What Are the Ramifications of Alcoholism?

What Are the Ramifications of Alcoholism?

In 2020, over 850 deaths were caused by alcohol in New Jersey. In the United States overall, over 95,000 people die annually from alcohol-related causes. Additionally, alcohol use disorder (AUD) affects more than 14.5 million people in the United States, according to data from 2019. Despite these statistics, the risks involved in imbibing alcohol are not always considered, especially since alcohol is the most abused substance in the United States.

Alcohol is a drug. Period. While it is legal and the most commonly used, it is still incredibly dangerous and addictive. Individuals who abuse alcohol are also at risk of abusing other substances. Not only does it impair one's daily living, but the use of alcohol also puts one at heightened risk of being a victim of crime.

The abuse and misuse of alcohol have tragic consequences. Not only does drinking result in more accidents and crimes, but it also results in sexual assaults and overdoses as people mix medications or other substances with alcohol, sometimes not recognizing the risk.

There Is More Than One Type of Drinking

Many people think drinking is just something you do occasionally or do at parties. However, any form of drinking can be dangerous if an individual is not taking proper measures to ensure the safety of themselves and those around them.

According to data, over 56% of persons in New Jersey drink alcohol regularly. In addition, approximately 15% of persons in the state report binge drinking. Each of these drinking patterns can lead to alcoholism and other risky behaviors. Again, any form of drinking can be considered unsafe if you are unaware of the risks.

Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is drinking more than five drinks for a male (four drinks for a female) on one occasion. Binge drinking is often correlated with drunk driving and crime. Many accidents that are treated at trauma centers can be associated with alcohol misuse.

Binge drinking also puts a person at risk for developing AUD because they are also probably drinking regularly outside of episodes of binge drinking. These episodes of regular drinking combined with binge drinking have increased the person's tolerance and made them feel as if the alcohol does not affect them as much. Therefore, they are more likely to develop AUD and struggle to overcome the effects of alcoholism on their lives.

High-Intensity Drinking

A new form of drinking is found among younger persons called high-intensity drinking. This type of drinking involves drinking 2-3 times the amount specified in binge drinking, so individuals are drinking 10-15 alcoholic beverages in a row. This pattern of drinking also puts one at increased risk for the development of AUD.

What Is Alcohol Use Disorder?

AUD is a disorder in which a person is unable to quit or even cut down on their use despite the consequences.

Risks of Alcohol Use Disorder

There are many risks involved in AUD. Some involve blackouts, an impaired liver, and an increased risk of heart disease. Your body was not meant to be exposed to alcohol in such high amounts for so long. It is possible for some healing to take place, but not all damage can be reversed. AUD can be a fatal disease and is linked to many other health problems. For some, any amount of alcohol use can be dangerous. It is critical to know that alcohol is a drug and carries with its use multiple risks.

Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder

There are many symptoms of AUD, and it is generally diagnosed when you are experiencing just a few symptoms, as the likelihood of developing or not being aware of other symptoms is possible. You may notice that you are drinking more and more often than you want to or that you are experiencing blackouts. You may want to cut down on your drinking but find yourself unable to. Do not feel alone; help is available for AUD.

At Enlightened Solutions, our programs are made to meet you where you are and help you find a way to balance your life through sustainable solutions and holistic care. We want to help you find healthy ways to manage your stressors and build that life you desire. Yes, overcoming AUD is difficult, but we can help.

Treatment Is Necessary

Alcoholism or AUD is a costly and dangerous disease with far-reaching consequences for your health and daily living. It is critical to recognize when you have a problem with alcohol. While alcohol is legal for those over 21, it still can be misused and abused. You can become addicted to alcohol, but treatment is available.

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) or alcoholism is a dangerous disease that has many unintended consequences and not only for yourself. Alcohol is one of the most abused substances in the U.S. and has far-reaching consequences in many situations. If you or someone you know struggles with addiction to alcohol and/or other substances or behaviors, you are not alone. You do not have to struggle on your own any longer. At Enlightened Solutions, we know your addiction does not define you, and we want to see you become the person you are meant to be. You do not have to hide from your problems any longer. Reach out to us at Enlightened Solutions and ask how we can help you overcome alcohol use disorder and achieve the life you want. You deserve to live free from addiction. Call us today at (833) 801-LIVE


How to Identify Alcoholism in Young Adults

How to Identify Alcoholism in Young Adults

Alcohol is a substance widely used in the United States. In fact, studies show that 85.6 percent of adults over the age of 18 have had a drink at some point in their lives. Approximately 69.5 percent of these individuals had a drink in the last year, and just over half of them drank alcohol in the last month. This means that the majority of the population has engaged in some sort of drinking at some point, and many of them drink at least monthly.

With alcohol being so commonly consumed, it can be difficult to distinguish between casual, social drinking and something that may be of more concern. Drinking has come to be an expected part of social events, college activities, and celebrations, making it more widely accepted than ever. Alcohol is associated with almost any special occasion and is easily accessible for most people.

Things to Consider

It is important to be familiar with the signs and symptoms of alcoholism in order to detect when you or someone you care about may have a problem. However, alcoholism can present differently for different people. Some may exhibit obvious signs and symptoms, while others may strive for secrecy, desperate to hide their habit. Some may even appear as social drinkers who just tend to have a few too many at times.

Personality and lifestyle variations can play a part in identifying whether someone has lost control and is in need of help. For example, someone with a family, career, and close friends may be more likely to have symptoms detected by those around them. However, they may also be more likely to drink in solitude out of fear of losing these things.

