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Rhode Island Alcohol Addiction

Rhode Island alcohol addiction is a serious problem. Also known as alcohol use disorder or alcohol dependence syndrome, alcohol addiction requires specialized treatment and ongoing support. People who abuse alcohol on a regular basis are susceptible to numerous health and social problems, including serious conditions such as liver disease, heart disease, and brain damage. Medication treatment and behavioral therapies are both used to treat alcohol dependence, and treatment begins with detoxification before progressing to rehab and aftercare. If you know anyone who has fallen victim to Rhode Island alcohol addiction, it is important to seek professional help as soon as possible.

What is Alcohol Abuse?

Alcohol abuse is defined by the patterned and continued consumption of alcoholic beverages, despite negative consequences. People who abuse alcohol extensively are putting themselves at greater risk of developing tolerance and dependence, as physical-somatic and emotional-motivational withdrawal symptoms are both possible when alcohol intake is stopped. Rhode Island alcohol addiction often starts with unhealthy social drinking, with binge drinking being a specific pattern of alcohol abuse that involves heavy drinking over a short time period. Other abusive drinking patterns are also possible, including everyday drinking and periodic heavy drinking. In the United States, binge drinking is defined as more than four drinks for men and more than three drinks for women over a single two-hour period.

What is Alcohol Dependence?

Alcohol abuse often leads to dependence over time, with this condition recognized by the existence of physical or psychological withdrawal symptoms when intake levels are reduced. Alcohol dependence is closely associated with addiction, and specific dependence symptoms are often accompanied by alcohol cravings, compulsive drinking habits, and psychological attachment. People who are dependent on alcohol may need to drink every single day to avoid withdrawal symptoms, which include shaking of the hands, headaches, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, seizures, hallucinations, and delirium tremens. The severity of withdrawal symptoms is closely related to the extent of addiction, and medications are often needed to help alleviate and manage the withdrawal syndrome. A protracted withdrawal period is also possible in some cases, with this post-acute withdrawal phase marked by depression, insomnia, and anxiety among other symptoms.

Rhode Island Alcohol Addiction Statistics

Alcohol abuse and dependence are huge problems across the United States, and Rhode Island is certainly no exception. According to a recent study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rhode Island is among the top five of the United States in terms of alcohol consumption across three independent age groups: 12-17 year olds, 18-25 year olds, and 26 year olds and older. In separate statistics from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rhode Island has the third-highest rate of alcohol poisoning fatalities in the United States, with only New Mexico and Alaska recording more alcohol-related deaths. With Rhode Island also recording the highest numbers of users for marijuana and other illicit drugs in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, education and treatment services are needed now more than ever before.

Physical Effects of Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse affects the body and brain in several ways, as people who consume alcohol on a regular basis put themselves at great risk of physical and psychological harm. Common physical symptoms include epilepsy, alcoholic dementia, heart disease, peptic ulcers, and sexual dysfunction. Heavy drinkers are also more susceptible to liver disease, malabsorption, cancer, and damage to the central and peripheral nervous systems. Women and young adults are more susceptible to many of these problems, with people more likely to develop a fully-fledged alcohol addiction when they start drinking at a young age. Alcoholism has also been linked to a range of accidental injuries and accidents, including driving accidents, bone fractures, and other indirect effects of alcohol abuse.

Psychiatric Effects of Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse has also been linked to a range of psychiatric and psychological problems, including severe cognitive impairments, depression, and anxiety. The long-term abuse of alcohol can lead to brain damage, with roughly 10 percent of all dementia cases in the United States related to excessive alcohol consumption. The adverse psychiatric effects of brain damage, include social impairments, theory of mind deficits, perception problems, and impairments to executive functioning. Approximately 25 percent of alcoholics also suffer from mental health disorders, including depression disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and psychosis. The co-existence of a mental illness and a substance use disorder, is known as a dual diagnosis, and complex interactions between these conditions often requires specialized treatment.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction

People who abuse alcohol often go to extreme lengths to hide their drinking from those around them. Denial, secretive behavior, and lying are all common aspects of alcoholism, with an intervention often needed before people will seek the help they need. If you are worried about the drinking habits of someone you love, however, there are some signs that are worth looking out for. Common signs of alcoholism include mood swings, health problems, social problems, lack of motivation to fulfill regular life responsibilities, drinking in dangerous situations, needing to drink more to experience the same effects, having trouble cutting down, and experiencing withdrawal symptoms when drinking levels are stopped or reduced.

The Treatment Process

Alcohol addiction can be treated in many ways, with the treatment process normally consisting of medical detox, residential or outpatient rehab, and aftercare support. While medications are not always needed, they are often used when physical-somatic withdrawal symptoms are present. For example, benzodiazepine drugs such as Valium and Librium, are often used to help alleviate and manage withdrawal symptoms prior to rehabilitation. Residential and outpatient rehab programs can both be used to treat alcoholism, and most rehab regimes are based around behavioral, cognitive, and motivational principles. Aftercare support programs also play an important role, including 12-step support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and new systems such as SMART Recovery.

Seek Help Today!

If you know someone who has fallen victim to Rhode Island alcohol addiction, it is important to contact an addiction specialist today for more information about the available options.