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Millions of families in America struggle to cope with the side effects of alcohol use disorder (AUD). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Each year in the United States, more than 95,000 people die from alcohol-related causes, making it the third leading preventable cause of death in our country.” Despite these statistics, drinking excessively is often seen as acceptable social behavior. Early intervention and treatment are essential to protect individuals and their families from the dangers of substance misuse. Lighthouse Recovery Texas offers evidence-based holistic substance abuse treatment for individuals with AUD

Does Drinking Socially Put Me at Risk? 

America’s drinking problem has worsened since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), “[I]n 2019, 25.8 percent of people ages 18 and older . . . reported that they engaged in binge drinking in the past month.” Binge drinking increases an individual’s risk of the following: 

  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Dependency and addiction 
  • Being involved in a car accident or other serious injury 
  • Self-harm or suicide 
  • Sexual assault 
  • Domestic violence 

Binge drinking is socially acceptable in many areas of the country, and the media commonly depicts it positively. However, even a single instance of binge drinking can potentially cause severe health issues. If you drink socially, you have a higher risk of bingeing and developing addictive behaviors. 

Why Do Some People Have Difficulty Controlling Their Drinking? 

Not everyone who drinks socially or regularly binge drinks will develop a dependency or addiction. AUD is a brain disease, and some people have different biological reactions to alcohol based on factors like race, age, and gender. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), “The biological basis of addiction helps to explain why people need much more than good intentions or willpower to break their addictions.” AUD is not a moral failing despite the prevalence of this belief. Physical changes in the brain cause dependency and addictive behaviors.

Although scientists are not entirely sure why some people develop alcohol addiction and others do not, common risk factors include:

  • Genetics 
  • Family history of substance misuse or AUD 
  • Environmental factors 
  • Peer pressure 
  • Chronic medical issues
  • Frequent drinking over a long period of time 
  • Depression and other mental health disorders 
  • Drinking at a young age 
  • Certain medical procedures, including bariatric surgery 
  • Witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event 

AUD is a disease that can affect anyone regardless of socioeconomic status, gender, or age. 

Is It Dangerous to Stop Drinking “Cold Turkey”?

Alcohol and drug detox is dangerous if you try it without the oversight of trained professionals. If you stop drinking “cold turkey” in an attempt to achieve sobriety, the side effects will depend on the severity of your condition and the presence of any co-occurring health issues. The symptoms of withdrawal exist along a spectrum from mild to severe.

Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms and side effects include: 

  • Memory issues and difficulty focusing 
  • Anxiety
  • Excessive sweating 
  • Muscle tremors or weakness 
  • Change in appetite
  • Unusual irritability and restlessness 
  • Headache or migraine 
  • Muscle aches 
  • Sleep disturbances and insomnia 
  • Increased heart rate
  • Vomiting and nausea 

It is dangerous to abstain from drinking after a long period of alcohol misuse. In addition, co-occurring conditions may complicate detox and recovery. Many people with chronic AUD are malnourished or have other health issues that can cause them to develop extreme withdrawal symptoms, including: 

  • Cognitive deterioration
  • Vision problems 
  • Psychosis and hallucinations 
  • Seizures

What Treatment Options Are Available? 

A professional assessment is necessary to determine the best treatment approach. Lighthouse Recovery Texas provides comprehensive assessments and treatment recommendations for individuals struggling with alcohol addiction. Environmental factors and family history of substance misuse also play a part in determining whether you will benefit most from residential or outpatient treatment. 

Most treatment programs for AUD include the following: 

  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) 
  • Individual and group therapy 
  • Prescription medications to manage withdrawal symptoms 
  • Self-help or 12-Step meetings 

We offer unique treatment services, including a recovery coach, to keep our clients on track with their recovery. Our team meets every client where they are today and provides compassionate support throughout treatment and early recovery. 

Does Outpatient Treatment Work for Alcohol Addiction?

Addiction treatment centers use evidence-based methods to assist individuals diagnosed with AUD. Many people in recovery cannot leave pets or family members, and some individuals have work or personal responsibilities that do not allow them to enter residential treatment programs. Lighthouse Recovery Texas offers comprehensive intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) and partial hospitalization programs (PHPs). We have created custom treatment plans for every level of care to ensure our clients have access to essential recovery services. 

Not everyone with AUD can safely go through withdrawal in an outpatient setting, and our team can help clients determine if they require inpatient detox and withdrawal treatment. We offer referrals to high-quality inpatient and residential programs when appropriate.

Alcohol is among the most addictive substances regularly misused by the general public. Unfortunately, due to the social acceptance of alcohol misuse in America, many people don’t understand the realities of AUD. If left untreated, alcohol dependency and addiction can cause significant health issues. In many cases, people may be unaware they have a problem until they have difficulty controlling how much they drink or experience severe health side effects. Lighthouse Recovery Texas can help you heal from the damaging effects of alcohol misuse. We provide addiction recovery services for individuals in and around the Dallas, Texas, area. To learn more about our facility and programs, call us today at (214) 396-0259.