Young adults, specifically in their late teens to early twenties, are especially susceptible to misusing alcohol. Research has shown that people commonly consume the most alcohol between these ages. This is partly a result of the activities many young adults tend to engage in and their lifestyles. Activities can include parties, fraternity or sorority events, weddings, etc. This is usually a time of new independence, exploration, and socialization.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism

While it can be easy to overlook binge drinking or frequent consumption at this age, some common signs and symptoms of alcoholism are worth being aware of. These can include:

  • Blacking out
  • Memory loss
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Shaking or tremors
  • Coordination challenges
  • Slurred speech
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Isolation or secrecy

There can also be some behavioral changes in someone struggling with alcohol use disorder (AUD). These often include more secrecy or isolation. Dishonesty may become common and even habitual if someone is trying to hide their drinking. Being aware of these changes in behavior, in addition to symptom awareness, can be helpful in determining severity.

Identifying a Problem

How do you know you or your loved one actually has a drinking problem? This is the tricky part. According to research, 14.1 million adults have AUD. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “Alcohol use disorder … is a medical condition characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences.” It can be mild, moderate, or severe and creates lasting impacts on the brain, making those struggling with AUD more susceptible to relapse. This diagnosis is dependent on the amount of alcohol consumed, the frequency of drinking, and the speed of consumption.

If you are still questioning whether there is a problem, asking some of the following questions could be helpful:

  • Have you ended up drinking more or for a longer duration than you planned?
  • Have you tried to stop drinking or drink less and were unable to meet that goal?
  • Have you felt consumed by the thought of drinking alcohol?
  • Have you found that drinking negatively impacts other areas of your life but continued drinking anyway?
  • Have you engaged in risky behavior while or after drinking?
  • Have you experienced blackout or short-term memory loss?
  • Have you experienced symptoms of withdrawal such as shaking, increased heart rate, sweating, or irritability?

Answering “yes” to any of these questions could indicate a problem, with more affirmative responses indicating a higher, more urgent need for treatment. If a problem is detected, seeking treatment right away is critical. Alcohol increases the risk of various illnesses, including certain forms of cancer and liver or heart disease. Heavy drinking can also impact focus, memory, and mood stability. Seeking help upon realizing the issue can help reduce long-term mental and physical damage.

With most Americans drinking at some point in their lives, and over half of them having consumed at least one drink within the last month, it is safe to say that alcohol is a big part of our society. Alcoholism affects more than 14.1 million adults, and this number continues to rise. With alcohol consumption being such a large part of our culture, it can be difficult to determine when there is a problem. Addiction to alcohol takes a huge toll on one's mental and physical health and can produce long-term damage by increasing the risk of various illnesses. At Enlightened Solutions, we take a holistic approach to treatment and recovery. We aim to heal the whole person through our various treatment modalities and strive to promote healthy lifestyle changes that are sustainable. If you or someone you love is battling addiction, call Enlightened Solutions today at (833) 801-LIVE.


Alcohol abuser on a bridge

Why does society view alcohol abuse differently than other substances?

Why does society view alcohol abuse differently than other substances?

As you know, alcohol abuse is a really big problem in many parts of the world. It's even worse for teenagers who are abusing alcohol because they don't fully understand what can happen if their drinking habits get out of control. And yet, society treats this issue differently than other substances like drugs and cigarettes. Why is that? Well, there are many reasons for this - addiction, withdrawal symptoms, etc. We will go through some of them here so that we can better understand why society views abuse of alcohol as different from other substances.

What is alcohol and its difference from other substance abuse?

To understand the vast differences in society's views on alcohol abuse versus illicit substances, we first need to get acquainted with how both of them work. Alcohol is a depressant that slows down your central nervous system and creates feelings of relaxation and lightheadedness.

Drugs are any substance that alters brain function by changing its chemistry. The key difference between these two substances is the risk they pose for addiction, dependence, or death, as well as their legality. When it comes to the risk for addiction and dependence, there's no question about alcohol.

Alcohol has a high potential for abuse because of its effects on neurotransmitters in your brain, leading to feelings of pleasure or euphoria when you drink too much. Similar risks exist with other substances like heroin and cocaine, but many people feel that alcohol is somehow different.

Why does society view alcohol abuse differently?

Alcohol has been around longer.

This could be because alcohol has been around for centuries, and it's become part of our history, culture, traditions, etc. In contrast, many other substances have been seen as illegal from the beginning. Society has gotten used to the idea of alcohol being around for a long time, but it's difficult for them to change their views on illicit substances. Or maybe people don't want to think that their favorite drink can cause serious harm in the hands of a serious drinker.

Alcohol is legal

Alcoholic beverages are legal, making them more accessible than other substances and giving people the impression that they are safe. However, alcohol is a depressant, meaning it slows down your central nervous system, which can create feelings of relaxation or lightheadedness and affect judgment-making.

Alcohol is part of our culture.

As mentioned above, alcohol has been around for centuries, and it's become a big part of many cultures. For example, in some countries like Italy or France, wine plays an important role at mealtimes and religious ceremonies. But again, the problem with this view is that society tends to ignore how dangerous alcohol can be if people drink too much too quickly without realizing it.

Alcohol also isn't considered very harmful by most people because they feel they can control their drinking habits even if they've had one too many drinks on occasion. We all know someone who hasn't let themselves go overboard when they drank; however, many individuals struggle more than others - especially teenagers whose brains are still developing and who haven't yet learned to control their alcohol intake.

The lie - Alcohol is not as dangerous as other substances.

Because of how society views alcohol, it seems like they believe that drinking alcoholic beverages isn't very harmful because people can avoid getting too drunk if they want to without a problem. But what many don't realize is how easy it is for someone with a low tolerance level to lose control over how much he drinks before realizing they need help for alcohol abuse or understanding why his judgment has been affected so badly after having had one drink too many. And when this happens now and then, most individuals can go back home at night safe and sound where family members will look after them until everything goes back to normal again the next day.

Alcohol addiction is not as severe as other substances.

