Alcohol addiction continues to take lives, divide families, wreck careers, and ruin health. It can also be terribly difficult to admit a dependence on alcohol. After all, everybody drinks, right? It certainly seems that way; a 2015 national survey estimates that almost 90 percent of American adults drink alcohol. It’s also estimated that 6.2 percent of American adults (that’s 15.1 million people) are alcoholics, the majority untreated.

Why? First, alcohol is legal for adults, and it’s a widely accepted part of celebrations, social events, business deals, even the family dinner. It’s so easy to fall into regular patterns of alcohol use without realizing you’ve become dependent. You don’t need to drink every day to become addicted to alcohol. You don’t need to fall down and slur your words and neglect your appearance to be diagnosed with alcohol use disorder.

Here are the questions you need to ask yourself, and answer honestly:

  • Have there ever been times when you wound up having a few more drinks than you meant to, or you stayed and drank longer than you ever intended to?
  • Have there ever been times that you decided it would be a good idea to cut down on your drinking, but you couldn’t make it last?
  • If you add up the hours you spend drinking, plus the hours you spend recovering from drinking, does it seem like your alcohol use takes a lot of your time?
  • Have you ever craved a drink? In other words, felt a strong physical urge that felt almost impossible to ignore or resist?
  • Have you found that drinking (or being hung over) has kept you from picking up the kids at practice, or caused you to miss a meeting, or interfered in any way with your family or work obligations?
  • Do you continue to drink, even after you realize it’s messing up your relationships with your family or your friends, or causing you trouble with coworkers?
  • Would you rather drink than play tennis or go out to dinner or hang out with friends? In other words, has drinking led you to give up activities that once meant a lot for you?
  • While you’re drinking, do you take risks? Do you drive drunk, or have unprotected sex, or lose awareness of your own safety or the safety of others?
  • Have you ever blacked out while drinking?
  • Do you keep drinking, even though it makes you feel depressed or makes another health problem worse?
  • Do you have to drink more to feel any effects?
  • Have you ever experienced withdrawal symptoms when you go without alcohol for longer than normal? These might include nausea, sweating, shakiness, mood swings, sleep disturbances, or even hallucinations.

Answering yes to any of those questions could indicate you’ve already begun to develop a dependence on alcohol. Answering yes to several of them? You know the answer. You need to get help immediately. At Elan Recovery + Wellness, we can begin helping you right away, with an individualized treatment plan to put your alcohol use behind you, to regain your health and restore your relationships.

Alcohol Use and Addiction

Alcoholism is a chronic disease that can affect individuals of all ages and create changes in mood and behavior; it can also be the cause of other related health concerns. The effects of alcohol use vary widely, depending on how much a person drinks, their age, their medical history, and even their family history and genetic background.

Repeated alcohol use can cause:

  • Stroke
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Cancer of the liver
  • High blood pressure
  • Pancreatitis

Alcoholism touches not only the individual but also their friends, acquaintances, family members and even their employers. It’s a disease that is treatable with professional help, and it is possible to overcome.

Alcohol Withdrawal

We can’t stress this highly enough: An individual withdrawing from severe alcohol addiction must be professionally supervised, as symptoms may be severe and last for several days or weeks and can, in some cases, be fatal.

Withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Sleeplessness
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Shakiness and tremors
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Seizures

Elan partners with a number of highly reputable inpatient detox facilities, as detox is often indicated in the early stages of treatment for alcoholism. Later, when your body has begun to recover, the transition to outpatient treatment at Elan will be as seamless as we can make it.

How Elan Treats Alcohol Addiction

At Elan Recovery + Wellness, we use a number of treatment methods to help our guests understand, manage, and emerge from addiction to alcohol, as well as any co-occurring mental health conditions:

  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Biofeedback
  • Addiction education
  • AA meetings
  • Adaptive testing software, which helps us assess your mental health daily
  • Complete evaluation by a psychiatrist
  • If indicated, psychotropic medication to rebalance the brain chemistry
  • Weekly visits with our staff psychiatrist
  • Management of medications by our advanced psychiatric nurse practitioner

Am I an Alcoholic?

Do you think you might be dependent on alcohol? Take a free, confidential assessment. Don’t put it off one more day. Find out.