What Is Alcohol Addiction?
For some people with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), it’s painfully obvious they are struggling. Their symptoms are very noticeable both physically and mentally. Others learn to hide it incredibly well and can often go unnoticed for an extended period of time. In any event, people with AUD will eventually experience similar neurological conditions. Alcohol works by interfering with neuronal communication in the brain. Over prolonged periods of use, alcohol can alter the structure of neurons and even shrink them. Alcohol binds to receptors located in regions of the brain primarily responsible for memory, executive functioning, balance and speech. For this reason, the symptoms of excessive alcohol use typically mirror the regions of the brain responsible for those functions.
Moreover, alcohol use can have a dramatic effect on the developing brain. Since the brain is developing through early to mid 20’s, alcohol misuse can have a great effect on the trajectory of neural development. According to a 2019 study by SAMHSA, approximately 407,000 people in Colorado ages 12 and older, experienced Alcohol Use Disorder from 2017-2019. This number is slightly higher than the national average and highlights the need for treatment that addresses both adolescent and adult AUD.
Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Misuse
As briefly stated above, the signs and symptoms of excessive alcohol use can be glaringly obvious, even with a build up of tolerance. In any event, here are the most common signs of both short and long term alcohol use.
- Throwing up
- Incoherent speech
- Loss of balance and memory
- Decreased executive functioning
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms: strong cravings, nausea, shaking, sweating, seizures, delirium tremens
- Taking greater risks such as drinking and driving
- Intending to stop drinking without much success
- Continued alcohol use despite negative consequences at work or home
- Deceiving others about your alcohol consumption
- Build up of tolerance (requiring more alcohol over time to meet the desired effects)
- Declining in liver function
Alcohol Treatment in Colorado
With a growing need for alcohol treatment in Colorado, you can find a treatment facility in every major Colorado city and even off the beaten path. Prior to getting treatment for yourself or a loved one, there’s a few important things to consider. The first is people with Alcohol Use Disorder can die from withdrawal. For this reason, most clinical teams will recommend that people attend a detox facility prior to going into a lower form of care. The second thing to know is there’s several types of lower forms of care you might receive. Rather than dive into the different types of care, we’re going to focus on some of the most important questions you should ask your treatment provider. These include:
- Do you have access to a medical doctor?
- How long is treatment?
- What do I need to bring to treatment?
- Will I be kicked out for relapsing?
- Does your program offer any amenities (i.e. gym membership, community events, etc)
- What is the cost of treatment/do you accept my insurance?
- Do you offer recovery coaching or case management?
- How is your program different from others?
If you or your loved one is struggling with AUD, our team can help. We are qualified professionals with years of combined experience in the addiction treatment field. Contact us today to speak to one of our representatives and begin your recovery journey.