Even though some people may feel like alcoholism isn't very harmful compared to addiction to certain illicit drugs, this doesn't mean it's not an issue worth looking into further. Many addicts start off by using something like alcohol until it consumes them. One morning they wake up feeling completely miserable, having had no control whatsoever. this is where they need help for alcohol abuse.

Withdrawal symptoms

Another reason why society might view alcohol abuse differently is that there are no withdrawal symptoms associated with this substance after you stop drinking - unlike heroin or cocaine that often come with cold sweats and headaches when people who have become dependent try to quit. Many people seem to feel as though these addiction-related effects somehow make alcohol different from other substances like marijuana which doesn't cause any physical pain whatsoever during withdrawal periods.

Do I have a problem with alcohol? how to tell

  • Drinking alone
  • Lying about drinking habits
  • Lack of understanding
  • Stealing money to get a bottle of alcohol
  • Hiding alcohol- stashing it in the wardrobe or anywhere else not visible
  • Spending long periods and energy thinking about where you can find alcohol, how to get hold of it, etc.
  • Feeling angry when someone tries to control your drinking habits
  • Put down by people who care for you because they're worried that you may have a problem with alcohol
  • Unable to control the amount you drink when out at a party or socializing with friends

These are all signs that someone may have an addiction issue, and this person needs to seek help for alcohol abuse. While it's not as severe as other addictions, it can lead individuals down a dangerous path if left untreated.

Why is alcohol socially acceptable?

Source of fun and relaxation

Alcohol is a substance individuals around the world have been using for centuries as a way to unwind and relax after having had a long, hard day. Because it's so readily available, individuals feel like they can enjoy this drink responsibly without any serious consequences in their lives - unlike other drugs that people tend to associate with addiction and drug-related issues. Alcohol also seems less harmful because many assume that everything will go back to normal again once you stop drinking.

Socially acceptable in our culture

The way that society views alcohol is another reason why people might think it's not such a big deal. Most individuals view drinking as socially acceptable and don't realize how easy it can be to fall into an addiction trap if they aren't careful with their intake.

Big business

Alcohol consumption has become big business, with companies spending millions on marketing campaigns to get people hooked on their brand. This insinuates that drinking alcohol is something completely normal and harmless when in reality, anyone who drinks too much can lose control over how much they consume.

The glamour of drinking

Many people enjoy the feeling of being out on a romantic date or having drinks with friends, which can be another reason why alcohol abuse might look less severe than it is.

Alcohol addiction can affect anyone.

No matter what type of lifestyle someone leads, how old he is, or where he comes from, anything is possible when we understand that our actions come down to the choices we make. And when it comes to alcohol, there are so many different ways that people become addicted and need help in overcoming their drinking habits before they begin making significant changes for the better which will last a lifetime.

Conclusion

These are some of the reasons why society treats alcoholism so differently than drug or cigarette use. Alcohol may be legal in most places throughout the world today, but its misuse still leads to many deaths each year.

 

Contact Enlightened Solutions to get help for Alcohol Abuse in New Jersey. We are a top-rated treatment center with highly trained staff.


definition of addiction

How does addiction develop and what are the key factors involved?

Several factors impact a person's risk of addiction. However, before discussing these factors, it is crucial to have a clear idea of what addiction is and what it is not.

What Is Addiction?

Simply put, addiction is a disease that affects the brain. It can alter the brain structure and the way the brain works. In the same way that cardiovascular disease affects the heart's function, addiction impedes the brain from functioning normally. Drug addiction is a chronic disease. However, like other chronic diseases, it is preventable and can be treated.

Drugs affect the brain in several ways. One is by interfering with the communication between nerve cells and how they create dopamine. When a person takes an addictive substance, their brain produces more dopamine.

Dopamine makes you feel good. The more dopamine that is released, the more a person will want to get that dopamine high again. With time, the body becomes accustomed to having higher levels of dopamine. As a result, a person loses the ability to experience joy and pleasure from everyday activities. Instead, they need to keep doing drugs to maintain a happy, joyful, or pleasurable feeling.

The need to seek that dopamine high becomes the driving force in a person's life. The pleasure they get from hanging out with friends or being in other people's company is replaced by an irrational drive to seek out drugs.

A popular myth is that addiction is the result of a moral failing. The truth is that it is a treatable disease that has a physical, emotional, and psychological impact on the person suffering from it.

What Factors Contribute to Addiction?

Drug addiction and alcohol addiction are ongoing problems in the United States and around the world. Researchers have devoted a considerable amount of time to see why people become addicted to drugs and why others who use the same drugs do not develop an addiction. Several factors can contribute to addiction. Some people may only have one of these factors and are less prone to addiction, whereas others may have several factors, increasing their propensity to develop an addiction.

Genetics

Genetics plays a role in the development of most diseases. If there is someone in your family who has dealt with substance abuse in the past, it does not guarantee that you will become addicted to a substance as well. In the same way, a person in your family having cancer does not automatically mean that you will develop cancer.

However, because a member of your family has a problem with addiction, genetically speaking, there is a greater propensity for you to become an addict if you use drugs. Statistics indicate that genetics contributes to up to 60 percent of the risk of someone developing an addiction.

Your Age When You Started Taking Drugs

Research indicates that the younger a person is when they start using drugs, the more likely they will develop an addiction as they age. A critical factor in this is how a person's brain develops, especially when they are a teenager. When a person uses drugs during their formative years, they can become more vulnerable to addiction as they get older. Studies have shown that most people who develop substance use disorder begin using drugs between the ages of 18 to 24.

Gender

Statistically, men are more likely to abuse and use drugs than women. There are some noticeable differences in how drugs affect the male body as opposed to the female body. There are also differences in the drugs that men and women use. Research shows that men are more inclined to use alcohol and marijuana. Women are more likely to become addicted to drugs that lower anxiety levels. In recent years, some of these statistics have been changing.

