Alcohol Abuse and Addiction: What Coloradoans Should Know December 5th, 2019 The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake
Blog & News Alcohol Abuse and Addiction: What Coloradoans Should Know

Alcohol Abuse and Addiction: What Coloradoans Should Know

Colorado alcohol rehab

Americans are drinking more, and for some people, this drinking leads to an unhealthy addiction to alcohol. According to NBC News, there has been an increase in college drinking and also an “increase among women drinking more heavily.” High alcohol use is the third leading cause of death in the US, and it leads to 80,000 deaths every year, according to The Gazette. While these numbers are large, they often do not cover teen drinking, which is also a huge health issue. 

For those in Colorado who are concerned about their own heavy drinking or binge drinking or that of their friends or family members, there is treatment available. Colorado alcohol rehab facilities provide exceptional care to help people break the habit of addiction and meet their many needs without relying on alcohol use.

Alcohol Use in Colorado

The health of Colorado’s population is suffering due to alcohol use; in fact, according to NBC News, some of the counties with the highest rates of any type of drinking include Summit, Routt, and Pitkin County. Since alcohol is often used socially, resort communities can have higher levels of heavy drinking and binge drinking. Almost half of Colorado’s college-aged population admits to binge drinking at least once a month, and one in five residents in all age categories binge drinks.

Binge drinking can lead to inappropriate behavior like driving under the influence or unplanned sexual activity, something that can have consequences that can impact the rest of an individual’s life. It also leads to direct health problems. Thus, there is a great need for Colorado alcohol rehab programs.

Types of Alcohol Abuse

Binge drinking and heavy drinking can both be serious health problems for individuals. Binge drinking occurs less frequently than heavy drinking, but it is more intense; more than four drinks for a woman or five for a man is considered to be binge drinking. Binge drinking can lead to serious and immediate health impacts like alcohol poisoning or loss of consciousness. It can also lead to difficult social situations, impact families and friends, and put the drinker in danger.

Then there is heavy drinking. People may be surprised to learn that they are actually heavy drinkers; the threshold is more than a drink per day for women and two for men. While heavy drinking might not be as visible as binge drinking, it can cause health problems over time as well, particularly liver damage.

What Are the Risk Factors for Alcohol Abuse?

What predisposes some people to abuse alcohol while others remain free from addiction? It is not because they are weak people or bad people. Often, it is because of an underlying problem.

Many people struggle with mental illness. Usually, the mental health problem appears first, and then the alcohol problem appears as a method to cope with mental illness. For example, someone who has PTSD and abuses alcohol to try and cope with the pain or triggers of mental illness could become addicted to alcohol instead.

Stress is also a trigger for alcohol use. A student who is worried about taking exams at school might engage in binge drinking to forget about the stress of exams. Unfortunately, that drinking could adversely affect the student’s performance, and if it becomes a habit, it could become an addiction. Finding new ways to manage stress is key to managing alcohol abuse as well.

People also use alcohol and drugs to avoid thinking about specific painful times in their lives. If they have suffered a lot of distress growing up or have experienced abuse, they might turn to drinking to forget. Unfortunately, the drinking is not healthy in the long term, nor does it necessarily block out all of the painful memories. Instead, it can lead to more interpersonal problems today, and the individual will have an even larger desire to turn to alcohol. It is a difficult cycle that becomes hard to break.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism

How do you know if you or any of your loved ones actually have a problem with alcohol? One guideline is the number of drinks you have per day or at one time. If you find that you are regularly having more than a drink or two per day or four or five at parties, then you could have a problem with alcohol. This varies by sex and age as well. Women should have no more than seven drinks per week and no more than three a day, and the same goes for seniors.

What is the difference between casual drinking and being an alcoholic?

  • Drinking is not something you just do socially; you do it when you are alone.
  • You experience drinking as pleasurable, but it is more engaging than other activities, and you start to place drinking over other responsibilities that you have in your life. When the fact that you have had too much to drink starts to interfere with everyday life, that is when you need to reassess whether it is a problem.
  • You have physical symptoms when you do not have alcohol for a while. This includes things like anxiety, a racing heart, nausea, twitching, sweating, and even seizures and hallucinations.
  • You feel terrible and guilty about drinking, but you cannot stop.
  • You feel irritatable when you do not have a drink.

Am I an Alcoholic?

One of the hardest questions to ask yourself is, “Am I an alcoholic?” You do not want to think that your behavior is outside the norm or that you need help, but you are beginning to think that you do have a problem.

You might not think that you are an alcoholic because you have a picture in your mind of what an alcoholic looks like. That person might look disheveled or dirty. He might be poor and not have a lot of friends or family around. However, even if that is not you, you can still be an alcoholic.

