Because drinking is such a socially acceptable vice, the gravity of alcohol abuse often goes unnoticed. Someone can be in the most severe throws of alcohol abuse, hold down a job, and many times, the people around the individual don’t think twice about them potentially having a problem. The benefits of alcohol abuse treatment, even to many alcoholics, are often discounted.
However, this only furthers the dangers of alcohol, as many newcomers don’t put enough consideration into the deadly consequences of abuse. The truth is, alcohol abuse leads to severe illness and death – even the detox period of alcohol is one of few that will lead to fatality.
Joined only by benzodiazepines, alcohol withdrawals can be so intense that some people don’t make it out alive. However, this is hardly considered as it would be with other drugs, such as methamphetamine or opioids.
While everyone is in shock regarding the number of opioid deaths entering six figures in 2021, the grim reality of deaths from alcohol is almost out of sight and out of mind. Deaths directly attributed to alcohol – mostly liver conditions – are around 90,000.
Combine that with the indirect deaths associated with alcohol – car accidents, accidents around the house, alcohol poisoning, and other deadly combinations when other drugs come into play, and alcohol likely surpasses opioids by a large number. This should highlight the importance of finding an effective Arizona alcohol rehab such as Catalina Behavioral.
What Is Alcohol Abuse?
Severe, debilitating drinking habits or lack of ability to control alcohol consumption can be a sign of alcohol misuse or even alcohol use disorder (AUD). The latter used to be known as “alcohol abuse,” “alcohol dependence,” and “alcoholism.”
To reduce incorrect identification of different conditions, these terms were officially categorized in 2013. Technically, alcohol use disorder is the same as alcohol dependence or alcoholism.
That said, alcohol abuse is a single occasion of excessive and irresponsible drinking. These occasions are further labeled using mild, moderate, and severe to describe the intensity of the events and how often they happen.
Alcohol abuse may quickly segue into alcoholism or even worse. Let’s dive further into the differences between alcohol abuse and alcoholism.
Alcohol Abuse vs. Alcoholism
The main difference between alcohol abuse and alcoholism is that alcohol abuse disorder is an actual medically-recognized condition with diagnostic criteria and has specific guidance on treatment methods. Let’s outline more specific differences between the two.
An AUD involves alcohol misuse; however, not everyone who abuses alcohol has an AUD. The difference between alcohol abuse and alcoholism is that someone who is genuinely suffering from alcoholism has a legitimate medical issue and is unable to stop drinking. On the other hand, excessive drinking is a behavior that may be discontinued at any time.
Alcohol abuse is defined as consuming eight or more drinks a week for women and 15 or more drinks a week for men, characterized as excessive drinking. Four or more glasses in one sitting for women and five or more for males are considered binge drinking, a kind of alcohol abuse. However, a person with an AUD is probably already abusing alcohol to the point where they match the diagnostic criteria for an AUD.
People with AUD may exhibit the following signs:
- Binge drinking all the time
- Drunkenness to the point of passing out.
- Making justifications for their excessive drinking
- Claiming that they require alcohol to de-stress or enjoy themselves
- Constantly drinking to become drunk
“Alcoholism” is only a term used to describe a behavior or habit but not an actual medical diagnosis. Individuals use this phrase to describe an alcohol use disorder (AUD), which is the diagnostic name for alcohol addiction. One of the most common definitions of alcoholism relates to a condition in which someone cannot quit consuming alcohol.
Signs someone is developing alcoholism include the following:
- Giving up other interests and pastimes due to alcohol consumption
- Neglecting responsibilities at work or home as a result of alcohol intake
- Spending a lot of time drinking and recuperating from hangovers
- Drinking in physically hazardous settings, such as just before driving or operating equipment
- Continuing to drink despite having relationships terminated because of alcohol abuse
- Drinking more than you initially stated at the beginning of the night
- Having severe urgers to drink regularly
- Inability to quit drinking, even when you have the goal of cutting back
- Continued drinking, even if it causes a health problem
- Increasing tolerance to alcohol such that higher amounts are required to obtain the intended effects
- Using alcohol to alleviate unpleasant withdrawal symptoms
Who Needs Alcohol Abuse Treatment
It doesn’t take someone developing a full-blown AUD to be a good candidate for alcohol abuse treatment. Individuals may be in the beginning stages and showing early signs of alcoholism – not even meeting the criteria of AUD yet – and still benefit from alcohol abuse treatment.
