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Alcohol Addiction in Colorado
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Alcohol Addiction in Colorado

Alcohol addiction in Colorado is a serious condition that affects many people. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, almost 88,000 people die from some cause related to alcohol each year. Alcoholism affects people of all ages and income levels and in every walk of life.

What is Alcohol Addiction?

Millions of people drink alcoholic beverages and most of them never suffer from addiction. However, for some, addiction is the result from consuming too much alcohol too often. Addiction occurs as the brain reacts to the chemicals in the alcohol. The brain chemistry readjusts to accept the presence of the alcohol. When alcohol isn’t present in the system, it signals to the brain that something is wrong. The brain then begins to crave the alcohol and develop symptoms when it’s not present.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 7 percent of the adult American population have a drinking problem, which translates into just over 13 million people. Of those, 8 million are alcoholics, including people with alcohol addiction in Colorado.

This is the point when the person has become addicted to alcohol. It often happens over time. The person may drink too much and have a hangover, but turn around and drink in excess again. Some people join in binge drinking, and others turn to alcohol to deal with other problems, such as stress at work or a broken relationship.

Binge drinking is defined as having more than five drinks on a single occasion if you’re a man or four if you’re a woman, according to the Center for Disease Control. Someone who is a heavy drinker is classified as a person who has 8 or more drinks in a week for women or 15 for men. While most people who engage in binge drinking or are heavy drinkers aren’t alcoholics, it does increase the risk of addiction.

Abusing alcohol is often the first step to addiction because the person is consuming alcohol at inappropriate times at a high frequency. As the body becomes adjusted to the presence of alcohol, it becomes more difficult to function without it.

Withdrawal symptoms occur when the person doesn’t have access to alcohol. If the person attempts to stop drinking on their own, the brain sends a message to the system that something’s wrong. The system then exhibits symptoms that grow more severe until more alcohol is obtained. Most of the time, the person isn’t able to withstand the symptoms and gives in to consuming more alcohol to stop the withdrawal. It is because of the withdrawal symptoms that many people require formal treatment at a treatment center to overcome alcohol addiction.

 

Symptoms of Withdrawal

  • Depression
  • Shaking
  • Severe sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Hallucinations

How to Tell If Someone is Abusing Alcohol

Because drinking alcoholic beverages isn’t illegal and is often part of social gatherings, it can be hard to tell when someone has stepped over the line from drinking a little too much to abusing alcohol. The person may not have numerous drinks or even as many as others in the same situation. Sometimes it only takes one or two drinks to achieve the “buzz” the person is looking for. They soon learn which drinks have the highest concentration of alcohol. For example, wine contains a higher percentage of alcohol than beer at 11.6 percent over 4.5 percent. Liquor contains 37 percent.

What you will notice is that the person may drink at inappropriate times, such as first thing in the morning or before or even during work. They will drink even when they have to drive or operate heavy equipment. A person who is abusing alcohol usually drinks to deal with problems or negative emotions. They often miss family events or other appointments because they are drinking or hungover.

 

Treatment for Alcohol Abuse and Addiction

Many treatment facilities exist to help alcoholics overcome their problem. The first step is for them to get clean and sober, also referred to as detox. This process can last from a few days to more than a week, depending on how long and how much the person has been consuming alcohol.

During detoxification, the system is cleansed from all alcohol. It will go into withdrawal and exhibit symptoms that grow more severe until the body begins to readjust to normal. Treatment centers can prescribe medication to help with these symptoms until the worst has passed.

Staff also monitor the person going through withdrawal to make sure they don’t suffer any complications during detox. The medication can slow down the process to make it more bearable and to reduce the severity of withdrawal.

Once detox is complete, the person begins treatment. This part of recovery teaches them about addiction and helps them understand what led to their alcoholism. They learn how to handle stressful situations in the future without turning to alcohol. They will learn to recognize triggers and create a plan to avoid or deal with them. For instance, one trigger might be when a group of co-workers go to happy hour after work on Fridays. The alcoholic could ask one or two friends to go out to eat or play a sport instead.

 

Health Risks of Alcoholism

Alcohol abuse and addiction causes both short and long term results. For the short term, the person may become violent and unable to perform duties or care for others or oneself. They often cannot make decisions and have slower reaction times.

Long-term abuse of alcohol can lead to permanent damage. Liver damage, high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease are all effects of heavy drinking and abuse. Memory problems and emotional issues such as depression also occur because of alcoholism. Damaged relationships and job loss are other results frequently noted from alcohol abuse.

If you or a loved one are abusing alcohol or have become addicted, you can turn your life around with help. Seek out treatment from a facility that specializes in alcohol abuse and addiction and begin your recovery today.