Alcohol Addiction and Abuse

What Is Alcohol Addiction?

When alcohol addiction has taken over your life and stops you from living your potential, it is time to reach out for professional intervention. Alcohol Use Disorder causes devastating effects on your physical, mental, and emotional health.

Because alcohol is legal and normalized in society, many people struggle to reach out for help.  Here is where our alcoholism rehab is most useful. Our approach is evidence-based and non-judgmental and our holistic approach to treating you as an individual can enable your long-term recovery.

Signs you Need Help

Alcohol addiction affects you in different ways. It is not always defined by how much you drink, but also by the way it interferes with your day-to-day life. When there are more negative consequences than positive and you have to try to quit but have not been able to, these are signs that you need help. These are some of the behavioral symptoms of an alcohol addiction that you may recognize in yourself or someone close to you:

  • Drinking more units of alcohol or more frequently than you intend
  • Drinking first thing in the morning to get through with the day
  • Feeling sick or hungover often after drinking
  • Thinking about alcohol so much that it interferes with other obligations
  • Experiencing problems with work, school, or friends as a consequence of drinking
  • Changing your activities or plans so you can drink
  • Putting yourself in high risk or dangerous situations
  • Needing to drink more to achieve your desired state
  • Blackouts or memory problems after a drinking session
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms if you try to stop

Defining Alcohol

Alcohol is a chemical substance with a high potential for addiction. It is made through fermentation using yeast and sugars. It is a psychoactive substance with dependence-inducing properties. It is a central nervous system depressant that interferes with your brain’s communication pathways, affecting how your brain looks and the way it functions. Drinking alcohol affects the part of your brain that controls speech, memory, judgment, and balance. Over the long term, heavy drinking alters neurons and reduces their size. But, recovery of the grey matter in your brain can happen as quickly as one week after your last drink when you quit.

Socio-economic factors


Alcoholism kills more than 140 000 people in the US every year. In 2019, $252 billion was spent on alcoholic beverages. However, the CDC describes heavy drinking as a “drain on the US economy” and says it costs the local economy $249 billion. $179 billion is lost to unproductivity in the workplace, $13 billion is lost to collisions as a result of alcoholism and the criminal justice system loses $35 billion because of heavy drinking.

How alcoholism affects our body’s growth

Alcoholism during puberty lowers your levels of growth and sex hormones, affecting sexual maturation, height, muscle mass, and bone density. Consuming alcohol during pregnancy is responsible for fetal alcohol syndrome and the safe amount for consumption to avoid FAS is not known. Drinking in pregnancy contributes to hyperactivity and attention problems in children, as well as memory and learning deficits.

Alcohol’s effect on the brain

Serious brain disorders like Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WSK), which causes mental confusion and psychosis, are associated with alcoholism. Alcohol interferes with neurogenesis and may obstruct the genesis of new neurons. The latter is often associated with dementia.

This said, controlled, occasional drinking does not mean you have a problem. For additional information on what is concerning when it comes to drinking – read on.

The Dangers of Alcohol Addiction

Drinking excessive amounts or for extended periods of time increases your risk of severe and chronic brain changes. You will also experience generally poor health and liver damage, which affect your brain function. Serious brain disorders like Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WSK), which causes mental confusion and psychosis, are associated with alcoholism. Alcohol interferes with neurogenesis, the genesis of new neurons, which is associated with dementia.

What Is the Difference between Alcohol Addiction and Abuse?

Both alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction cause harmful patterns of drinking and collectively they are referred to as alcohol use disorders (AUDs).

Alcohol abuse is a milder form of alcohol addiction. You might binge on alcohol, do things you regret, or drink more than you intend. It causes you to develop a tolerance, which progresses to addiction. When you are addicted to alcohol you are unable to control your consumption and have cravings for it despite it having adverse effects on your physical, mental and emotional health.

Alcohol addiction causes alcohol withdrawal symptoms when you reduce your intake or try to stop.

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How Alcohol Affect Us

We all have different sensitivities to alcohol and different types of drinks have higher levels of alcohol than others. Our bodies eliminate or break down certain substances differently because of our genetic makeup. Factors like your gender, age, illness, diet, medical and non-medical drugs, and the amount of food in your stomach can affect how you respond to alcohol. Drinking a lot before your body has a chance to metabolize it causes intoxication.

Physiological effects

The World Health Organization says that alcohol is a leading cause of more than 200 diseases and injuries. In the short term, alcohol addiction changes your coordination and reflexes and causes vision problems. Over the long-term alcoholism results in a greater physical dependency leading to a weakened immune system, impaired liver function, and digestive problems. Heavy and chronic drinkers experience problems with circulation and lower bone density. The damage caused to your digestive system impairs your ability to absorb nutrients, leading to malnutrition. Alcohol addiction causes muscle spasms and atrophy. It puts you at an increased risk of developing different cancers. Women are more vulnerable to nerve damage as a result of heavy drinking.

