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Alcohol Addiction in Illinois
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Alcohol Addiction in Illinois

Alcohol addiction in Illinois has become increasingly common, as has the need for treatment. In the past addiction treatment was stigmatized, leading many to refuse substance abuse rehabilitation. Although it is legal and socially acceptable to consume the substance, many people take consumption too far and develop an addiction. Alcohol addiction is associated with a large range of serious mental and physical health risks and the legal nature of the substance should not dissuade addicts from seeking help for the disease. People wrongly assume that alcohol is far less dangerous than illicit substances such as heroin, meth, or cocaine; this is not at all the case. Excessive drinking causes almost a hundred thousand deaths annually and it can be extremely detrimental to both an addicts physiological and psychological health. After developing an alcohol dependency, ceasing use can be as dangerous as it is difficult. The withdrawal symptoms associated with use can be deadly if not properly monitored in an addiction treatment center.

It is important to remember that the amount of alcohol in each drink varies, this is necessary to control excessive consumption and drink responsibly. For instance, on average a beer will contain about 3-10%, whereas wine may contain about 8-14%. Hard liquor, on the other hand, contains anywhere from 20-90% alcohol. Those who are not able to recognize, or adhere to these varying levels may be at risk for substance abuse.

 

What does exposure do to the body?

Factors such as body size, food consumption, and tolerance level influence a person’s level of intoxication. The substance quickly makes its way from the intestines and stomach to the bloodstream and therefore, has rapid effects. Initially after someone has consumed the substance they may feel relaxed, warm, and more sociable. However, once alcohol levels in the bloodstream become too high, the person will have impaired judgement, poor coordination mood swings, and lowered inhibitions. Once a dangerous blood/alcohol level has been reached, the drinker may black out or vomit.

 

Facts regarding alcohol addiction

The initial feelings of relaxation and social openness may lead many people to begin abusing the substance. Someone may turn to alcohol abuse if they are experiencing stress, depression, or a variety of negative emotions, because they may feel as though the substance can temporarily suppress these feelings and allow them to loosen up. Over time, these initial positive effects can lead drinkers to consume larger portions in order to achieve the same effects. They may begin to drink at any given moment because they do not want to face sobriety; they must begin to hide their habit and drink in secret at inappropriate times. Even if the drinker is able to realize that they have developed a serious problem, they oftentimes cannot quit on their own. The unpleasant withdrawal symptoms associated with alcohol addiction can include shaking, hallucinations, insomnia, strong cravings, and in severe cases, death.

Someone can be classified as an alcoholic if they have developed a dependency, find it difficult to stop drinking once they have begun, and continue to drink regardless of the negative impact it has on their lives; this may include relationship problems or someone who is struggling to hold a job. A sign of alcohol dependency is the need to consume the substance to avoid cravings. Studies have shown that people may have a genetic predisposition to alcohol abuse, but this research is ongoing. It is true that men are known to suffer from alcoholism more so than women, but alcoholism in women is increasing annually.

 

Why is alcohol abuse dangerous?

Abusing alcohol long-term can lead to serious physiological and psychological damage. The harm caused to the mind and body from excessive consumption of the substance can result in chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and increases the risk for heart failure. The likelihood for liver disease also increases. This can also be fatal.

The substance also reduces the ability of the immune system to function properly, making heavy drinkers more susceptible to a variety of serious viral and bacterial infections. This may also increase the probability for cancer to develop. In addition to this, the intoxicating effects of heavy alcohol abuse make it much more likely for drinkers to be involved in serious, life-threatening accidents. If driving under the influence does not lead to serious injury, it can easily lead to jail time and thousands of dollars in legal fees.

The mental health problems accompanying long-term, heavy drinking has equally as detrimental effects. The damage caused to the brain can lead to chronic coordination problems, reduced cognitive function, poor motor control, impaired problem solving skills and dementia. Some of this brain damage may be irreversible, but not all of it. Frequently, people who suffer from alcoholism are left with long-term mental complications long after detoxification has been completed. The heightened depression known to be associated with the illness also increases the likelihood of suicide, increasing and alcoholics chances of suffering from this by six.

In addition to mental impairment, abusing the substance can cause relationships to suffer, both mentally and physically. Drinking can bring out aggressive behavior and lowered sexual inhibitions. Some alcoholics simply become confused or withdrawn, while it brings out the worst in others. Chronic abuse increases the risk of violence both inside and outside the home, as heavy drinkers are often linked to serous violent altercations.

 

What treatment is available?

An alcohol addiction and rehabilitation program should involve careful monitoring (especially during the detox phase), both individual and group therapy, and the appropriate relapse prevention and aftercare planning. Each individual’s unique situation should be assessed upon arrival and they should be placed in a program that addresses their specific needs. Finding the root of the addiction is of utmost importance, in order to develop a strategy to cope with negative emotions in a healthy way and therefore prepare addicts to handle cravings in the future. Alcoholism may be a chronic disorder, but there is a chance of a sober future, as long as the patient possess the motivation to maintain recovery and has a strong support network at home. Life is much more fulfilling without the constraints of addiction. Seek help today.