Mental Illness

If a person has several mental illnesses, there is a higher chance that they may abuse drugs. There are several reasons why this is true. One could be that the drugs give the user a sense of well-being and euphoria. It is also possible that certain mental illnesses will impact the parts of the brain that are also affected by drugs, thereby increasing the propensity for abuse.

Unstable Home Environment

Children who grow up in a home where their parents are involved and provide a stable home environment have a decreased chance of using or abusing drugs. Conversely, children who grew up in an unstable environment, especially one where parents are addicts themselves or have a mental illness, have an increased chance of using and abusing drugs.

Growing up in an Environment Where Drugs Are Present

Suppose you were growing up in an environment where drugs were readily available or in an environment where friends and family members used drugs. In that case, this is going to impact the likelihood of developing an addiction. There are some environments where it is just easier for people to get drugs. Because the drugs are there, they decide to try them.

Looking Beyond Risk Factors

While the above-mentioned risk factors do play a role in whether a person will develop an addiction, it is vital to go beyond simple risk factors and understand the human psyche. The psyche plays a huge role in making one person different from another person.

Two people could come from families where addiction was present and both could be exposed to people who used drugs, but one person will develop an addiction and the other will not. This does not mean that one person is stronger or weaker than the other. It means that the individual psyches of people differ.

It is important to remember that idea, especially when discussing addiction treatment. Since no two people have the same road to addiction, no two people will have the same journey to recovery. For recovery programs to be effective, they need to treat people as individuals and provide a safe, inviting environment that is conducive to recovery.

Enlightened Solutions provides a safe and inviting environment where recovering is our top priority. Contact us with any questions or if you need help with addiction.

 


People in treatment for addiction

5 Stages of Change During Treatment For Addiction

What are the 5 Stages of Change During the Treatment For Addiction?

 

Addiction is an issue that affects millions of people each year. It can be difficult to recover from addiction on your own, which is why professional treatment for addiction is so important.

There are 5 stages of change during professional treatment for addiction: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. We will go over what these stages mean below!

Who Does Addiction Affect?

Addiction can affect anyone: the unborn, young children, adolescents, parents, friends, spouses, and partners of addicts as well as society at large. Addiction can be to substances such as alcohol or drugs (e.g., heroin) but it also includes behavioral addictions such as gambling or sex addiction.

Addiction is a dangerous situation that needs professional treatment. Addiction is a progressive disorder, meaning it becomes worse over time if left untreated.

Is Addiction Treatment Important?

Alcohol and drug treatment is very important for anyone who is suffering from addiction. Without treatment, the effects of addiction can be detrimental to an individual's physical and emotional health and could even be potentially fatal. Some people may not understand why treatment is so important in their lives until it is too late, but treatment does help many individuals recover from addictions to drugs or alcohol.

Intake

When an individual enters treatment because he/she needs treatment or because someone else has helped them go into treatment, then it is called "intake" which means that the person will be evaluated before he/she receives treatment at a treatment center.

Intake may involve a lot of different things including a mental health assessment, medical assessment, and a substance abuse assessment. If the treatment center is licensed and has medical staff members on-site they will administer those assessments and treatment will begin as soon as possible depending on what kinds of treatment you need.

Treatment

Inpatient treatment means that you will have to check into treatment for a certain amount of time. Treatment may be from 30 days to 90 days or longer, but it depends on your treatment program. In some cases, an individual might just need outpatient treatment sessions. Some individuals may go to one session during the day around their work schedule or school schedule. Once treatment is done they can return home and continue going about their regular daily routine instead of being required to stay in treatment all of the time.

The Benefits of Addiction Treatment

The benefit of addiction treatment is that you get to be in a safe environment where everyone understands what you are going through and can share their stories with others who know exactly how they feel. Having this kind of environment will make an individual more likely to open up about what they are feeling or experiencing, thus creating more effective treatment goals.

Enlightened Solutions in New Jersey offers treatment for addiction in a group setting, among other programs. This could be beneficial to some who are shy or may not want treatment alone. The main benefit of addiction treatment is the fact that treatment works and our facility is always available.

Here are the 5 stages of change during addiction treatment:

The Precontemplation Stage of Change

This stage of change is when the addict does not believe that they have a problem with addiction. They might feel like their problems are caused by outside factors and will remain in this stage until those factors go away. During professional addiction treatment, counselors can help addicts understand how much their actions affect others as well as themselves.

The Contemplation Stage of Change

In the second stage of change, addicts begin to feel ambivalent about their drug or alcohol problems during professional addiction treatment. They have a desire to change but at this point, they may not be ready because it means giving up things that are important in their lives - such as friends and family members they spend time with.

The Preparation Stage of Change

In the third stage of change, addicts begin to feel a little more committed towards professional treatment for addiction and they are ready to make some changes in order to get better from their addictions.

The Action Stage of Change

In the fourth stage of change during professional addiction treatment, clients gain full commitment toward professional treatment for addiction and recognize that professional treatment for addiction is necessary to change their lives and get better from their addictions.

The Maintenance Stage of Change

In the final stage of professional addiction treatment, addicts feel confident that professional treatment for addiction has enabled them to gain control over their lives and they will be able to maintain an alcohol-free or drug-free lifestyle upon leaving professional addiction treatment.

The Dangers of Addiction

There are countless dangers associated with drug addiction. Some examples include kidney damage, loss of motor coordination, difficulty breathing, and memory impairment.

Those who become addicted to drugs or alcohol can also face legal issues involving theft or unlawful behavior in order to continue their drug addiction. Additionally, when individuals attempt to stop using the drug after becoming addicted, they may experience intense withdrawal symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, fever, goosebumps, and intense cravings for the substance.

