Over 140 million Americans consumed alcohol in 2017, with nearly 67 million individuals meeting the criteria for an alcohol misuse disorder. Alcohol misuse can include chronic binge drinking and alcohol dependence. Drunk driving is also a leading cause of accidental death nationwide. While alcohol can create pleasurable feelings of euphoria, it is lethal in excessive doses.
Ethanol, the ingredient in alcohol that causes intoxication, can cause severe liver damage over time. Alcohol is both physically and psychologically addictive, meaning that you can experience serious withdrawal symptoms if you stop drinking. Long-term alcohol abuse can also cause brain damage and liver disease.
Because of its addictive nature, alcohol dependence is hard to overcome without the help of an alcohol addiction treatment center Jacksonville IL trusts.
So, what is alcohol dependence? Alcohol is a neurotransmitter inhibitor, meaning that it causes your brain to release more neurotransmitters than normal, which causes a rush of pleasurable feelings. Alcohol specifically releases increased levels of GABA. Unfortunately, when the effects of alcohol wear off, your brain is suddenly depleted of neurotransmitters, causing depressant emotions like anxiety.
Alcohol is also a central nervous system depressant, which means that it can decrease your blood pressure and heart rate and depress your breathing. Drinking too much alcohol can lead to ethanol poisoning, which requires immediate medical intervention.
Some signs and symptoms of alcohol dependence include:
- Needing to drink first thing in the morning
- Experiencing regular blackouts while drinking
- Difficulty controlling your drinking
- Engaging in high-risk behaviors while drinking
- Mood changes when you drink
- Drinking alone or during inappropriate situations
Alcohol dependence can also cause you to experience legal problems, like DUI or public intoxication charges. When you become physically dependent on alcohol, you can experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking.
Treating Alcohol Dependence
Alcohol dependency can cause serious and severe withdrawal symptoms. Delirium tremors, a rare complication, can cause death. Seizures, tremors, and hallucinations are possible symptoms of delirium tremors and require immediate medical treatment. Alcohol withdrawal can also cause insomnia, vomiting, irritability, and exhaustion, as well as intense cravings. These cravings can make you especially vulnerable to relapsing.
Medically supervised detox and residential treatment both offer safe environments to detox from alcohol. Staff can utilize a medication-assisted program to help alleviate withdrawal symptoms and prevent delirium tremors.
Inpatient and outpatient treatment programs help provide you with the education and tools you need to maintain sobriety. Since alcohol dependency causes changes to your brain chemistry, treatment centers can help you learn to navigate life without drinking. You need to re-train your brain to no longer rely on alcohol by finding ways to cope with cravings and triggers.
Evidence-based and holistic treatments help you learn to better control your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Individual and group therapy provides you with a judgment-free venue to explore the causes of your addiction and share your emotions.
Gateway Foundation Jacksonville Can Help
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol dependence, you may feel overwhelmed or frustrated. Gateway Foundation Jacksonville, the leading alcohol addiction treatment center Jacksonville IL offers, provides you with an experienced, compassionate treatment team dedicated to your recovery. Contact Gateway Foundation Jacksonville today at [Direct] to learn more about your treatment options.