Alcohol addiction, also known as alcohol use disorder, is a chronic condition that can make it difficult for a person to control the amount of alcohol they consume. Someone who is struggling with an alcohol addiction may find it challenging to stop drinking alcohol despite its negative effects on their work, interpersonal life, education, or health.
CenterPointe Hospital in St. Charles, Missouri, is a leading provider of inpatient alcohol addiction treatment for adults, senior adults, and adolescents ages 12-17. We also offer premier residential programs for adolescents and adults who are struggling with alcohol addictions.
Signs & Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction
Because alcohol consumption is a regular part of many people’s lives, it’s not always easy to know when alcohol use has become unhealthy. However, if you are experiencing significant distress or challenges in daily life due to alcohol consumption, you may be suffering from an alcohol addiction.
Common alcohol addiction signs and symptoms can include:
- Struggling to reduce or control alcohol intake
- Spending a lot of time getting alcohol or consuming it
- Drinking alcohol in situations where it could be dangerous
- Reducing regular activities in response to alcohol use
- Problems at home, work, or school
- Social difficulties
- Intense cravings for alcohol
- Drinking alcohol more often or in higher quantities than planned
- Continuing to drink alcohol despite negative health consequences
- Presence of or fear of withdrawal symptoms
If you are struggling with an alcohol addiction, you may feel overwhelmed and find it difficult to see a light at the end of the tunnel. However, with compassionate and personalized treatment, you can take meaningful steps toward a life in recovery.
Alcohol Addiction Statistics
Alcohol use disorder affects both adolescents and adults, with symptoms often beginning in a person’s midteens or early 20s. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), the onset of alcohol addiction is most common in the late teen years or early or mid-20s. The DSM-5 reports that alcohol addiction is more common among adult men than among adult women.
The 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported the following statistics on alcohol addiction in the United States:
- Around 28.3 million people age 12 and older had alcohol addictions in the previous year.
- Among adolescents ages 12-17, around 712,000 people, or 2.8%, suffered from an alcohol addiction in the previous year.
- The percentage of people who had an alcohol addiction in the previous year was highest among adults ages 18-25, at 15.6%.
Additionally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), excessive alcohol use is responsible for 140,000 deaths in the U.S. annually.
Alcohol Addiction Causes & Risk Factors
Alcohol addiction does not have a single cause. Instead, it is likely to be the result of multiple causes and risk factors that could include:
- Genetic factors: People who have relatives, especially first-degree relatives, who struggle with alcohol addiction are at higher risk for developing an addiction than those who don’t have a similar family history.
- Physical factors: Over time and with frequent consumption, alcohol can lead to changes in areas of the brain that are responsible for pleasurable sensations, exercising good judgment, and the ability to exert control over behavior. These changes can contribute to someone developing an alcohol addiction.
- Environmental factors: A person’s attitudes and behaviors in relation to alcohol, including the use of alcohol as a way of coping with stress, can increase their risk for developing an addiction. Additionally, those who begin drinking at an early age are at higher risk for developing an alcohol addiction later in life.
Effects of Alcohol Addiction
An alcohol addiction has the potential to affect many areas of a person’s life, including work, school, relationships, health, and the ability to safely engage in daily activities like driving and caring for family members. Additionally, if someone consumes alcohol while using other substances or taking certain medications, the associated health and safety risks can increase, according to CDC.
Detrimental effects of alcohol addiction include:
- Relationship difficulties
- Accidents and injuries, including car accidents
- Legal consequences, including arrest
- Changes in mood and behavior
- Co-occurring mental health or addiction concerns
- Job loss
- Violent behavior
- Higher risk for suicide
Alcohol abuse or addiction can also lead to serious health complications, including:
- Weakened immune system
- Heart damage
- Liver disease
- Higher risk for cancer
If you are struggling with alcohol addiction symptoms, receiving care at a qualified treatment place can be life-changing. At CenterPointe Hospital, we make it our mission to deliver compassionate and effective care for individuals and families.
Benefits of Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Although the idea of beginning alcohol addiction treatment might be daunting, the benefits can be significant. By accessing care and receiving treatment, you can greatly improve your mental and social well-being and protect your physical health.
The components of an effective alcohol addiction treatment plan typically depend on a person’s unique needs. For many people, a safe and effective recovery might begin with medical detox, which provides a supervised environment where patients can safely withdraw from alcohol with the help of qualified professionals.
Counseling may be another important element of someone’s alcohol addiction treatment plan. The benefits of counseling can include:
- The opportunity to set goals and develop new coping strategies
- Education about alcohol addiction and recovery
- Valuable support from others
Therapies Used in Alcohol Addiction Treatment
At CenterPointe Hospital, we understand the challenging nature of addiction and its potentially broad impacts on a person’s life. Our inpatient alcohol addiction treatment center in St. Charles, Missouri, offers a supportive recovery environment with a range of treatment options.
When you receive inpatient alcohol addiction treatment at CenterPointe Hospital, your individualized treatment plan can include:
- Basic medical care
- Medication management services
- On-site medical detox
- Support for a dual diagnosis
- Daily groups covering topics such as relationships, discharge planning, and coping skills
- Experiential therapies such as art therapy and music therapy
- Individual and family therapies on an as-needed basis
- Aftercare support groups when treatment ends
For adolescents and adults who may need a longer stay at our hospital, we offer residential addiction and dual diagnosis treatment at our main St. Charles location. We also provide a range of outpatient services at our main campus and additional locations in St. Louis, Missouri, and Maryville, Illinois.
At CenterPointe Hospital, we care about helping patients reach their treatment goals. And we work to ensure that each person has a customized aftercare plan that can guide them after treatment ends. Our goal is to provide high-quality care and inspire hope for the future.
This content was written on behalf of and reviewed by the clinical staff at CenterPointe Hospital.