Alcohol addiction, also known as alcohol use disorder, is a condition characterized by an inability to stop drinking alcohol despite experiencing negative consequences. Alcohol addiction is a complex disease that can affect someone’s physical, mental, and emotional health. Fortunately, alcohol addiction is treatable, and help is available.
At Bronson Behavioral Health Hospital, we offer comprehensive and compassionate inpatient treatment for adults age 18 and older who are struggling with alcohol addiction. Our dedicated team of behavioral health professionals is highly trained to treat mental health disorders and co-occurring alcohol use disorder. We are committed to supporting you as you work toward recovery from alcohol addiction.
Signs & Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction is crucial for early identification and prompt intervention. If someone is struggling with alcohol use disorder, they might display the following signs and symptoms:
- Uses alcohol in larger amounts or over a longer period to achieve the same effects
- Has repeated unsuccessful efforts to curb alcohol use
- Spends a significant amount of time trying to obtain alcohol, consuming alcohol, and recovering from the effects of alcohol
- Has strong cravings for alcohol
- Fails to fulfill responsibilities at work, school, and home
- Continues to use alcohol despite having social, physical, and relationship problems related to its use
- Doesn’t participate in social, recreational, and family events due to alcohol use
- Consumes alcohol in situations in which it is dangerous to do so, like while driving, swimming, and caring for children
If you or someone you know suffers from alcohol addiction, reaching out to a healthcare professional for a comprehensive assessment and to explore treatment options is an important first step. With the proper support, recovery from alcohol addiction is possible.
Common Causes of & Risk Factors for Alcohol Addiction
There are many risk factors for alcohol addiction. Some people are more genetically predisposed to alcohol addiction, while others turn to alcohol to help them cope with stressful life events, trauma, or the symptoms of a mental health disorder.
Common causes of and risk factors for alcohol addiction include:
- Environmental causes: Poverty, discrimination, lack of education and employment opportunities, stress, availability and price of alcohol, and cultural attitudes toward drinking can all influence someone’s likelihood of developing alcohol use disorder.
- Genetic causes: Alcohol addiction runs in families. According to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), someone is three to four times more likely to suffer from alcohol use disorder if they have a close relative who has the condition.
- Psychological factors: If someone has a mental health condition like depression or anxiety, they may drink alcohol excessively to cope with the symptoms they’re experiencing.
- Personal characteristics: Certain personality traits, like impulsivity, attention-seeking behavior, and low self-esteem, can put someone at risk for developing alcohol use disorder.
It’s important to note that these risk factors do not guarantee the development of alcohol addiction, as many people who have these risk factors do not develop the disorder. Effective treatment considers someone’s past experiences, current struggles, physical health, and cultural background. At Bronson Behavioral Health Hospital, our staff of behavioral health professionals is trained to care for adults who are struggling with alcohol addiction by providing them with comprehensive and evidence-based support that considers their specific needs.
Alcohol Addiction Statistics
Alcohol abuse is far-reaching and affects people of all ages, genders, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds. According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics (NCDAS), alcohol use disorder kills more than 3 million people every year and accounts for 6% of all global deaths. Additional statistics show that:
- 10% of people in the U.S. over the age of 12 have alcohol use disorder.
- Every day, 385 people in the U.S. die from complications of alcohol addiction.
- Men are twice as likely as women to suffer from alcohol addiction.
Data from the DSM-5 further reveal that:
- In the United States, men have a higher lifetime prevalence (36%) of developing alcohol use disorder than women (22.7%).
- For someone who has alcohol use disorder, the first episode of alcohol intoxication typically happens between ages 12 and 14.
- The initial onset of alcohol addiction symptoms most commonly occurs when people are in their 30s.
- If someone has a close relative who has alcohol use disorder, they are three to four times more likely to also suffer from alcohol addiction.
- People who have alcohol use disorder are seven times more likely than nondrinking populations to attempt suicide.
- One in 5 intensive care hospital admissions are related to alcohol use.
- Many people who struggle with alcohol addiction respond positively to treatment.
Effects of Alcohol Addiction
Unrestrained alcohol use can have extensive adverse effects on nearly every area of someone’s life, from their physical and mental health to their financial and employment security. It’s essential to address alcohol addiction promptly before the effects become irreversible. Many of these effects can be lessened by seeking early and appropriate treatment for alcohol addiction.
