Alcohol Addiction Rehab at Vogue Recovery Center 

  • What are the signs of alcohol addiction?
  • What does alcohol addiction do to your health and well-being?
  • Who does alcohol addiction impact?
  • How does someone get help for alcohol addiction?
  • What are the origins of alcohol?

What are the signs of alcohol addiction? Many people wonder am I just a heavy drinker or an alcoholic? There is a definite distinction between dependent and non-dependent drinkers. However, it is not uncommon for someone to begin as a non-dependent drinker and develop into a dependent one. There are several worldwide organizations which classify alcohol abuse, alcoholism, and alcohol use. The standard clinical manual that diagnosis disease and disorders, is entitled the “DSM” (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). Within the DSM, there is no classification of alcoholism, but rather it refers to excessive dependent drinking as Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), in three distinct levels of severities-mild, moderate and severe. The clinical diagnosis of AUD must meet certain criteria observed by a physician.  Within the current version of the DSM (edition 5), those who have 2 items of the 11 total criteria during a 12-month period most likely will receive a diagnosis of AUD. Apart from a doctor’s diagnosis of AUD, there are warning signs of behavior changes that go along with alcohol abuse. Here’s a list of what you might look out for:

  1.  Blaise feelings towards prior interest in activities
  2.  Looking and acting drunk on a more regular basis
  3.  Drinking more amounts and more often to try and obtain the same effects
  4. Appearing fatigued
  5. Feelings of depression or anxiety
  6. Becoming secretive
  7. Lying, even about seemingly insignificant things
  8. Missing important functions
  9. Avoidance of family or friends
  10. Isolating
  11. Becoming angry or violent
  12. Financial troubles increase
  13. Relationships are challenged
  14. Engaging in risk-taking activities
  15. Engaging in illegal activities
  16. Never feeling “good enough”
  17. Feeling unlovable

If you are displaying some of the above behavioral changes but are still undecided between being a non-dependent and dependent drinker, there is a simple determining self-experiment. Try not drinking for 2-3 weeks and see how many times your thoughts are returning to using alcohol. If these thoughts become obsessive, it is likely that you are a dependent drinker. There is also a determining factor of regular use and abuse by quantitative drinking.  National organizations SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) and NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Use and Alcoholism) definition defining a dependent drinker is 5 or more days in a month of severe alcohol bingeing (excessive use of alcohol in a relatively short period of time) or drinking more than 3-7 alcoholic beverages on a single day and over 7-14 drinks per week. The NIH (National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) differentiates moderate alcohol consumption from alcoholism as: moderate drinking equals up to 1 drink a day for women and 2 drinks for men, and is not a warning sign of alcoholism according to the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans- which is a co-authorship of the HHS (US Department of Health Services) and the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). The NIH also states that alcoholism may be classified per gender under quantities, such as:

  • For Women – 3 or more drinks in a day, or 7 or more drinks in a week
  • For Men – 4 or more drinks in a day, or 14 or more drinks in a week.

