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Addiction | Alcohol

Alcohol Addiction affects over 15 million adults 18 years and older each year in the United States. Struggling with alcohol addiction can be devastating to the individual and the close family and friends that are involved. It is always imperative to seek medical intervention prior to stopping drinking alcohol due to the increased risk of seizures. Seizures can often be prevented by entering a medically monitored alcohol detox and rehab where medication and medical care will be provided around the clock.

The medical detox process is just the first stop on the road to recovery from alcohol addiction. Following completion of the detox and withdrawal the individual will transition to active treatment. Addiction recovery depends on acquiring new thought and behavior patterns that replace the disordered addiction behavioral response to triggers. Treatment involves a combination of therapeutic elements that are available in either an outpatient or residential setting.

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Alcohol withdrawal can vary in intensity depending on how much alcohol was regularly consumed and for how long. Other factors that determine the severity of withdrawal symptoms include age, general health status, and whether there is a coexisting mental health issue.

An inpatient detox near me alcohol program can help relieve the withdrawal symptoms through medical interventions, and is the safest and best option. Alcohol detox can become unpredictable, and there is the risk of acute withdrawal symptoms emerging on days 3-4 of the detox process. A medically-supervised alcohol detox team is trained to administer emergency interventions if the need arises.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Agitation
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Shakiness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Sweating
  • Mood swings
  • Nightmares
  • Disordered Thinking
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

The medical detox team will also provide psychological support, which can assist the individual in overcoming the discomfort of detox so they can successfully complete the process and enter treatment.


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To diagnose an alcohol use disorder a doctor will refer to a set of criteria provided by the DSM-5, which are a list of questions that address behaviors typical of problem drinking. An alcohol use disorder exists when an individual answers in the affirmative to 2 or more of the eleven questions associated with related behaviors.

These questions include:

  • Have there been times when you ended up drinking more, or longer than you intended?
  • Have you more than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t?
  • Do you spend a lot of time drinking? Or being sick or getting over the aftereffects?
  • Have you experienced craving — a strong need, or urge, to drink?
  • Have you found that drinking — or being sick from drinking — often interfered with taking care of your home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems?
  • Do you continue to drink even though it causes trouble with your family or friends?
  • Have you given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink?
  • Have you more than once gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unsafe sex)?
  • Do you continue to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem? Or after having had a memory blackout?
  • Do you have to drink much more than you once did to get the desired effect? Or found that your usual number of drinks has much less effect than before?
  • Have you found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you experience withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating?
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Depending on the number of questions answered and an oral interview, the physician or addiction intake clinician can stage the AUD as mild, moderate, or severe.


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Depending on the severity of the alcohol abuse and dependency, there are a few different treatment options that are available. For the less severe forms of alcoholism, cognitive behavioral therapy near me and outpatient programs may be an option to help someone recover. However, often times detox, inpatient, and residential treatment is required to help a person cleanse the body and have enough time away from stress and triggers to start healing the mind.


Outpatient rehab programs offer various levels of intensity, ranging from basic outpatient therapy sessions to intensive outpatient programs to partial hospitalization programs. Outpatient rehabs provide more flexibility with regard to being able to remain at home and to continue to work while receiving treatment. However, outpatient rehabs are best for emerging to moderate alcohol use disorders, as they do not provide the intensity or structure needed for a more severe alcohol addiction.


Residential rehab programs provide the highest level of care for addiction treatment. The individual will reside at the rehab for an extended period, allowing them to focus on their rehabilitation without the distractions and triggers outside of this structured environment. Residential programs will prepare a tailored treatment plan for the individual’s specific diagnosis and recovery needs. This allows for a more fine-tuned treatment approach that takes into account the individual features of the diagnosis and delivers targeted interventions.

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Alcohol addiction recovery begins with a commitment to sobriety and the embracing of a sober lifestyle. Without this conscious commitment a sustained recovery is not possible. After the medical detox has been completed, the individual will embark on the treatment aspect of recovery. This is where he or she will learn how to change addictive behaviors and habits through various treatment elements. These include:

  • Inhaling the gas rapidly from a canister or charger, sometimes punctured and vapors inhaled through the nose
  • Sucking the gas out of a whipped cream canister (Whipits) before shaking the product. The nitrous oxide functions as a propellant to push the whipped cream out of the can
  • Sucking the gas from a balloon
  • Inhaling the gas with a bag over the head

Depending on the number of questions answered and an oral interview, the physician or addiction intake clinician can stage the AUD as mild, moderate, or severe.


Call 877-408-0734 to connect with a Treatment Specialist who will provide a free confidential assessment . This includes a review of the individual’s complete drug and alcohol use history, medical conditions, psych-social and co-occurring psychiatric conditions.


For individuals looking for treatment options for mental health and addiction conditions, offers a confidential helpline that provides assistance. Treatment Specialists are standing by to answer your questions and provide treatment recommendations based on your unique needs.

Calls to The Treatment Specialist website will be answered by a Featured Treatment Program.

If you are looking for a specific treatment provider, you can search our treatment directory and see if they are listed. You can also contact our helpline at 866-644-7911 for any questions, or visit SAMHSA.

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