Addiction Impact on Society

Drug addiction also has an impact on society as a whole with increased crime rates being linked to those who have been arrested for buying illegal substances. In 2004 alone there were 3 million arrests for drug-related offenses. If you have been arrested for a drug-related offense the charges may affect your social status, employment prospects, and the custody of any children.

Addiction Effect of the Economy

Drug addiction is a complex issue that affects the life of the individual as well as those around them. Additionally, drug addiction has been shown to have an impact on the economy as the demand for health services as well as law enforcement resources increases through the increased prevalence of drug abuse.

In 2004 there were three million arrests for drug-related crimes in the United States alone. This shows how prevalent drugs are in society today. It costs billions of dollars every year to try and fight these drugs and their abusers but this doesn't seem to be doing much good. The cost will continue to increase if we don't find ways of solving the problem.

The goal of addiction treatment is to create a new, sober lifestyle. The treatment method that works best for one individual may not work for another. At Enlightened Solutions, we believe that professional addiction treatment is the way to go.

We offer a wide range of services for each individual client which helps them find their path towards sobriety. We provide them with all the tools they need to continue it after they leave our care. Contact us today if you or a loved one is suffering from addiction.


Person passed out from alcohol addiction

How Does Alcohol Addiction Change Our Bodies?

The intention of alcohol manufacturers is for drinkers to take in moderation, but unfortunately, a significant number exceeds the limit by drinking heavily. Heavy drinking is consuming five or more alcoholic drinks on one occasion, even if it's for a day within the last 30. Heavy drinking often develops into an addiction. Heavy drinkers should know that alcohol addiction changes our bodies by causing harmful effects. The damage to internal organs might not be visible, so it is essential to act upon noticing the first signs of alcoholism.

Alcohol causes harmful effects because it becomes a waste product and the body, through various organs, tries to excrete it. Even a small amount of alcohol affects the body systems. It is worse when the alcohol exceeds the level that your body can process. Intoxication happens as alcohol builds up in your bloodstream and distributes throughout the body to cause some of these changes.

An estimated 95,000 people (approximately 68,000 men and 27,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually.

Alcohol addiction changes the body in bits by affecting these different organs.

Liver

Heavy drinking increases the risk of harmful and potentially life-threatening liver issues. The liver is the body part that breaks alcohol down and removes it from blood. Too much alcohol within a short period may overwhelm the metabolism process leading to fatty liver. The challenges to break down alcohol can lead to type 2 diabetes or liver failure. Excessive and prolonged alcohol consumption can cause these other severe liver complications:

  • Fibrosis
  • Cirrhosis
  • Alcoholic hepatitis

The conditions need an accurate diagnosis, kidney medication, and an intensive alcohol addiction treatment plan.

Heart

The heart is vulnerable to excessive alcohol consumption. Heavy drinking can, with time, weaken the heart. A weak heart slows the delivery of blood, oxygen, and nutrients to other vital body organs. Heavy drinking increases triglyceride levels in the blood. Triglyceride is s type of fat that, at high levels, increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Some early alcohol-triggered cardiovascular effects like an irregular heartbeat or blood pressure may trigger other problems later in life. Addiction causes long-term consequences including:

  • Stroke
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Cardiac conditions

Brain

The brain is one of the areas that suffer the effects of excessive alcohol and addiction. Heavy drinking causes temporary complications like loss of memory and coordination. It can, with time, cause long-term, sometimes irreversible side effects. Excessive and prolonged alcohol use may interfere with the brain's structure and functions. It may also impact the body communication pathways due to damage on different brain regions, especially the:

  • Limbic system
  • Cerebellum
  • Cerebral cortex

Normal functioning reduces, for instance, when alcohol affects the cerebellum, the area of the brain that coordinates motor skills. A loss of balance, emotional response, and memory issues also are signs of how alcohol addiction changes our bodies.

Pancreas

The pancreas helps regulate blood sugar levels and is a part of the digestive process. Drinking alcohol for many years can negatively affect the pancreas leading to lasting health complications. Unfortunately, many pancreatic conditions are not diagnosed in the early stages. They become severe. Lengthy alcohol abuse can gradually cause swelling of blood vessels around the pancreas and the occurrence of pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis increases the risk of developing a rapid spreading and dangerous pancreatic cancer. Alcoholics with symptoms below are likely to have a pancreatic attack.

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Fast heart rate

Medication and other treatment methods help to manage pancreatitis effects but reversing the condition is very difficult.

In addition to body organs, alcohol addiction changes our bodies by affecting body systems and prevents them from functioning optimally. A body system is a group of tissues and organs that perform crucial functions like growth, survival, and reproduction.

Too much alcohol and addiction affect the following body systems.

Central Nervous system

Alcohol changes our behavior by inhibiting coordination and speaking, causing slurred speech. A weakened central nervous system also affects:

  • Impulse control
  • Ability to make memories these causing blackouts
  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Temporary paralysis

Heavy drinking progresses to dependency, and those why try to stop drinking experience severe withdrawal effects. Long-term use may cause the shrinking of the frontal lobes in the brain.

Immune system

The body relies on the immune system to fight off viruses, bacteria, and other illness triggers. Alcohol slows down the immune system and reduces the efficiency of the white blood cells in fighting bacteria. Heavy drinkers compromise their immune systems more, increasing the risk of contracting various forms of cancer and succumbing to illnesses like pneumonia and tuberculosis, even with alcohol addiction treatment.

Excretory system

This system removes waste products, including alcohol, from the body. Consuming excess alcohol can affect normal insulin production by the pancreas and create toxic substances that start destroying it. Too much drinking may harm the liver to slow its job of breaking down the harmful substances in the body. A liver malfunction can cause cirrhosis, a buildup of scar tissue that destroys the liver.

Digestive system

Severe damage occurs quickly in the digestive system. Alcohol steadily causes malnutrition by making it difficult for the intestines to manage bacteria and absorb nutrients.