How to self-determine between non-dependency and dependency. If you are curious about whether you may be a dependent drinker, you can take either the Michigan Alcohol Screening Test (MAST) which has a high accuracy level or the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) which is also widely used.  These short tests can be found online. What does alcohol addiction do to your health and well-being? Alcohol is known as the world’s most commonly abused substance and has had life destroying consequences. From legal and employment trouble to health and relationship decay – alcohol abuse can replace our life’s priorities and halt personal progress. The relationship that can be developed with moderate alcohol use can often turn into dependence: people don’t drink because they want to, they drink because they have to. Without alcohol people may experience sickness and physical withdrawal, which can be life threatening. Most who have grown dependent on alcohol are unable to stop drinking without medical assistance. On an average, drinkers typically use for an hour or more, and sometimes it may go on for several hours or all day, depending on factors that include a depressive episode (such as death of another or losing a job), a celebration (such as a party or a wedding) or a social gathering (a sports event, a reunion of friends, etc.). The bio-chemical breakdown of alcohol in our systems vary from size and gender but can be approximately determined. For instance, if someone has one large glass of wine- it will take their body from 2-3 hours for complete substance removal. Alcohol requires very little digestion as it travels through our digestive systems. Once it is consumed, approximately twenty percent is dumped directly into blood vessels which carry it to the brain. Alcohol travels through the bloodstream after it is absorbed in the small intestines. Sometimes it enters the bloodstream in a slower manner due to the consummation of food. This means that eating a meal prior to drinking, it will take longer for someone to become intoxicated. The liver plays an important role with the metabolization of alcohol. Most alcohol is metabolized in the liver by an enzyme called Alcohol Dehydrogenase or “ADH.” ADH breaks down the chemicals in alcohol into what’s known as acetaldehyde, and an enzyme closely related to ADH, Aldehyde Dehydrogenase or “ALDH”- which transforms it into acetate. Acetate goes through a final metabolization process and it converts into carbon dioxide and water which subsequently leaves the body by elimination. On average, a healthy liver can process approximately 1 ounce of alcohol in a 60- minute period. It will take a healthy liver approximately 16 hours to convert the sugars and chemicals from a 16-ounce alcoholic beverage into carbon dioxide and water. This formula will vary when someone drinks alcohol faster than their liver can metabolize it. Metabolization of alcohol in the liver is just part of the rate formula when the substance is eliminated from a person. Other factors include:

  • Ethnicity
  • Existing medications being taken
  • Body fat percentage
  • How fast alcohol is consumed
  • How much food is eaten before or during drinking

Who does alcohol addiction impact? Alcohol knows no biases of gender, race, age, or social status. Not only is a health risk, but general well-being is greatly affected. Happiness can be short- lasting and depression can set in. Friends, jobs, and emotional stability may be lost directly due to alcohol abuse. Isolation, loneliness, feelings of despair and inability to cope, often finds a home with the heavy drinker. Risks are taken when they normally wouldn’t have been, and people find themselves in situations that when they sober up cause them shame, guilt, and even legal troubles. Alcohol is an equal opportunity destroyer. Alcohol and statistics According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) 2014,  there are over 139 million people, age 12 and older currently using alcohol in the US.  Nearly 25% all under the classification of “binge” drinkers, and over 6% are heavy to severe drinkers. Within the classified 139 million drinkers, close to17 million have met the DSM-5 criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder. Additional data from SAMHSA’s report shows that men are more likely to have heavy alcohol use than women and that drinking related deaths effect 5,000 people a year under the legal drinking age of 21.  Over 50% of people drinking for the first time were under the age of 18. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the use of alcohol and alcohol related deaths for people in the U.S. is close to 90,000 per annum. This may sound bleak, but there is hope from this deadly disease. How does someone get help from alcohol addiction? Depending on the length of use, the amount of use and severity, treatment can come in several ways:

  • Hospital detoxification
  • Treatment Facilities, like Vogue Recovery Center
  • Support from home/friends
  • Intervention
  • Education of the disease
  • Individual Therapy
  • Alcoholics Anonymous, SMART Recovery and other sobriety groups
  • Spiritual organizations