Excessive alcohol consumption impacts nearly every organ system in the body. Alcohol addiction can have the following physical consequences:
- Stomach ulcers
- Liver cirrhosis
- Damage to the nervous system
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
- Severe memory impairment
- Weakened immune system
The effects of alcohol addiction can also spill into other areas of your life and impair social functioning and general well-being. These effects may include:
- Loss of relationships
- Higher risk for job-related or motor vehicle accidents
- Increased hospitalizations
- Legal troubles
- Development of mental health disorders
At Bronson Behavioral Health Hospital, we recognize how difficult it can be to stop drinking and seek help for alcohol addiction. Our acute inpatient treatment center serves adults throughout southwestern Michigan who are suffering from mental health disorders and co-occurring alcohol use disorder. Alcohol addiction does not need to define your life. Our team is here to support you as you pursue recovery.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
If someone abruptly stops consuming alcohol after a period of excessive use, they may experience symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. According to the DSM-5, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can develop anywhere from four to 12 hours after the last drink is consumed and can cause many uncomfortable, intense, and sometimes dangerous effects. Because alcohol withdrawal can be so unpleasant, many people continue to drink to ward off withdrawal symptoms. However, this can result in cycles of alcohol abuse and remission, making it challenging to pursue lasting recovery.
Common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:
- Anxiety and irritability
- Nausea and vomiting
- Excessive sweating
- Visual, auditory, and tactile hallucinations
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
If left untreated, alcohol withdrawal can progress to delirium tremens (DTs), a severe form of alcohol withdrawal characterized by confusion, disorientation, hallucinations, seizures, and potentially life-threatening complications. People often require immediate medical attention for these severe symptoms.
Co-Occurring Disorders & Alcohol Addiction
Some people who have mental health disorders might turn to alcohol as a way to cope with difficult mental health disorder symptoms. While many people consume alcohol occasionally or socially, alcohol use can spiral out of control and become an addiction for some people. According to the DSM-5, if someone has bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety, or depression, they are at higher risk for developing co-occurring alcohol use disorder.
At Bronson Behavioral Health Hospital, patients who have co-occurring alcohol use disorder can receive personalized treatment, evidence-based therapies, and peer support so that alcohol addiction and mental health concerns can be treated simultaneously.
Therapies Used To Treat Co-Occurring Alcohol Addiction
At Bronson Behavioral Health Hospital, our therapies are specifically designed to address the unique needs of people who are struggling with alcohol use disorder. We offer a range of evidence-based treatments and interventions that address the physical, psychological, and emotional aspects of alcohol addiction. A diverse team of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, licensed professional counselors, psychiatric nurse practitioners, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, behavioral health technicians, dietitians, and recreational therapists provides care at our alcohol addiction treatment center.
At Bronson, patients meet with medical and mental health specialists who develop personalized care plans to guide treatment. These treatment plans include therapy sessions and services designed to help people who have mental health concerns and co-occurring alcohol use disorder pursue healing and recovery.
Group therapy sessions are the main form of treatment at Bronson Behavioral Health Hospital, and topics covered in sessions may include:
- Understanding the connection between alcohol use and mental health
- Relapse prevention strategies
- Co-occurring disorders education
- Emotion regulation skills
- How to build healthy relationships
- Stress management techniques
- Enhancing self-esteem and self-worth
- Healthy coping skills
- Life skills
Group therapy can offer a supportive and empathetic environment where group members can share their experiences with alcohol addiction and find support. Group, individual, and family therapy sessions at Bronson incorporate cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which can help people who are struggling with co-occurring alcohol addiction identify harmful beliefs about alcohol and change their behaviors related to its use.
Inpatient Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Battle Creek, Michigan
When you choose inpatient alcohol addiction treatment at Bronson Behavioral Health Hospital, you can build a solid foundation for long-term recovery. In addition to providing clinical expertise, we prioritize the well-being and safety of our patients. Our state-of-the-art, 96-bed inpatient treatment center is designed for safety and healing. We follow the most up-to-date protocols to ensure a secure and comfortable environment throughout the treatment process.
If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction, we encourage you to contact our admissions team. We are available to help you pursue recovery from alcohol addiction so that you can live a healthier, more fulfilling life.
This content was written on behalf of and reviewed by the clinical staff at Bronson Behavioral Health Hospital.