Skeletal System

Alcohol abuse inhibits the production of new bones. The slow production increases the risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis. The muscles are also more likely to cramp, weaken, or degenerate.

Circulatory system

Alcohol addiction changes our bodies much by impacting heart function. A heart problem is more likely to occur in heavy drinkers than someone who does not drink. Drinking heavily, even for one occasion make can cause heart trouble. The risk for women is more than for men. Heart problems that alcoholism can cause include:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Poisoning of cells in the heart muscle
  • High blood pressure

Reproductive system

Erectile dysfunction is a common side effect in men who drink excessively. Alcohol inhibits hormone production causing infertility. Alcohol can stop menstruation and cause infertility in women. Additionally, it heightens the risk of breast cancer.

Alcohol addiction also causes short short-time side effects.

  • Slurred speech
  • Mood shifts
  • Memory lapses
  • Slowed breathing
  • Poor or lack of coordination

Some people experience fewer side effects from alcohol addiction, while others suffer from multiple side effects. All of them translate to addiction problems, so it is crucial to seek alcohol addiction treatment under the care of professional alcohol recovery experts. Specialized alcohol treatments programs help overcome the urge to drink and withdrawal symptoms that make people give up.

It is also essential to consult a medical professional when recovering from addiction who can run a series of tests that will reveal the existence of any addiction-related illnesses and recommend treatment.

Enlighted Solutions is a licensed co-occurring treatment facility- we focus on healing the whole person, not just treating the addiction. Our individualized recovery plans combine a range of treatment modalities, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), family constellation therapy, art and music therapy, yoga and meditation, acupuncture and chiropractic work, and equine-assisted therapy. Our location near the southern shore of New Jersey allows us to provide optimal healing and relaxation.

If you need relief from addiction, or if someone close to you does, please call us at (833) 801-5483 for more information.


How Does Alcoholics Anonymous Really Work?

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a fellowship of people in recovery from addiction that has helped millions of people in the United States and across the globe. A recent scientific review of numerous studies found that AA helps people maintain abstinence in the long term more than other addiction treatment methods. 

Alcoholics Anonymous provides a setting where you can learn from shared experiences, develop strong support networks and interpersonal skills, and experience the healing power of helping one another. AA meetings are free, accessible to everyone, and can offer support throughout your entire recovery journey.

What Is Alcoholics Anonymous?

Alcoholics Anonymous is an informal society that encourages people in recovery to meet together in support groups and share their experiences of addiction. It has a community of over two million members worldwide and aims to facilitate the sharing of strength, hope, and mutual support between members as they move forward in a sober lifestyle.

AA membership is free - the only requirement is the initial will to stop drinking. AA is non-political and is not aligned with any other institution. Meetings are self-organized, and there is no central authority directing the operation of each group. Members are free to design their meetings in the way that best suits their members.

What Is the 12-Step Method and How Does It Help Addiction Recovery?

When Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Holbrook founded Alcoholics Anonymous almost one hundred years ago, they collectively wrote ‘The Big Book’, which lays out the 12-step method for addiction recovery. 

While not all AA programs now follow the 12-steps, most members find them to be a powerful tool for overcoming addiction and maintaining abstinence. Many other self-help groups, including Narcotics Anonymous and Gamblers Anonymous, have also adopted the 12-step philosopy. 

The steps can be split into three main stages:

Acceptance

The first steps involve accepting that you are powerless over your addiction and giving yourself over to a higher power. Accepting your addiction helps you overcome feelings of shame and re-instills a sense of self-worth. You learn to love yourself so you can love the world around you and commit to a life of sobriety.

Personal Growth

The next steps focus on spiritual development and personal growth. They involve recognizing harmful thought patterns and behaviors and replacing them with healthier habits and decisions. They also require making amends to others for the harm you have caused them. This helps you avoid destructive feelings of guilt and lets you find self-worth in the humility and compassion you have shown.

Helping Others

The final step is to share the 12-steps with other people in alcohol recovery. Teaching the 12-steps to others helps you reinforce the steps in yourself and strengthens your commitment to your recovery goals.

What Are the Benefits of Alcoholics Anonymous Over Other Treatment Options?

  • AA’s most powerful asset is its ubiquity and accessibility. Addiction is a chronic illness, and recovery is a lifelong process. You can attend AA meetings free for the rest of your life, providing you with a constant source of invaluable support and guidance.
  • AA meetings also give you the chance to support others in recovery. Helping another recovering alcoholic helps you to heal and remain committed to your own recovery journey.
  • When you join a local AA program, you become part of a local community. You’ll meet other people who share your goals and form strong friendships. You may also spend time with these friends outside of AA sessions, which can help you stay away from alcohol and triggers.

At Enlightened Solutions, our entire treatment program is rooted in the 12-step philosophy. We integrate the 12-steps into our treatment approaches and connect you to local AA groups to support you once you have left the center.

Enlighted Solutions is a licensed co-occurring treatment facility- we focus on healing the whole person, not just treating the addiction. Our individualized recovery plans combine a range of treatment modalities, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), family constellation therapy, art and music therapy, yoga and meditation, acupuncture and chiropractic work, and equine-assisted therapy. Our location near the southern shore of New Jersey allows us to provide optimal healing and relaxation.

If you seek relief from addiction, or if someone close to you does, please call us at (833) 801-5483 for more information.


How Quitting Alcohol Can Revitalize Your Life

When you stop drinking, you see immediate improvements in your life - you have more time, energy, and money. Quitting alcohol improves your physical health, your mental well-being, and your appearance. It can help you heal relationships with loved ones, excel at work, and turn your life around.

How Can Quitting Alcohol Improve Your Health?

