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Alcohol addiction, also known as alcohol use disorder, is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic brain disorder.

Excessive alcohol use, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) includes males drinking more than five alcoholic beverages within a two-hour period and females consuming more than four alcoholic drinks within a two-hour window. One standard drink is outlined as:

  • 12 ounces of regular beer (5% alcohol content)
  • 8 – 9 ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content)
  • 5 ounces of unfortified wine (12% alcohol content)
  • 5 ounces of 80-proof hard liquor (40% alcohol content)

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) explains that “alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a medical condition characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences.” Individuals that are addicted to alcohol will prioritize satisfying alcohol cravings above all else, regardless of the negative consequences. This can lead to physical complications, relationship fractures, financial strain, legal problems, and more. There are a variety of treatment options available for individuals struggling with alcohol use disorder.

Alcohol Treatment

The first step to treating alcohol abuse and/ or addiction is to successfully complete detox. Detox is the process that cleanses one’s body of all foreign substances. When an individual has habitually abused alcohol, his or her system will become accustomed to functioning with it present. When alcohol is removed from one’s system it will react accordingly, and withdrawal symptoms will ensue. Though the withdrawal symptoms that accompany detoxing from alcohol are not inherently life threatening, many can cause severe discomfort, and support throughout the duration of the detox program via a medically supervised detox is recommended. After the detox process, an individual that has struggled with alcohol abuse should continue his or her recovery process by attending a formalized substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment program.

There are two main types of substance abuse and/ or addiction rehab programs, which are inpatient treatment programs and outpatient treatment programs. Inpatient treatment options require an individual to reside at the treatment facility for the duration of the program, whereas outpatient treatment options do not. Though the structure of the programs differs, both have the same primary goal: to help an individual become sober and healthy. Treatment programs can vary in duration, typically ranging between twenty-one days long to three months long, in some cases longer. Most rehab facilities recognize that every person is different, and that each person will require a somewhat customized treatment plan when it comes to recovering from alcoholism. Tailored treatment plans are developed that incorporate the best possible therapeutic methods which are specifically geared to address each person’s nuanced needs. There are many different types of therapeutic modalities that could be integrated into one’s treatment plan, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), expressive arts therapy, and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT). Both options, inpatient treatment programs, and outpatient treatment programs, can yield successful results, depending on the needs of the individual.

Further Information and Support

Navigating the challenges that arise from living with mental illness, struggling with substance abuse, and/ or addiction can not only be all consuming but are often impossible to effectively handle without proper support. If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding mental illness, substance abuse, and/ or addiction we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. Bear in mind that you do not have to be on this journey alone. At Upwell Advisors, we offer unique, customized concierge therapeutic services to provide our clients with unparalleled support throughout every step of the recovery process.

If left untreated, substance abuse, addiction, and/ or mental illness can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to leading happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives. Please do not hesitate to reach out for guidance. We welcome the opportunity to discuss how we might best be able to help you or your loved one in the recovery process. Feel free to reach out by phone at 917-475-6775. You are also welcomed to contact us anytime via email at [email protected] We look forward to supporting you on your journey.

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