Drinking alcohol has always has been a socially accepted behavior among friends and office co-workers. With alcohol consumption being such a large part of our culture, how can we distinguish the point at which social drinking becomes alcohol addiction? How can we tell when just one more is one too much?
If you feel concerned about your own or for someone else’s drinking habits, The Treatment Center of the Palm Beaches is here to help. Call us at (844)310-9546 today to speak to a counselor.
When Does Social Drinking Become Alcohol Addiction?
There is a clear distinction between social drinking and alcohol addiction, which is also more commonly called alcoholism. Some consider having a glass of wine with dinner can improves the dining experience. Drinking beer at the ballgame is treated as part of the American pastime. So, how can social drinking develop into an alcohol addiction? The key is loss of control. Read the information below to better understand the fine line between moderated occasional enjoyment and alcohol dependency.
Alcohol may be a legal substance for adults, but it also holds the title of being the most commonly abused substance among those who have entered treatment programs for addiction. According to a Recovery Brands survey in 2017, nearly 70% of the people surveyed reported that alcoholism was at least one of the problems they entered rehab to treat. Additionally, almost 53% of the people surveyed sought treatment only for alcoholism. These statistics, along with evidence collected from a variety of other studies, seem to show that alcohol may be the substance that causes the most widespread damage among those struggling with addiction.
Alcohol Addiction in the United States
Nearly 14 million adults 18 and older have a drinking problem in the United States today. That’s one in every thirteen adults. Additionally, 8.1 million of these Americans have developed a full-fledged alcohol addiction— and very few of them come forward to receive treatment. With numbers like this, it’s clear that alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction are serious issues that affect many people and should be addressed.
Alcohol Addiction Development
Genetic Factors: The DNA we inherit from our parents determine more than just our physical traits. Other traits can be passed down through families as well— and one example, unfortunately, is the potential susceptibility to alcohol addiction. In other words, those who are genetically predisposed to alcoholism— those who have parents that abuse alcohol— have a much higher risk of developing an alcohol addiction than those who do not.
Social Factors: While genetics can play a significant role in an individual’s likelihood of developing an addiction, the onset of alcoholism also depends on a number of social factors. Specific age groups and peer pressure can influence a person’s opinion of alcohol— and, subsequently, alcohol consumption. For example, heavy drinking and “partying” is more often seen in high school or college demographics than older ones.
Environmental Factors: Environmental factors, which can influence social factors, are perhaps the most recognized in the development of alcohol addiction. In fact, most people who struggle with an alcohol addiction first began drinking in response to environmental cues. These can include:
- Inability to cope with stress
- Trauma (past or recent)
- Social acceptance
- Peer pressure
The Dangers of Alcoholism and Its Progression
Alcoholism is a disease that progresses slowly over time. If left untreated, alcoholism damages cognitive function, deteriorates the nervous system, compromises essential organ functions, and can potentially lead to other serious ailments. In fact, alcohol addiction increases your risk for:
- Cirrhosis of the liver
- Alcoholic hepatitis
- Heart disease
The Alcohol Addiction Checklist: Common Signs to Look For in Yourself or A Loved One
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), alcohol addiction is the most likely case when:
- A man consumes 10 or more servings of alcohol in 1 week.
- A woman consumes 8 or more servings of alcohol in 1 week.
If either of the statements above applies to you, have your drinking habits…
- …brought out concerns from friends, family or co-workers?
- …caused you to miss work, school, or important events?
- …made life unmanageable for you?
Also, consider the following:
- Do you drink alcohol just to get drunk alone?
- Do you plan your day around drinking alcohol?
- Do you drink more than those around you and don’t want to stop?
- Do you feel anxious or physically uncomfortable when you’re not drinking?+
If you’ve answered yes to one or more of these questions or recognize these issues in someone else, you may, in fact, be dealing with alcohol addiction. If this is the case, the best course of action would be to enter a treatment program to detox and receive counseling.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Detox Centers and Rehab
The Alcohol Detox Process
Detoxification, or detox, is the body’s process of purging toxins from your system. When you consume alcohol, your body detoxifies naturally by using the liver to metabolize the alcohol’s harmful contents, like ethanol. When you drink more than your body can metabolize, however, detox isn’t possible, and trace amounts of alcohol always stay in your system. This is what causes damage to your organs and bodily functions. To get sober and recovery from alcohol addiction, detox is the first and probably most important step.