Even drinking small amounts of alcohol can be harmful to your health. However, drinking more than the recommended guidelines significantly increases the risk of developing long-term health problems, including cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, liver disease, and a weakened immune system. Alcohol-related health problems are serious and widespread - more than 95,000 people die each year in the United States due to excessive drinking.

Luckily, your body is an incredible creation that can repair itself. Research shows that some of the damage alcohol causes to your liver, gut, heart, and brain begins to heal as soon as you stop drinking. This is true regardless of your age or how long you have been drinking - it is never too late to enjoy the benefits of being sober.

Quitting alcohol can also help you lose weight. Alcohol contains the second-highest amount of calories of any kind of food, and excessive drinking is often a key contributor to weight gain. Alcohol contains ‘empty calories’ that have almost no nutritional value - it doesn’t benefit our bodies in any way. 

Stopping drinking is a chance to start eating well, exercising, and practicing self-care - the foundations of a healthy lifestyle.

How Can Quitting Alcohol Make You Happier?

Drinking too much is not only damaging to your physical health - alcohol abuse and alcoholism (or alcohol use disorder) is also linked to mental health conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, and depression. Around 50% of people with alcohol use disorder also have another co-occurring condition. Quitting alcohol makes you less likely to develop anxiety or depression and is a crucial step in recovering from existing conditions so you can live a joyful and productive life.

Recovery from alcohol also helps you to improve your overall well-being and feel better in yourself. Heavy drinking often comes with feelings of guilt and shame, which can be exacerbated by difficult relationships with loved ones or problems at work and home. As you recover from alcohol, you may grow in self-confidence, appreciate your self-worth, and enjoy healthy and happy relationships with those around you.

What Are the Effects of Alcohol on Your Thinking and Memory?

Excessive alcohol consumption also affects your memory and other cognitive functions. It can make you think less clearly, decrease your attention span, and impact your problem-solving skills. Quitting alcohol can help you reverse these changes so you can increase your mental performance at work and in your daily life.

What Can You Do Instead Of Drinking Alcohol?

Drinking alcohol takes away your time. Getting drunk can take a whole evening, night, or day and the hangover the next morning may leave you confined to your bed. Stopping drinking gives you the chance to rediscover old passions, find exciting new hobbies, and leaves more time to care for yourself and your loved ones.

Alcohol is also expensive. Even moderate drinking can become costly - if you drink only one $5 glass of wine a day, you end up spending $1825.00 over the whole year. When you give up alcohol, you can use this money for other more valuable things like family holidays, home improvements, or just living a more comfortable everyday life. 

Quitting alcohol may not be easy, but you can overcome your addiction and revitalize your life with the right support. At Enlightened Solutions, we offer our clients powerful tools to move forward in their sober lifestyle. 

We focus on healing the entire person and not just treating their addiction. Our recovery program is rooted in the 12-step philosophy and offers each client an individualized recovery plan. Our licensed treatment center near the southern shore of New Jersey is the perfect place for healing and relaxation. 

If you struggle with addiction, or if someone close to you does, please call us at (833) 801-5483 for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


How To Know if You Have a Problem With Alcohol

If you tend to spend a lot of time drinking, you might be worried about the possibility of alcohol addiction. There are a few tools you can use to gain insight into whether or not it is time to fix your relationship with drinking. In this post, we’ll talk about definitions, symptoms, and the AUDIT self-test.

Alcoholism, like any addiction, refers to a type of abuse that is happening compulsively. However, this definition is difficult to apply to oneself alone. With the cultural acceptance of social drinking, it’s often hard to draw the line between a free decision and a compulsion.

The definitions we choose need to include this nuance. For example, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) describes alcohol use disorder (AUD) as “problem drinking that becomes severe.” In other words, if the effects of alcohol in your life are bringing some serious consequences, it’s a clear warning sign that alcohol use has become compulsive and could be grounded in physical dependence.

There are some symptoms that can indicate that your drinking has gotten severe, including:

  • Drinking alone or secretively
  • Drinking more on occasions than you plan
  • Blacking out
  • Drinking ritualistically, (e.g. always after meals or work, or at set times of the day)
  • Losing interest in things that you used to enjoy
  • Suffering withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking

The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT)

AUDIT is the name of a questionnaire developed by the WHO to test for AUD and problem drinking. At the end of the day, although a health professional should oversee screening for alcoholism, you can still run through the questions at home to give yourself a better understanding of what is going on.

Before we start, we need to define what constitutes a single drink by the test’s parameters. AUDIT’s definitions are broadly similar to alcoholic units:

  • One twelve-ounce bottle or can of beer (maximum 5% alcohol)
  • One five-ounce glass of wine (approx. 12% alcohol)
  • One shot of liquor (1.5 ounces of approx. 40% alcohol)

 

1. How often do you drink alcohol?

  • a) Never (0)
  • b) Monthly or less (1)
  • c) 2-4 times per month (2)
  • d) 2-3 times per week (3)
  • e) 4 or more times a week (4)

2. How many standard drinks do you have when you typically drink?

  • a) 1-2 (0)
  • b) 3-4 (1)
  • c) 5-6 (2)
  • d) 7-9 (3)
  • e) 10+ (4)

3. How frequently do you have six or more drinks on one occasion?

  • a) Never (0)
  • b) Less than monthly (1)
  • c) Monthly (2)
  • d) Weekly (3)
  • e) Daily/almost daily (4)

4. How often during the past year have you struggled to stop drinking or found that you’re drinking more than you planned?

