What is Alcohol Use Disorder or Alcoholism?
Alcohol use Disorder is a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by loss of control of amounts of alcohol consumed, compulsive drinking, and a negative emotional state when not drinking. It is progressive, which means that it gets worse over time.
According to SAMSHA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, there were 17 million Americans with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) in 2014. Unfortunately only a small fraction of those who have an AUD get help. Most people with an Alcohol Use Disorder can beneﬁt from an alcoholism treatment program, but less than 10% actually receive any form of treatment.
Science is learning more and more about alcoholism and addiction. We know that alcohol use and abuse causes neuro-adaptive changes to the brain. It aﬀects the pleasure/reward center of the brain, the VTA, or ventral tegmental area, and the loop between the VTA and the amygdala. The VTA responds to the pleasurable eﬀects of life sustaining activators, such as food and sex, but also to drugs and alcohol. The amygdala is associated with stress and anxiety. When this loop is activated it causes the brain to excessively produce neurochemicals that promote continued and excessive alcohol intake. Drinking aﬀects the brain’s neurotransmitters GABA, glutamate, and dopamine. Each has it’s own function and when alcohol is consumed each reacts diﬀerently. GABA, which is inhibitory, has eﬀects that are increased, causing sluggish movements, slow reactions and slurred speech. Glutamate is suppressed, which also causes other physiological slowing, and dopamine is increased, causing the pleasurable feelings and euphoria that occurs when drinking. The cerebral cortex is aﬀected, causing impaired thought processing and decreased inhibitions.The cerebellum controls movement and balance and is impaired by alcohol, causing stumbling and poor coordination. Even autonomic functions like breathing and body temperature are depressed by alcohol and this can be life threatening. Memory lapses or “blackouts” can occur and, over time, repetitive and excessive alcohol consumption can cause severe and permanent brain damage. When alcohol is consumed frequently in large quantities over time, the brain adapts and needs more and more alcohol to have the same eﬀect, while activating neurons that create the craving for more. When the alcohol consumption is stopped, the brain struggles to balance the neurochemical reactions, causing symptoms of withdrawal. It can take months or years for the brain to recover and some damage may be permanent.
What are the symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder?
Beachway goes beyond the 12 Steps. We match every individual with a therapy team and customized treatment plan that can include the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-Step Program and other therapies, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), group therapy, individual therapy, senior and other holistic modalities. There’s no one-size-fits-all treatment program, which is why we provide a variety of proven, interactive therapies that include services such as therapeutic excursions, equine therapy, yoga, art therapy and full spa services. We also offer family therapy to help loved ones recover during this process and to begin mending relationships that have been severed by addiction.
- Alcohol is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.
- There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control alcohol use.
- A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain alcohol, use alcohol, or recover from its effects.
- Craving, or a strong desire or urge to use alcohol.
- Recurrent alcohol use resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home.
- Continued alcohol use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of alcohol.
- Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of alcohol use.
- Recurrent alcohol use in situations in which it is physically hazardous.
- Alcohol use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by alcohol.
- Tolerance, as defined by either of the following:
- A need for markedly increased amounts of alcohol to achieve intoxication or desired effect
- A markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of alcohol.
- Withdrawal, as manifested by either of the following:
- The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for alcohol
- Alcohol (or a closely related substance, such as a benzodiazepine) is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.
The presence of at least 2 of these symptoms indicates an alcohol use disorder (AUD).
Do I need treatment?
That is a question that you, your family and your doctor should discuss. Most people that suﬀer from Alcohol Use Disorder will beneﬁt from treatment. The level of treatment you may need depends on many factors. A candid discussion with professionals and our helpline staﬀ can also assist you in making that decision. Some challenges that may inﬂuence you are:
- Work, school, or family responsibilities – inpatient treatment is typically 30 to 60 days, which may be diﬃcult for some people.
- Cost and insurance – though insurance usually covers treatment the cost is often a consideration. There are ﬁnancing options available.
- Feeling restricted with inpatient vs. having more freedom in outpatient – considering what will be most supportive to your recovery is crucial.
- Questioning and denial – this is a common challenge for people suﬀering from Alcoholism. If you think you might have a problem, you probably do. Everyone that goes down the path to recovery faces diﬀerent levels of readiness to change. As an old adage says “You don’t have to take the elevator all the way to the basement.” The sooner you admit you need help, the better your chances are for a full and lasting recovery.
With these and other factors it is important to carefully consider what is best for you individually and what will give you the best outcome. Your recovery is what is most important, as relapse and continued deterioration will only make things worse over the long term. You want this to be your last alcoholism treatment program!
How do I choose an Alcohol Rehab Center?
You may have looked at other alcohol rehab facilities or possibly been to treatment before. So what makes one program better than another? How can you be sure you are choosing the right alcohol rehab center? How long is treatment? Of course, these are very critical questions and very individual. You deserve the best possible treatment to insure your best recovery. Let’s go over some of the diﬀerences and help you consider what is right for you.
