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What is Alcohol Addiction?

Drinking too much alcohol can lead to many physical, mental, and psychological issues for users. According to the Centers for Disease Control, almost one hundred thousand Americans die annually from excessive alcohol use.1

Alcohol addiction is a condition that is characterized by excessive drinking, which usually leads to the user relying on it to be able to get through their day. An alcohol substance abuse disorder can also point to an inability to manage alcohol use brought on by a physical and emotional reliance on the substance.

Statistics on Alcoholism

Most adults – and some teenagers – in the United States have had a drink at some point in their lives. 6.7% of these individuals will go on to acquire an alcohol-related disorder. Here are some more alcohol-related stats:2
  • In the last 30 days, about 26% of people over 18 have admitted to binge drinking.
  • 80% of those who die in alcohol-related accidents are over 35.
  • Alcohol is a factor in the deaths of 10% of those aged 15 to 49.
  • Alcohol consumption kills an estimated three million individuals throughout the world each year.
  • More than 5% of fatalities worldwide are attributable to alcohol use or abuse.
  • Alcohol is responsible for 13.5% of the fatalities of those aged 20 to 39.
  • Alcoholism kills males three times more often than it does women.

What Causes Alcohol Addiction?

How alcohol affects the body and behavior is influenced by several variables, such as genetic, social, psychological, and environmental factors. Specific hypotheses contend that some people are predisposed to alcoholism, which explains why some people develop alcohol use disorders more quickly than others. Alcohol may affect the brain's ability to process judgment, pleasure, and behavior when used often.

alcohol addiction rehab

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Risk Factors of Alcohol Addiction

Although alcohol use often starts in adolescence, an alcohol substance abuse disorder is more often seen in adults in their 20s and 30s. However, people of any age might be affected by the condition. The following are risk factors for alcohol use disorder:

Drinking Steadily

Alcohol addiction sometimes results from drinking excessively or frequently binging during nights out with friends or in other situations.

Drinking From a Young Age

There is an increased chance of developing an alcohol use problem in those who start drinking at a young age.


If a parent or another family member struggles or has struggled with alcoholism, the chance of developing an alcohol use disorder increases. In certain cases, this may be due to hereditary causes.

Psychological Issues

Depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, and bipolar disorder are just a few mental health conditions often associated with alcohol abuse and AUD.


Drinking alcohol may lead to addiction in those who have experienced past trauma.

Socio-Economic and Cultural Influences

One’s likelihood of developing an alcohol use disorder may increase if they have friends, coworkers, a significant other, or parents who use alcohol often. The media also often portrays alcohol positively, which may promote excessive drinking.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction

When you drink for a lengthy period, you may need more alcohol than you used to in order to become intoxicated. This is called developing a tolerance, and this is when signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction can start to set in.

Short-Term Physical Symptoms

Short-term physical indications of alcohol addiction include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Stuttering
  • Malnutrition
  • Coordination or walking issues
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Hangovers
  • Dementia
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Heart attack
  • Cirrhosis and liver damage

Long-Term Physical Symptoms

Long-term physical signs can include:

  • Seizures
  • Brain damage
  • Hypertension
  • Anemia
  • Heart attack
  • Infertility
  • Gout
  • Immune system weakness
  • Osteoporosis

Psychological Symptoms

Various mental health issues may be exacerbated or even caused by addiction symptoms. These include:

  • Inability to quit drinking
  • Use and misuse of alcohol despite health difficulties
  • Needing the substance or behavior to cope with challenges
  • Obsession with drinking
  • Alcohol risk-taking
  • Drinking more than normal in order to feel good

Short-Term Behavioral Symptoms

Addicts change their behavior to disguise their consumption from family members. Short-term behavioral symptoms include:

  • Excessive risk-taking
  • Aggressiveness
  • Sexual risk, like having sex without protection
  • Driving irresponsibly

Long-Term Behavioral Symptoms

Long-term behavioral changes may include:

  • Drinking alone frequently
  • Drinking before participating in anxiety-inducing activities, such as socializing
  • Denying that they have a drinking issue
  • Secretiveness
  • Avoiding friends and relatives
  • Not doing things they used to find joy in
  • Problems at home, work, or school
  • Early morning drinking
  • Legal issues are brought on by public drunkenness, violence, or drunk driving

How is Alcohol Addiction Diagnosed?