Many times, the problem may be mitigated before it becomes too severe. This saves the client a great deal of pain and discomfort and may avoid multiple complications in their personal and professional lives.
What are the available treatments for any alcohol issue?
Types of Alcohol Treatment Therapies
Listed below are some of the most common treatment options for alcohol:
Psychotherapy is often one of the first options for treating any alcohol issues. In alcoholism psychotherapy, a psychologist may assist a patient in better understanding and managing their cravings and staying motivated to reach their sober objectives. Psychotherapy sessions can last a few weeks or several months. During psychotherapy, the psychologist and patient form a bond based on trust, openness, and secrecy.
CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a tried-and-true strategy for easing the effects of alcoholism. A CBT session will consist of a discussion between a patient and a psychologist. CBT is a therapeutic technique that emphasizes constructive action rather than diagnosis, such as questioning negative ideas, addressing anxieties, acting to improve social relationships, and developing ways to stop consuming alcohol or using drugs. This form of treatment is frequently successful after as few as five sessions.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
Another talk therapy based on scientific data is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). In the DBT approach, everything is interrelated, the universe transforms, and negative aspects (thesis and antithesis) may be combined to create a bigger truth or an even better piece of information. The philosophical theory of dialectics rests on these premises. Learn how to live in the present rather than in the past, manage discomfort, and practice honest communication in an individual or group DBT session.
DBT’s ultimate goal is to assist patients in achieving emotional equilibrium and accepting positive change. Dialectical in nature, the approach was created by a mental health professional who wished for patients to integrate change with the acceptance of the past to have a higher quality of life overall. DBT is helpful in the treatment of alcoholism and other substance addiction problems, according to studies.
Each of these forms of therapy typically comes after the medical detox process. Medically-assisted detox is critical in helping clients avoid the dangers of withdrawal.
The Dangers of Alcohol Detox
Alcohol detox is a potentially deadly occurrence, causing severe pain and discomfort to anyone with an alcohol dependence who suddenly ceases their habit. While there’s honor in attempting to enter recovery, it’s essential that this process is well thought-out and accomplished in the safest way possible.
Otherwise, it could lead to even more severe health issues than just alcohol abuse disorder. Some of the worst side effects of at-home detox include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Extremely high blood pressure
- DTs (delirium tremens)
- Heart attack/stroke
After individuals go through detox, they may begin their journey into alcohol treatment.
Typical Stages of Alcohol Treatment
The typical stages of alcohol treatment include several distinct phases that must be followed correctly to achieve the highest probability of success. Usually, the path looks something like this:
- Medically assisted detox. Physicians will assist the client in safely detoxing from alcohol.
- Inpatient or outpatient rehab. Depending on recommendations from a counselor or physician, in addition to the client’s capabilities, one of these two is the next logical step. This is when most of the counseling and treatment methods come into play.
- Post-treatment/continued therapy. Treatment continues in the form of a client’s regular psychiatrist in combination with some form of group therapy.
- Support pillars. This isn’t a step, but it’s vital in recovery after treatment. Each client requires strong support pillars from family members and friends.
Dual Diagnosis and Alcohol Treatment
Arizona alcohol abuse treatment may include dual diagnosis therapy, depending on a client’s assessment results. Dual diagnosis is becoming more common in alcohol and substance abuse treatment as more emphasis is placed on treating underlying mental health conditions in combination with addiction.
The theory behind dual diagnosis is that an underlying mental health disorder perpetuated the alcohol or substance abuse. The two conditions form a deadly cycle of relapse and recovery if they aren’t treated simultaneously, which happens during dual diagnosis treatment.
Finding a Loved One Help for Alcoholism
Catalina Behavioral Health offers multiple options if you have a loved one who needs Arizona alcohol abuse treatment. We deliver foundations for recovery from alcohol in the form of several evidence-based treatment models.
In addition to the methods mentioned earlier in the article, we also provide holistic therapy options to help clients heal the mind, body, and soul. We also prepare each client to return to regular society and their home lives, educating them on triggers and other elements of relapse.
If you want knowledgeable staff that’s compassionate about recovery to assist you in your journey, contact a member of our Admissions team today!