  • a) Never (0)
  • b) Less than monthly (1)
  • c) Monthly (2)
  • d) Weekly (3)
  • e) Daily/almost daily (4)

5. How often during the past year have you failed to do what was normally expected of you because of your drinking?

  • a) Never (0)
  • b) Less than monthly (1)
  • c) Monthly (2)
  • d) Weekly (3)
  • e) Daily/almost daily (4)

6. How often during the past year have you had a drink in the morning after a heavy drinking session?

  • a) Never (0)
  • b) Less than monthly (1)
  • c) Monthly (2)
  • d) Weekly (3)
  • e) Daily/almost daily (4)

7. How often during the past year have you felt remorseful after drinking?

  • a) Never (0)
  • b) Less than monthly (1)
  • c) Monthly (2)
  • d) Weekly (3)
  • e) Daily/almost daily (4)

8. Has drinking ever left you unable to remember last night’s events?

  • a) No (0)
  • b) Yes, not in the past year (2)
  • c) Yes, in the past year (4)

9. Has drinking ever led to either you or someone else being injured?

  • a) No (0)
  • b) Yes, not in the past year (2)
  • c) Yes, in the past year (4)

10. Has a relative, friend, doctor, or health care worker been concerned about your drinking or suggested that you cut down?

  • a) No (0)
  • b) Yes, not in the past year (2)
  • c) Yes, in the past year (4)

Once you finish the test, add up your scores for each question. If you reach a total of 8 to 14, the AUDIT has flagged some risky or hazardous drinking behavior. A score that hits 15 and above indicates that you are probably suffering from AUD.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment at ES

If you think you may be struggling with alcoholism, we are here to help. Enlightened Solutions is a licensed treatment center located near the southern New Jersey shore. We offer each client an individualized treatment plan, equipping them with the skills they need to overcome this disease.

Our treatment program is founded in the 12-step philosophy, and we provide a range of services to our clients. Our treatment modalities include traditional psychotherapy, art and music therapy, yoga and meditation, and family constellation therapy. If you are struggling with an addiction to alcohol, call us today at (833) 801-5483.


supporting your sober friends

How to Support Friends Who Don’t Drink

Drinking is pervasive in our society. We drink on happy occasions, at weddings or when we are celebrating a friend’s job promotion. We get together with friends after work for drinks. If we feel sad, we might go to our local bar to “drown our sorrows.” We drink at holiday dinners. We drink when watching the big game with friends.

With all the different occasions many drink alcohol, social situations can be a little tricky for people who don’t drink. However, you can support people who don’t drink. If you would like to support a non-drinking friend, try out some of the suggestions below.

Ask Them What They Need From You

It may seem a little simplistic, but you could just ask your non-drinking friend how you can help. If your friend is newly sober, they might need you to not drink around them. If a friend who doesn’t drink asks you not to drink around them, honor their request. If they have been sober for a long time or abstain from alcohol for medical or religious reasons, they may not care if you drink around them.

In social situations, don’t make a fuss about them not drinking. Receiving unwanted attention or a negative response to their choice not to drink could be hurtful. They could feel socially isolated or unwelcome. They might stop seeking support when they need it or start drinking again when they don’t want to. Depending on why they stopped drinking in the first place, the results of them drinking again could be concerning.

When Planning Events

If you are the person in charge of planning an event for an organization, make sure that a selection of non-alcoholic beverages is available and that they are served in attractive glassware. Part of what makes a festive occasion feel special is presentation. If you are hosting a party or a dinner at home, again, make sure that you have a couple of non-alcoholic choices available, attractively served. Learn how to make a few tasty “mocktails.” Find out what your friend drinks instead of alcohol and have some on hand. For example, one couple with a non-drinking relative might keep sparkling cider and water on hand as an option during Thanksgiving dinner.

Avoid Assumptions

Don’t make any assumptions about the beverage choices of people you don’t know well. People choose not to consume alcohol for all sorts of reasons, and it isn’t any of your business. If you ask someone what you can get them to drink, and they request tonic water with lime, get them tonic water with lime without making a fuss or asking personal questions. If they want you to know why they aren’t drinking, they’ll tell you.

Remember that no means no. If you ask someone if you can get them a glass of wine, and they reply that they would like sparkling water, don’t insist. It’s perfectly fine not to drink. If someone tells you that they don’t drink, don’t respond by telling them that just having one drink won’t hurt. You don’t know that. One drink might hurt a lot.

Be a Good Listener and Source of Support

If your friend who has stopped drinking tells you about their experience, listen to what they have to say. If your friend is active in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), ask if you can go to a meeting with them. Anyone can attend meetings designated as “open.” You will learn more about what your friend has been through.

Celebrate their successes and triumphs with them. If they are happy because they have been sober for a month, a year, or a decade, be happy with them and for them. Tell them what a great job they are doing and what good things they are doing for their health. Tell them that you are impressed and inspired by their strength. If they have lost weight, compliment them. If their skin looks great, tell them.

Fun Without Alcohol

Find activities that you can do with your non-drinking friends that don’t revolve around alcohol. Meet for breakfast. Go out for coffee or tea. Get together and bake elaborate desserts. Instead of going to happy hour after work, go out together for a walk or run. Find places in your community with hiking trails. Go to the beach. Meet in the park and play tennis.

In a society where a lot of socializing revolves around alcohol, it can take a little more effort to think of activities that don’t. If you put a little effort into this, you may find that you enjoy these alcohol-free activities just as much as your sober friend.

In a culture where alcohol is so pervasive, it can feel daunting to contemplate not drinking. At Enlightened Solutions, we understand this. The goal of treatment is to free people from addiction so they can live a fulfilling life. We are a co-occurring treatment center located near New Jersey’s southern shore. In addition to substance use disorders, we offer treatment for the mental health issues that frequently go along with addiction, like depression and anxiety. Our treatment program is rooted in the 12-Step philosophy. We customize a treatment plan for each client, and our focus is on healing the whole person, not just treating an addiction. In addition to traditional talk therapy, we offer a range of holistic healing modalities, including yoga and meditation, acupuncture and chiropractic care, family constellation therapy, and equine-assisted therapy. If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, please call us today at (833) 801-5483.