Psychological effects

In the short term, alcohol can lower stress levels and induce a temporary state of relaxation. It also causes a loss of inhibitions. Over the long term, it takes a toll on your mental health and is associated with mood swings, personality disorders, bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety. Its depressive effect on your central nervous system causes memory, learning, and concentration problems as well as impaired impulse control. It also has a strong association with violence, including suicide, homicide, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence.

Crime-related statistics

1.4 million violent offenses involve alcohol and almost four out of ten violent crimes in the US involve it. Alcohol was a factor in 37% of rapes and sexual assaults, 15% of robberies, 25% of simple assaults, and 27% of aggravated assaults. Alcohol is more likely to play a role in violence where the attacker is known to the victim. 70% of violent incidents involving alcohol occur in the home, and 20% of these involved a weapon.

How Does Alcohol Addiction Affect My Family?

It’s extremely different for members of a family to watch someone they care about struggle with alcohol addiction. Alcoholism can destroy marriages and relationships. It introduces compounded legal and medical problems as well as psychological trauma and distress into a household.

Parents become worried and anxious about teenagers who drink underage. Their stress can lead to communication breakdowns in the family, leading to marital problems and divorce. Parents may want to help but not know how to, isolating the child or teen with the problem.

Children of parents with drinking problems experience neglect and abuse, as well as violence. They are more emotionally vulnerable and grow up to be four times more likely to develop alcohol dependencies themselves. They struggle developmentally and academically without the support of a stable home and reliable parents.

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Alcohol Overdose

Alcohol overdose or alcohol poisoning is a potentially life-threatening situation that can occur if you drink more or more quickly than your body can process. If you suspect someone has overdosed, it is a medical emergency and you must call 911 immediately.

In 2020 there were 12 000 opioid overdoses including alcohol recorded. Because alcohol is often omitted from death certificates, the number of deaths may be even higher. Seeing professional treatment for alcohol addiction can save your life. Overdose during relapse can occur because your tolerance has dropped.

About Our Alcohol Addiction Treatment Center

Our luxury rehab center has been developed to help you recover from alcohol addiction. No matter how much or how long you have been drinking, we will assist you to regain control of your life. Our commitment to your recovery is demonstrated by our clients’ high success rates and our dedicated team of experienced clinical professionals. We will create a tailored recovery program through a tailored and evidence-based treatment plan that prioritizes your life goals.

Why Choose United Recovery CA for Alcohol Addiction and Abuse Treatment?

We at United Recovery are completely dedicated to delivering the optimal addiction help for you and your loved ones. Our medical personnel is strict, but understanding - they will provide you with an in-depth assessment and treatment. Our therapists are highly experienced and will guide you, through behavioural and psychological therapies, towards a new lifestyle. With our counsellors accompanying you through your after-rehab months, throughout the aftercare period, you will be able to focus on re-establishing your position in the world, reactivating your Self and rebuilding your character.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How does alcohol affect my brain?

Alcohol blocks the chemical signals between your neurons, which makes you intoxicated. This causes slurred speech, slow reflexes, impaired memory, and impulse control problems. It is a CNS depressant that affects your inhibitions and can cause temporary relaxation and euphoria.

How long does it take for alcohol to leave my body?

Alcohol has a half-life of four to five hours, depending on your metabolism. However, it takes around five half-lives for it to be eliminated completely, which is approximately 25 hours for all traces of it to be eliminated.

How does the government decide what is the adequate amount of alcohol to drink per week?

One unit of alcohol is defined as the amount that your body can process in one hour. The number of units in one drink is calculated based on the size of the drink and its alcohol content or strength. The recommended guideline is one standard drink per day for women and two for men. Weekly, it is not recommended for men or women to consume more than 14 units.

What is too much alcohol when it comes to driving?

When it comes to driving there are maximum blood alcohol levels (BAC) that are measured by law enforcement. In all states except Utah, the legal level for driving is 0.08%. The amount of alcohol in your blood depends on variables like how tired you are, the food you have eaten, and if you are on medication. You can calculate your BAC levels using a chart found here.

Why shouldn’t I mix alcohol with my prescription pills?

Mixing your prescription pills with alcohol can have harmful side effects including headaches, vomiting and nausea, drowsiness, and loss of coordination. It can also lead to more serious side effects, depending on the type of prescription you are on.

Do You Need Help?

You can get better with the right support. Don’t hesitate to contact us now so that we can discuss the next steps.