Inpatient vs. Outpatient
Inpatient (Residential Treatment) is an alcohol treatment program that gives you the opportunity to fully focus on your recovery. A comprehensive alcohol addiction rehabilitation program provides a safe, supportive environment with the level of evidence-based therapy necessary to address alcohol addiction, along with any co-occurring disorders, and provides family support, as well as case management and comprehensive after-care planning. A holistic approach to alcohol therapy provides additional services to add to your overall comfort and well-being and a better treatment outcome. Inpatient treatment also gives you the break from the stressors of life that may contribute to your drinking, as well as an alcohol-free environment. Typically inpatient lasts anywhere from 30 to 60 days. It is often covered by most health insurance and you may qualify for short-term disability coverage if you have a policy through your employer or privately. Family Medical Leave (FMLA) may also be applicable and even ﬁnancing can be an option. Beachway’s helpline can answer questions regarding ﬁnances, costs and insurance, so call 877-284-0353, toll-free, to get conﬁdential answers to all your questions.
Intensive Outpatient (IOP) is an alcohol rehab treatment option for someone who may not be able to get away from work or family responsibilities and doesn’t need the level of care oﬀered by inpatient alcohol addiction rehabilitation. It is generally less expensive than residential treatment, but you are not provided housing and the hours of treatment are much less. Usually, programs are 3 times per week for 3 three hours and are often oﬀered during evening hours, so you can work during the day, but you also have to deal with the temptations of being exposed to alcohol. Some alcohol therapy centers oﬀer “sober living” or transitional housing, but you will have to pay separately for that, and insurance will not cover it. Beware of programs that tell you if you sign up for their IOP program insurance will pay for your housing; it may be an illegal oﬀer that sounds good, but won’t help you with your recovery and could make matters worse. IOP with transitional, sober housing is frequently a step-down level of care following inpatient treatment and can be very helpful in many cases for people transitioning from inpatient treatment.
Since it is critical to get the appropriate level of care to ensure the best outcome, it is worth thinking it through carefully. Although outpatient may sound easier and you may think “I’m not that bad to need inpatient” it is far better to get a professional opinion and make the right choice. Your life may depend on it! Call us now on our toll-free helpline at 877-284-0353 for help making this crucial decision.
Reasons to Choose Beachway
As one of the top-rated alcohol rehab facilities in the country, Beachway oﬀers a staﬀ of highly trained, expert and veteran professionals. The combination of expert medical care, luxurious amenities and a serene and relaxing environment, make your treatment a supportive and healing experience.
- The delivery of evidence based therapeutic modalities by the ﬁnest and most experienced therapists and medical team in the ﬁeld create a comprehensive program that has given us the highest ratings as an alcohol rehab center and addiction treatment program.
- Beachway has the years of experience and stability as one of the best South Florida alcohol rehab facilities and is a leader in the treatment industry.
- Accredited by the Joint Commission, the “gold standard” in national accreditation for hospitals and treatment facilities, we meet the highest level of standards. Beachway is also accredited by CARF, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, the leader in international accreditation. Regulated by the Department of Children and Families in the State of Florida, Beachway Therapy Center’s alcohol rehab facility continuously exceeds the standards required by the State.
- Dual-diagnosis treatment – Beachway treats other co-occurring disorders that may accompany alcoholism, while treating the Alcohol Use Disorder. Anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and other behavioral health concerns often co-occur with alcohol addiction. If left untreated, this often leads to relapse. Treating all co-occuring disorders insures a better recovery outcome from alcohol use disorder.
- Holistic approach – Beachway’s alcohol rehab facility recognizes that the whole person needs healing and oﬀers a wide range of treatment options that address body, mind and spirit. Our meals and nutritional programs reﬂect our concern for healthy eating, our recreational therapy oﬀers sober fun and ﬁtness and our spiritual programs sooth the soul. Art, drama and music promote creative expression and yoga, massage, and chiropractic care provide healing for the body.
- Continuity of care – from detox to aftercare Beachway Therapy Center’s Florida alcohol rehab provides comprehensive, custom care for alcohol addiction rehabilitation.
- Individualized care – our low therapist/client ratio with your primary therapist, who you will meet with individually and in groups several times a week, gives you the individual attention that you deserve.
- Accommodations and Facility – Beachway boasts a luxurious, tropical environment in beautiful Palm Beach County, Florida. Peaceful, private and comfortable, resort-like accommodations create a supportive, nurturing, and healing setting. Our limited alcohol rehab facility admissions provides attentive care and a boutique, spa-type atmosphere.
- Personalized and unique treatment options – individualized treatment plans and elective programs are tailored to the speciﬁc needs and medical requirements of each client. Our faith-based programs include Christian Bible study, prayer and meditation and 12 Step participation is available and encouraged.
So, take time to do some research. Speak to the staﬀ at Beachway and to the staﬀ at any other alcohol rehab center you may be considering. If possible, tour the facility. At Beachway, a family owned, Florida alcohol rehab, we want you to learn ﬁrst hand about all the beneﬁts we oﬀer and speak to our knowledgeable and professional staﬀ to see the Beachway diﬀerence. Call us now and get the help you need today.