I think I may be an alcoholic, what should I do? If alcohol abuse is suspected, don’t be silent. The first thing to do is talk to someone about your challenges.  They can assist you if you are looking for a support group or treatment center. Alcohol toxicity can create “foggy” thinking- it’s best to trust someone’s judgment who is sober and ask for help from them in navigating through the process. Often people need to have a team of others helping them in the initial stages of sobriety which is why treatment centers are so helpful. At Vogue Recovery, you can detox from alcohol in a safe and professional environment, engage in individual therapies and activities, and get personalized assistance on the road to recovery. Your stay will not be long but will be important if you are serious about getting help and off the alcoholic rollercoaster. We can help you take back your life with a positive renewed energy, an education about the disease and a team of experts waiting to hear from you. It takes just one phone call to get the help you need. The Origins of Alcohol What exactly is alcohol? Alcohol is defined as “a colorless liquid where the contents are made up of fermented sugars and have volatile properties.” An  alcoholic beverage  is “a drink that contains ethanol, a type of alcohol produced by fermentation of grains, fruits, or other sources of sugar.” Where did alcoholic beverages get their start? According to anthropologists, alcoholic beverages have been in existence for approximately 12,000 years as rice wine residue was discovered at an archaeological site on an ancient jar in China. Researchers have found structural evidence of 11,000 year-old brewing troughs in Turkey; a site that suggests a communal gathering place for social groups and ceremonies. It is speculated that beer has been cultivated in several areas of the world to provide a dietary staple, to be used as a commodity in trade, and for medicinal purposes. It has also been suggested by sociologists that alcoholic drinks played a significant role in social and spiritual gatherings in many cultures. As nomadic hunter-gatherer bands began to settle in civilized agrarian societies, the harvesting of grains centralized as the focus of agriculture was established. Cultivation of food and grains led to distillation, producing a high caloric alcoholic beverage, thus creating a dietary staple. The Fertile Crescent area (near the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf) saw an influence of plant and fruit-based alcoholic drinks. The earliest found winery dates to 4,100 BCE in a cave in Armenia while nearby Azerbaijan archaeologists have un-earthed several jars with the remnants of wine. In ancient Egypt, beer and wine became a center point of culture, not only for medicinal and social use, but for the ceremonies of birth, death and the afterlife. Cryptologists have discovered that through the excavations of tombs there were found at least 17 types of beers and 24 variations of fermented fruit drinks in Egyptian culture. Coincidentally at the same time across the world in the Americas, ancient Mayans were producing a fermented corn drink and mead-like substance from the bark of an indigenous tree. As ancient societies evolved, fermentation of fruits and the brewing of grains was a daily part of life around the globe. Imbibing of alcoholic beverages had transitioned from a dietary staple of ancient cultures, to a habitual social activity of the modern world. For hundreds of years, the cultivation of grains and fruits into the distillation of beer and wine was unchanged. Alcohol use in the modern world. In the late 1700’s the “cocktail” was born. Its inception was a mix of sugar, spirits, bitters and water and became popular among high society- making a splash at parties, dances, and bars with the more affluent drinkers throughout Europe and America. As industry in modernized countries was on the rise in the late 1800’s, the social climate towards alcohol shifted. A drunken work force that caused lateness, accidents, and deaths, as well as high infant mortality rates saw the inception of a temperance movement. Per some religious groups and conservatives, excessive drinking was no longer acceptable in everyday life. Alcohol had become seen as a societal problem as some drinkers were proving unable to stop their daily habit, which led to them being referred to as “drunkards.” Physicians in the early- mid 19th Century became increasingly concerned with the effects of excessive drinking.  In 1810, Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, outwardly desired the construction of a “Sober House” to be built for the care and treatment of the confirmed drunkard. Nine years later, German physician C.W. Hufeland observed the effects that alcohol played on certain individuals, and he determined it to be an ailment which he called, “dipsomania.” Swedish physician, Magnus Huss, created the term “alcoholism” in 1849 and described what he considered to be a legitimate disease: Alcoholismus chronicus. By the late 1800’s in parts of Europe and America, people seemed divided about alcohol consumption. Some even became violent as anti-alcohol movements were created. Famous prohibitionist Carry Nation was made famous as she assailed on bars and saloons with a hatchet across the United States. Prohibition started in 1920 and lasted until 1933 in the United States. At the same time throughout the world prohibition of alcohol consumption dropped and became legalized again. The use of alcohol regained popularity within society and by the mid 1930’s, the world was once again using alcohol in daily life. Call today: 1-888-504-6904.