Even if you are functional in everyday life but you struggle to manage your desire to drink, have lost interest in doing other activities, or find yourself wondering about your moods, feelings, and decisions around drinking, you could be an alcoholic. It is better to seek treatment than to avoid it and have your troubles get worse. Treatment could improve your ability to cope with any underlying issues that have led to your alcohol abuse.

Is a Loved One an Alcoholic?

How can you tell if a friend or family member needs help? While binge drinking several times a month could be an obvious sign, it can be harder to tell sometimes as well. If relationships are becoming strained, you notice a family member retreating, and you notice that the person spends a lot of time buying or recovering from alcohol use, it could be a problem. If your friend is using alcohol in excess or seems to need more and more to get the same effect, then that could be a sign of a problem as well.

Sometimes, people hide their alcoholism quite effectively. If you notice a friend brushing his or her teeth a lot, appearing secretive or under the influence of alcohol at odd times of the day, being forgetful, unreliable, secretive, or unreachable, then that person might be having trouble with alcohol.

Colorado alcohol rehab

Talking with a counsellor can help you move through alcohol abuse and make plans to overcome your addiction.

Choosing a Treatment Option

There are many different options available for treatment for alcohol abuse and addiction. How do you choose what is right for you?

Look for a treatment option that takes a holistic approach to care. For instance, your treatment program should not just focus on the physical needs that you have during recovery. It should also consider your emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs as well. As you recover from alcohol addiction, you need to have everything unify to prevent you from focusing on your addiction, and that includes everything from eating healthy food to understanding the meaning in your life.

Consider what level of care you need at the beginning. Do you need to go to a residential facility for a time to go through the physical aspects of withdrawing from chronic alcohol use? Would you benefit from living onsite to work intensively on the emotional, psychological, and spiritual aspects of alcohol addiction? Are there other treatment options such as partial hospitalization that allow you to continue with some aspects of your life, such as staying off-site in your own residence? Visit a treatment center and consult your doctor to talk about what options are right for you or your loved one.

Treatment Should Address Mental Health

Treatment options should also look at some of the underlying causes of addiction. For instance, many people with addiction issues are also suffering from mental health challenges such as depression or anxiety. The treatment program that you choose should have professionals who understand how to work with those who have mental health challenges so that you or your loved one can be treated holistically, with an understanding of all of the factors that work into your alcohol addiction.

Looking at Long-Term Treatment

Treatment does not end when you move out of a residential treatment facility.  In fact, some of the most challenging work of creating and maintaining an alcohol-free lifestyle happens when you leave your residential treatment program.

What do you need to consider when you are looking for long-term options to maintain sobriety?

  • Access to individual and group counseling opportunities, so that you can continue to receive support and work through the challenges that led you to alcohol addiction and the triggers that challenge you during your personal journey of recovery. For example, at The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake, “patients work with counselors on relapse prevention, either in personal sessions or via telemedicine, a cutting-edge method of providing clients clinical health care at a distance.”
  • Support groups, so that you can find community in your recovery and engage with others who have faced similar difficulties in the past.
  • Recreational programs, so that you can relax and develop new, positive coping strategies that will help you maintain an alcohol-free lifestyle.
  • Sober housing. If you are looking for a new place to live that will allow you to participate in your everyday life but do so from a place of sobriety, learn more about the sober housing options near your home.

Treatment Options in Colorado

What are your options for Colorado alcohol rehab? There are a number of different options available to you.

  • Residential treatment can be key to overcoming the different physical symptoms of alcohol abuse, such as anxiety and sweating. It is also available with a selection of different amenities such as art therapy or yoga. While these might seem like extras, this type of exploration can be therapeutic.
  • Part-time treatment programs allow you to stay in your own home while attending during the day. A program like this can be less expensive and more accessible for those who have family commitments, yet it offers many of the different services and amenities of residential treatment, such as counseling.
  • Sober housing is a follow up to your inpatient treatment, and you can use it to find a group of new and supportive neighbors and friends, all of whom are recovering from addiction themselves. It provides a stable base from which you can rebuild your life or build a new one.

If you think that you might need to use a selection of support options for yourself or your loved one, look for a single organization that can provide this support.  That way, you do not need to look very far to move on to the next step in your treatment journey.

Imagine what your life would be like without alcohol addiction. When you are looking for treatment options in the Colorado area, talk with The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake. We are here to help you through the process of addiction recovery. If you are looking for a treatment option that offers a wide variety of amenities and continuing care after you have completed the residential part of your treatment program, contact us today.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.