When you contact a doctor or addiction expert about your drinking issue, you'll complete an intake evaluation to establish what kind of care you require. The physician will first inquire about your drinking patterns and other pertinent health information.

You may also require a medical or psychiatric assessment. If you're not currently in rehabilitation, the doctor may recommend you to one. Mental health professionals in the United States use the DSM-5 to diagnose alcohol use disorders, along with other mental health problems.3

Different Types of Alcohol Addiction Rehab Programs

There are various ways to get help for alcoholism and recovery. Your decision will be mostly influenced by the degree of help you may need.

Alcohol Detoxification

The process of getting addictive substances out of the body is by detoxing. This is often the first part of any substance abuse care plan. Alcohol detox programs run under the direction of drug treatment specialists are often the safest and most effective ones.

Residential or Inpatient Rehab

Both inpatient and outpatient alcohol addiction rehab and talk therapy are available in recovery programs. Inpatient or residential rehab is when you spend the full treatment term living at a facility. It offers around-the-clock supervision in addition to other crucial recovery programs.

Outpatient Rehab

In an outpatient program, patients are able to attend therapy programs during the day but spend the evenings at home. This flexible structure helps patients be able to both attend the rehab programs they need while still providing for their family or going to work.

Alcohol Addiction Rehab Program

A rehabilitation program may include medication and talk therapy, whether inpatient or outpatient.


There are several alcohol treatment drugs, but the most frequent ones are Acamprosate, Disulfiram, and Naltrexone. In addition to medications, psychotherapy may be useful in treating alcohol use disorders.

Behavioral Therapy

Common behavioral treatments for alcohol abuse include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and dialectical-behavioral therapy (DBT).

CBT is usually regarded as the most effective kind of psychotherapy during alcohol addiction rehab. CBT integrates cognitive and behavioral strategies to assist patients in recognizing and resolving their thinking patterns, which often impact their behavior and contribute to alcohol addiction.

For DBT, the term "dialectic" refers to the presence of opposites. So, DBT teaches people two contradictory concepts: acceptance (i.e., that your feelings and behaviors are legitimate) and transformation (i.e., you can make a positive change to manage these emotions and behaviors and move forward).

Interpersonal Therapy

This type of therapy is a short-term treatment that typically lasts between three to four months. Some therapists believe that addictions and mental diseases stem from connection deficits or role conflicts and that repairing these relationships is crucial to recovery.

Family Counseling

Family therapy may assist family members in enhancing communication and resolving disputes. Specific treatment strategies will depend on the circumstances of each family. It may involve the whole household or those who are ready and willing to join.

Aftercare Programs

The phrase "aftercare" refers to any continuing or follow-up care for drug misuse after an initial rehabilitation program. These can include:

  • 12-Step Meetings: By organizing peer groups, these 12-step programs aim to help people obtain and maintain abstinence from drugs and alcohol.
  • Individual or Group Psychotherapy: Individual therapy and group therapy are quite different from one another. Individual therapy is conducted with only one patient and one therapist, where several patients and therapists are often present in group therapy. Generally, group treatment requires a minimum of five patients and a maximum of fifteen participants.4
alcohol addiction rehab

Rehab for Alcohol Addiction in Arizona

Treatment is not as easy as many people think, but it is necessary if you want to heal from addiction to alcohol and attain total sobriety.

Does Alcohol Addiction Rehab Work?

There is no one answer to this question, as each person's experience with an alcohol addiction treatment program is unique. What matters is whether or not the individual in need of treatment can fully commit to sobriety and engage in the complete program given by their rehab center.

How Long is Alcohol Addiction Rehab?

Some concerns that spring to mind while considering the timetable of alcohol rehabilitation are how long it will take to overcome addiction and what variables may alter rehab duration.

The short answer is that each one is distinct and influenced by various circumstances. Depending on the acuteness of a patient’s disorder, they have a choice of three basic therapy treatment lengths that vary from one month, two months, or three months, most commonly.

Sober living homes and halfway houses are examples of long-term treatment options in case patients need more assistance and care after rehab is over.

Does Insurance Cover Treatment?

Regarding alcoholism treatment in the United States, most people should be covered by their health insurance plan. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, alcohol is deemed an essential service.5

Care at Anew Treatment Center

If you or anyone you love are grappling with an alcohol substance use disorder, please contact the Anew Treatment Center immediately! We will be with you every step of the way during recovery.

Learn More About Our Treamtment Programs

Our team is ready to discuss your treatment options with you. Your call is confidential with no obligation is required.