths per year
As a legal, recreational substance, alcohol’s role in our society has two aspects. While alcohol is present at holidays, family dinner tables, fundraisers, awards events, college graduations, weddings, and many other celebrations, there is a dark side to the story of alcohol. Abuse, dependence, and addiction have serious consequences.
Serenity Light Recovery is devoted to helping people triumph over their addictions. If you want to honor Alcohol Awareness Month by taking the first step on the road to recovery, reach out now via our online form or by calling 855.658.6109.
Alcohol Abuse and Addiction
Today, nearly 20 million people are addicted to alcohol in our country. Their lives and those of everyone who cares about them are altered because this disease has them in its grip.
Alcohol consumption falls into categories: abstinence, occasional use, regular use, and abuse. Alcohol abuse and addiction are on a continuum on which also exist the stages of tolerance and dependence.
What makes one person’s regular use become another’s addiction? There are a number of factors, both physical and psychological. Here are some basic facts about alcohol use:
- Drinking alcohol stimulates the production of endorphins and dopamine in the brain, resulting in feelings of pleasure. Those feelings are what bring people back to alcohol again and again, potentially leading to abuse. Some get addicted, but not all.
- Genetics affects how an individual’s brain reacts to alcohol. This is why alcoholism often runs in families and why some people can drink heavily at a certain stage of life and never become addicted, while others do.
- Alcohol use physically alters the brain’s chemistry and the way it functions. The reward and pleasure centers become overwhelmed, leading the individual to crave more alcohol to experience the effects again, putting them at increased risk of dependence and addiction.
- Alcohol affects people’s ability to make decisions and control impulses, making alcohol relapse among those in recovery a serious risk.
When someone drinks regularly, they may become accustomed to the drink’s effects by developing a tolerance. That means they need to consume more alcohol to feel a sense of relaxation, social lubrication, loss of anxiety, or whatever “high” they are seeking. At this stage, the drinker is abusing alcohol, not just using it.
Abuse vs. Dependence
The next step in alcohol abuse is physical dependence, which means an individual will feel physically “off” when alcohol leaves the body. They crave the “hair of the dog”—and begin consuming alcohol again to feel okay. When someone is addicted to alcohol, as with other mind-altering substances, they have overwhelming cravings, and withholding drink causes terrible withdrawal symptoms as the body detoxifies.
Treatment at Serenity Light Recovery
Serenity Light Recovery offers a warm light to guide you and strong support to help you walk the path. It is important to receive professional treatment from compassionate, highly trained staff, including medical practitioners who can oversee your entire rehabilitation.
Rehab begins with medically supervised detox. Our medical staff will ensure that your withdrawal symptoms are safely mitigated, with medication if necessary, and will monitor you to keep you safe.
Our team will guide you through an individualized, evidence-based program to take you from dependence to independence after detox. You can do a residential program or an intensive outpatient program. Your treatment may include:
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR)
- Equine therapy
- Trauma-informed care
Addiction treatment in a safe setting, without judgment, surrounded by people who both care and possess professional expertise, is comforting, productive, and empowering. We look forward to offering you the hope and help you need.