Alcohol Addiction: What is It? And How to Overcome It?

Alcohol is a legal, controlled substance that lowers anxiety and inhibitions. It also has a broad range of side effects, from loss of coordination to slurred speech. Alcohol is commonly consumed as a drink in various forms, including beer, wine and hard liquor. Not everyone who drinks alcohol is an alcoholic, but anyone whose life is negatively affected by alcohol on a consistent basis is considered to have an alcohol use disorder. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains that alcohol affects people differently based on family history and health status, how often and how much the person drinks, and the person’s age.

The modern disease theory of alcoholism states that problems drinking are sometimes caused by a disease of the brain, characterized by altered brain structure and function. The American Medical Association (AMA) declared that alcoholism was an illness in 1956. In 1991, the AMA further endorsed the dual classification of alcoholism by the International Classification of Diseases under both psychiatric and medical sections.

Alcohol has become one of the leading causes of death in the United States and accounts for the highest fatality rate among all other substances. The social acceptance of alcohol and its legal status within the US has created a worldwide epidemic. While alcohol is viewed by many as a legal, therefore safe substance, there is nothing further from the truth. Those affected by alcohol addiction experience the inability to stop use, unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, DT’s (delirium tremors), financial losses, poor relationships with friends and family, job instability, legal issues and much more. Without proper treatment for this disease, the end result is often a prison sentence or death.

The first step for anyone in overcoming the disease of addiction is to admit that they have a problem and to seek a solution to fight the disease. This is followed by intense treatment to deal with the physical, mental and emotional aspects of their life that are directly and indirectly caused by their addiction. The recovery process includes detox, individual and group therapy, EMDR, trauma therapy, supervision of a medical doctor, 12-step programs, support groups and alternative treatments such as yoga, meditation, equine therapy and physical exercise.

Quick Facts About Alcohol Addiction

  • Many people begin drinking alcohol to escape their problems, feel more relaxed and/or to forget traumatic events
  • Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, slowing down brain activity when ingested
  • Alcoholism is a genetic disease with significant increases in risk factors for those with alcohol addiction in the family
  • Men are 2x as likely than women to be involved in a fatal car accident related to alcohol
  • Long term alcohol consumption increases inflammation in the liver and decreases the effectiveness of the heart
  • The signs of an alcohol poisoning include persistent vomiting, discolored skin, difficulty breathing, convulsions, and unresponsiveness​
  • In the US alone, over 80,000 individuals die from alcohol related incidents, including around 5,000 deaths of adolescents under the age of 21

Desert Mountain Health’s Alcohol Addiction Program

At Desert Mountain Health we understand the dangers of alcohol and the addiction that can develop. We have created an evidence based program that can effectively help each and every one of our clients who are addicted to alcohol.

  • Residential Program: Our inpatient medical detox is the safest, most effective way to detox. Detox is a crucial part in recovery and staying on site with 24/7 medical care greatly reduces the unpleasant symptoms associated with withdrawal. Our expert medical team evaluates every client and creates an individual detox plan that provides our patients with the best chance of success.
  • IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program): Desert Mountain Health’s IOP allows patients to detox in their own homes with careful guidance from our trained medical professionals. Although these clients are not housed within our facility, they use similar treatment plans to detox as comfortable as possible.
  • Individual and Group Therapy: Our master’s level therapists counsel clients in both individual and group therapy throughout their medical detox. Individual therapy allows clients to discuss the emotions, feeling and thoughts that often rise to the surface in recovery. In group therapy, clients come together to discuss their recovery journey, supporting and guiding one another through this difficult time.
  • ​Family Program: Our family program allows clients and their families to connect on a deeper level and discuss the struggles that have come from the client’s addiction. The program brings loved ones closer together after addiction may have torn them apart.
  • Wellness Programs: Desert Mountain Health’s wellness programs help keep our clients on track to a happier, healthier future. By implementing lifestyle changes, like healthy eating and physical exercise, clients find more long term success in recovery.
  • Addiction Medical Services: One of the biggest advantages to a medical detox at Desert Mountain Health is the many medical services offered to clients during their stay. From IV nutrients to highly qualified doctors, nurses and therapists on site at all times, there are less adverse effects when detoxing here.
  • & More!​