The Alcohol Detox Methods and Withdrawal Symptoms
Like with any other substance, there are two ways to detox from alcohol. The first is the “cold turkey” method, which entails quitting all at once. This method is advised against by the vast majority of addiction medical professionals because of the dangers that come with it. The detox process includes withdrawal symptoms, which can range from uncomfortable or unendurable. Some of the more dangerous alcohol withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Thoughts of suicide
- Kidney dysfunction
- Delirium tremens
- Liver dysfunction
- High fever
Detoxing alone with these kinds of withdrawal symptoms can lead to three worst-case scenarios: hospitalization, coma, or death.
These risks can be easily avoided with the second method of alcohol detox, called tapering. This medically-assisted process gradually removes the remnants of alcohol from your system in a comfortable medical setting, surrounded by doctors, nurses and medical staff. Those who opt to taper off of alcohol typically go through less severe withdrawal symptoms, like headache, sweating and some nausea. Between the two methods of detox, medically-assisted detox (tapering) is undoubtedly the safer option.
The Alcohol Detox Timeline
How long does it take to detox from alcohol? This question is hard to answer simply because the alcohol detox process is different for everyone. However, while there is technically no universal timeline for alcohol withdrawal, a general detox and withdrawal timeline has been developed by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) for widespread use and substance abuse education. The NLM’s timeline outlines that withdrawal symptoms:
- …may begin roughly 8 hours after the last drink.
- …are usually the most intense between 24-72 hours after the last drink.
- …typically start to decrease in intensity after 5-7 days after the last drink.
- …tend to stop after one week of the detox process.
It is possible for some side effects to linger even after the withdrawal symptoms have disappeared. However, these side effects are typically psychological ones, which can be addressed in counseling both during and after detox.
Other Important Services at the Best Rehab and Detox Centers
Customized Treatment and Recovery Plans
Alcoholism affects everyone differently. The best detox centers are the ones that offer customizable treatment options and personalized recovery plans. Some of the best rehab centers in Florida, the addiction recovery capital of the United States, provide personalized care for their patients.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment
With long-term alcohol abuse, it’s possible for a dual diagnosis to develop. Dual diagnoses are cases in which substance addiction co-occurs with one or more mental illnesses, such as anxiety or depressive disorders. This is more common than most people realize, and only the best alcohol addiction treatment centers utilize programs that address dual diagnosis.
Court Liaison Services
Substance abuse can lead to a variety of troubles, including legal ones. This is why court liaison programs are so essential to the alcohol addiction recovery process. The best addiction rehab centers offer court liaison services to assist their patients with:
- scheduling and meeting mandated court appearances
- maintaining communication with legal parties as needed
- fulfilling compliance requests
With court liaison services from your rehab center, you can keep your focus where it needs to be: on your recovery and long-term wellness.
This should go without saying, but the best addiction rehab and detox centers will offer full or partial insurance coverage for their patients. Most insurance providers and private insurers will cover medical expenses for issues like alcoholism. Additionally, insurance coverage will protect your privacy under federal law throughout the treatment process.
The TTC Care Residential Detox Center of West Palm Beach, Florida
If you believe that you or someone you care about is struggling with alcohol addiction, the TTC Care Residential facility offers all the programs and services mentioned above— and more. Located in Lake Worth, TTC Care offers a wide variety of alcohol addiction treatment options, including inpatient residential care, partial hospitalization, and aftercare services. Our caring and experienced staff will ensure that all patients receive individual recovery plans that best fit their unique physical, emotional and spiritual needs. The first step is supervised medical detox, as the body needs to restore itself at the cellular level before recovery can truly begin. For more information about our successful alcohol addiction treatments and programs, download our FREE eBook or call us anytime at 844-310-9549 to speak with an admissions counselor.
All conversations are 100% free and confidential.
The Court Liaison Program is a service of The Treatment Center of the Palm Beaches and should never be considered formal legal representation. Hiring a private attorney for personal representation is a serious decision and is always recommended within the Court Liaison Program.