Alcohol addiction is not just a matter of someone enjoying a glass of wine with dinner or having a couple of drinks at a party. Alcohol addiction or alcohol use disorder is a physical and psychological dependence on alcohol that leads to compulsive alcohol use, regardless of the consequences. Alcoholism is a chronic, progressive disease that can lead to disabling physical and psychiatric problems. If left untreated, it can be fatal.
How Many Drinks A Day Is Considered Alcohol Abuse?
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking more than four drinks in a day for men or more than three drinks in a day for women is considered problem drinking. Alcohol intoxication is defined as a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above. This typically happens when men consume five or more drinks or when women consume four or more drinks in two hours. If you frequently drink to the point of intoxication, you may be suffering from alcohol abuse.
Alcohol Addiction Causes
The root causes of alcohol use disorder are difficult to pinpoint. For some people, alcohol addiction may be the result of genetic as well as environmental factors. If family members struggle with alcohol abuse and you are also exposed to the instability caused by their abuse, you may be more susceptible to alcohol addiction.
Others may become addicted after chronic alcohol abuse or frequent binge drinking that is in response to stress, social or other anxiety, as well as losses. Alcohol changes the brain’s chemistry and reward pathways, which increases the risk of addiction. Alcoholism may also develop after using alcohol to self-medicate for an underlying mental health condition.
Warning Signs of Alcohol Addiction
There are a number of signs and symptoms that can indicate someone is struggling with an addiction to alcohol. If you’re concerned that someone you know may be addicted to alcohol, look out for the following warning signs:
- Drinking more alcohol or for longer periods of time than intended
- Inability to cut down or stop drinking despite wanting to do so
- Spending a lot of time drinking, or recovering from drinking episodes
- Cravings for alcohol or strong urges to drink
- Prioritizing drinking alcohol over other commitments and responsibilities
- Continuing to drink even though it’s causing problems in relationships
- Drinking alcohol in dangerous situations, such as while driving or operating machinery
- Experiencing blackouts or memory loss as a result of drinking
- Needing to drink increasingly large amounts of alcohol to feel the desired effects (tolerance)
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not drinking, such as shaking, sweating, nausea, irritability, anxiety or depression
High Functioning Alcoholism
High functioning alcoholic is a term used to describe someone who is able to maintain a job and keep up appearances, despite struggling with alcohol addiction. While high functioning alcoholics may be able to maintain their jobs and relationships, they often do so at the expense of their health and well-being.
Signs of high functioning alcoholism can include drinking alone, hiding alcohol, feeling guilty about drinking, and drinking in spite of negative consequences. While high functioning alcoholism doesn’t seem like a big deal, it can become a serious issue the longer a person hides their addiction. High functioning alcoholics still experience the same negative effects as those whose lives unravel due to alcoholism.
Long-Term Effects of Drug Addiction
Alcohol addiction can cause a variety of physical and psychological problems. Alcohol addiction can also lead to social problems such as job loss and financial problems.
- Liver damage
- Brain damage
- Irregular heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Increased risk of cancer
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Virginia
If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction, it’s important to get help as soon as possible. Alcohol addiction treatment can be very effective, but it’s important to find the right program for your needs.
Our alcohol addiction treatment center in Virginia is located on a beautiful 400+ acre property near Richmond. We place a focus on individual therapy so we can treat the root cause of alcoholism. We also ensure you are receiving treatment unique to your needs which is why we offer a variety of treatment modalities including cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), trauma therapy, mindfulness coaching, and the 12 steps/AA.
If you are struggling with mild or moderate alcohol abuse, we offer online outpatient treatment. Our online intensive outpatient and partial hospitalization programs are flexible and effective in treating alcoholism.
Contact Us Today
If you are interested in learning more about our alcohol rehab options in Richmond, VA or online contact us today!