For many years, alcoholism was thought to be nothing more than a character flaw or lack of willpower, but the perspective has changed with modern research methods. Alcoholism is now classified as a disease that physically alters one’s brain. Signs of alcoholism include ongoing episodes of heavy use and an inability for individuals to control their drinking.
Common causes of alcoholism are one’s genetics, past trauma, psychological problems, and societal pressure. While the path to sobriety may be difficult, Free by the Sea, an alcohol treatment facility in the State of Washington, utilizes cutting-edge methods to create permanent changes in one’s life.
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No single factor determines who will become an alcoholic. Many people develop this disease because of the genetics they have inherited from their families. Others will develop alcoholism with no other alcoholics in their families.
Most experts agree that alcoholism is a progressive condition that will continue to get worse until it is treated. Many people will consume heavy amounts of alcohol for a decade or longer without ever realizing that they’re actually alcoholics. As a result, these people will also go a decade or longer without realizing the effect that abusing alcohol has had on their bodies.
Others will go for 20 years or longer and not realize anything is wrong with them until a major medical issue takes place. Some of the most common physical effects of alcoholism and alcohol abuse include damage to one’s gastrointestinal, nervous, and cardiovascular systems. Over time, this damage will almost always be fatal.
The physical signs of alcoholism are easily recognizable by most adults. Some of these physical signs include:
In addition to all these signs of intoxication, everyone should realize that alcohol poisoning is extremely common as well as potentially fatal. Alcohol poisoning takes place when the amount of alcohol consumed severely depresses the respiratory system. Eventually, the person may stop breathing, which may lead to death.
Some alcoholics have the ability to cover up their alcohol use for a limited period of time while others will begin to show signs of alcoholism immediately. Most alcoholics display key signs of the disease.
An alcoholic will make the consumption of alcohol a central part of his or her life, often to the point where the alcoholic will neglect all other personal responsibilities. Some alcoholics will begin to recognize situations in which they’re likely to consume too much alcohol and will thus, carefully plan when and how they will drink. Some of the most common signs of alcoholism are as follows:
The regular abuse of alcohol will generally evolve into a full addiction when it’s treated within a short period of time. Physical dependency means that the alcoholic cannot break free from addiction even though he or she recognizes its negative consequences. After the first drink is taken, alcoholics will often have no control over how much they consume and how they act after becoming intoxicated.
Alcoholics will eventually focus on nothing else but obtaining and consuming more alcohol. This condition is now classified as a serious medical illness and will typically lead to side effects such as the following:
Anyone who is struggling with alcoholism must realize that he or she should never attempt to go “cold turkey” without professional supervision. The side effects of alcohol withdrawal can be very serious and result in medical complications. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are often a clear indicator that the addiction is severe and has progressed quite far. Some of the symptoms of withdrawing from alcohol are the following:
Abusing alcohol for a long period of time will produce a wide range of unwelcome side effects. Alcohol abuse will severely and negatively impact one’s emotional, mental, social, physical, and spiritual well-being without proper treatment. Along with creating a rift between family, friends, and loved ones, alcohol abuse will also damage vital organs and bodily functions including the following:
Another common trait found in alcoholics is denial about serious medical problems. Many alcoholics will attribute their health issues to other areas of their life such as stress or their family’s genes. While doing this, alcoholism will increase one’s risk for the following conditions:
In addition to these dangerous and potentially life-threatening medical problems, untreated alcoholism will almost always affect an individual socially and professionally. Showing up to work drunk or hungover will eventually become apparent to employers and will often result in termination.
The issue of losing one’s job due to alcoholism is further exacerbated as financial issues come into play. Over time, alcoholism may even cause marital problems or result in domestic violence within one’s family.
After consuming alcohol, an individual will eventually become drunk due to the presence of ethanol. Ethanol is a chemical that acts as a depressant and affects the brain and central nervous system.
Ethanol molecules begin to bind themselves to the GABA receptors in the human brain. Once they do this, they cause the brain to release chief inhibitory neurotransmitters.
The chemical processing of becoming intoxicated is actually one of the primary reasons why detoxification can be so dangerous without professional help. The liver is the body’s only option for filtering alcohol, turning it into less toxic chemicals, and then expelling it through the kidneys and lungs. Thus, long-term alcoholism will almost always cause irreversible damage to the liver.
Even though the negative consequences of alcohol abuse are apparent to most people, alcohol abuse is still extremely common throughout the world. Modern studies show that alcohol abuse is responsible for around 100,000 deaths every year in the United States and Canada. Some alcoholics will consume alcohol every day while others may find themselves binge drinking when stressed out, on the weekends, or during special occasions.
Scientists have not been able to pinpoint a precise cause of alcoholism, but they have been able to isolate some of the most common contributing factors. Genetics, mental health, and a person’s environment are generally considered to be the three biggest factors. That being said, two people can grow up in nearly identical families and still respond to alcohol differently.
Free by the Sea is an addiction treatment center with a beautiful campus, located on the Long Beach Peninsula in Ocean Park, WA. With 5 acres of beautiful land that faces the Pacific Ocean, there is no better location to receive addiction treatment at.
On top of the beautiful scenery that’s outside of our treatment center doors, we also provide a plethora of amenities within our treatment center for all of our patients. For example, our treatment center has multisports areas inside that include basketball courts and volleyball courts, along with an exercise room.
At Free by the Sea, our community of dedicated professionals is committed to providing care to all individuals with dignity and respect. To ensure that we do this, all of our substance abuse counselors are certified and all of our mental health therapists are licensed.
We also make sure to invest in the health of our patients. For example, our treatment center goes out of its way to provide nutritionally designed meals for all of our patients. That way their health can be restored.
Client-centered care that’s respectful of individual needs and concerns is the foundation of our approach. We adhere to evidence-based practices that are focused on successful outcomes for long-term recovery.
The type of addiction treatment services that we provide here at Free By the Sea includes everything from residential treatment, to partial hospitalization treatment, to intensive outpatient treatment, to outpatient treatment. We also provide dual diagnosis treatment and telehealth treatment. Thus, you can find a treatment program at our facility that will fit your schedule needs.
We also provide numerous types of therapy to help people treat their mental health and get to the root of their addiction issues. When it comes to aftercare, our treatment center provides countless 12 step meetings. Do yourself a favor and take advantage of these meetings after your addiction treatment is over.
No one should ever put off alcohol abuse treatment. This serious disease will almost always begin to impact every aspect of one’s life, as well as hurt those closest to the addicted individual.
In the end, alcohol will take everything from you and leave you with nothing but regrets if you allow it. That’s why it’s so important to be able to recognize the signs of alcoholism in yourself and others. If you recognize the signs of alcoholism quickly enough, you or your loved one can attend detox and addiction treatment and change the trajectory of your life in a positive way.
Attempting to beat an addiction to either drugs or alcohol on one’s own is not likely to be successful. People who are struggling with any addiction need to have access to a variety of services and specialists that can offer them the support that they need to make lifelong changes. Luckily, you can have access to all of those supportive services and specialists here at Free by the Sea. To learn more about the services that we offer here at Free by the Sea, contact us today. Our staff is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week to pick up your call.
Dr. Richard Crabbe joined our team in 2019 as our psychiatrist and medical director. He attended the University of Ghana Medical School where he became a Medical Doctor in 1977. From 1978 through 1984, he was a medical officer in the Ghana Navy and provided a variety of services from general medicine to surgeries. He received his Certificate in General Psychology from the American Board of Psychology and Neurology in 2002.