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Alcohol addiction recovery is possible and drinking doesn’t have to hold you back from the fulfilling and clean life you deserve to be living. Alcohol addiction programs like ours at Thrive Treatment Center put you at the center, with rehabilitation designed around you and your unique circumstances.

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It’s only one drink. Just to wet the whistle. I don’t drink even every day. I still go to work. It helps me sleep.

You’ve heard or said it all before to excuse drinking and let’s face it, society by and large accepts it.

Alcohol is legal after all and its consumption can be tied to just about anything. Sporting events, weddings, birthdays and even networking events related to work and religious ceremonies. There’s arguably no dangerous substance that’s been more normalized than alcohol. Cracking a cold one to unwind or a drink with dinner. It can feel difficult to not include alcohol in an activity or get together.

To that end, it’s no shocker that in the United States, nearly 90% of adults have had a drink at some point in their lives and over 50% have drunk in the last month.

The fact is though, alcohol is hazardous to your health, it is a drug and despite being regularly consumed there is no truly “safe” amount. Moderation is one thing, but a drug is a drug and taking any harmful substance has adverse effects. As per the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), some of alcohol’s adverse effects are these:

  • An estimated 95,000 people die from alcohol-related causes making it the 3rd leading cause of preventable death in America – and 3.3 million deaths globally, or almost 6% of all deaths.
  • Nearly 26% of those 18 or older have participated in binge drinking.
  • In terms of economic effects, in 2010, for example, alcohol misuse cost America $249 billion, 3/4ths of that related to binge drinking. Those costs accruing due to lost productivity, property damage, health care expenses and more.
  • 14.1 million adults have alcohol use disorder (AUD).

The damage alcohol does on both the individual and the societal scale, the micro and macro, is immense.

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What Makes Someone an Alcoholic?

For starters, it’s not as cut and dry as X drinks make you an alcoholic and anything less is fine. There’s no line in the sand. Like most things in life, there are shades of grey and what constitutes alcoholism moves along a continuum or gradient.

Before breaking that down though, let’s first define what it means to be alcoholic because, again, it’s not as directly correlated to any particular quantity of drinks as you might expect.

Alcoholism, the colloquial term for alcohol use disorder (AUD) as the official diagnosis is known, is defined by the NIAAA as a “chronic relapsing brain disorder characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences.” 

As far as diagnosis goes, there are 3 levels of AUD – mild, moderate and severe – and they are based on meeting the criteria put forth in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

It’s important to add emphasis here that alcohol use disorder is an addiction and as such is a mental disorder. Knowing that, don’t get hung up on how many drinks someone has because it’s more about the control and hold alcohol has over someone. The control comes from the release of endorphins and dopamine, the “feel good” chemicals that create euphoria in the drinker. It’s the pursuit of that feeling which leads to the development of an AUD.

Let’s circle back to quantity though nonetheless at this point because problem drinking starts at a much lower threshold than you might imagine.

Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), moderate drinking is considered up to 1 drink a day for women and 2 for men. Heavy drinking is generally defined by 15 more drinks per week for men and 8 for women. Binge drinking is 5 drinks for men or 4 for women within a two hour period so basically having a few beers during the football game is considered excessive and even problematic alcohol use.

Think about what all of that means in the context of how dangerous and addictive a substance alcohol is if moderate drinking is just 2 drinks.

That’s the nature of the beast, while alcohol is considered a central nervous system depressant it also produces stimulant effects in smaller quantities.

We Work with Most Insurance

At Thrive Treatment℠ we accept most private insurance plans and we are in network with Cigna, MHN Health Net, First Health, and Anthem Blue Cross.  Additional payment options are available so don’t hesitate to give us a call so we can get you the help that you need.

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Signs Someone Has a Drinking Problem

At the end of the day, people drink for a wide variety of reasons, many of the reasons mentioned above and of course many more. The CDC notes that about 90% of people who drink excessively would not be expected to meet the clinical diagnostic criteria for having a severe alcohol use disorder. In other words, for many, their consumption of alcohol may never rise to the level of alcoholism but for those that it does, the shift to problem drinking happens almost imperceptibly.

Almost being the operative word because there are indeed signs to look out for that will clue you into your own drinking problem or that of a loved one.

  • Inability to limit the amount of drinking
  • Unable to cut back, even when trying to
  • Having intense cravings to drink
  • Drinking larger and larger amounts to achieve the same effect aka your tolerance is building
  • Spending much of your time drinking or being hungover/sick from drinking
  • Problems meeting your obligations and responsibilities at work, school and home
  • Continuing to drink despite the clear problems it’s creating physical and with friends and family
  • Forgoing activities you once enjoyed in order to drink or skipping activities if they don’t involve drinking
  • Putting yourself in careless and dangerous situations like driving after drinking
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when the alcohol wears off

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The Dangers of Alcohol Withdrawal

Depending on the severity of your alcohol use, withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to incredibly severe and potentially life threatening. These will typically start within 8 hours of your last drink and last for several days.

On the milder end of the spectrum a person can experience:

  • Shaking
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Increased heart rate
  • Irritability
  • Anxious

It only gets more intense from there though. The more severe your drinking habit is, the more intense the withdrawal can become because your body has grown fully dependent on alcohol to function. Removing it, therefore, throws chaos into the system and can lead to alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS), which, in addition to the milder symptoms above, can include:

  • Tremors
  • Fever
  • Confusion
  • Nightmares
  • High blood pressure
  • Hallucinations 

The most severe, aggressive and genuinely life threatening type of withdrawal, however, is known as Delirium Tremens (DT). It develops 1 to 4 days after the onset of AWS in people who have been drinking excessively for years and, according to Harvard University, occurs in about 1 out of every 20 people, or 5%, going through with withdrawal. Delirium tremens is characterized by the following:

  • Extreme confusion and agitation
  • Seizures 
  • Chest pain
  • Heavy sweating
  • Dehydration
  • Hypertension
  • Drastic shifts in body temperature
  • Intense hallucinations
  • Arrhythmias
  • Respiratory failure

Delirium tremens is an incredibly serious form of withdrawal that leads to death in around 5% of those it afflicts.

Given that, withdrawal from alcohol, particularly severe and excessive use, should be done under the guidance and supervision of professionals at a detox facility. In the worst cases, medication assisted detox is an option that can help you or a loved one through the worst of the symptoms. 

To put it more bluntly, going cold turkey can create big problems.

Thrive Treatment's Alcohol Rehab in Los Angeles Can Help

Alcohol addiction recovery is possible and drinking doesn’t have to hold you back from the fulfilling and clean life you deserve to be living. Alcohol addiction programs like ours at Thrive Treatment Center put you at the center, with rehabilitation designed around you and your unique circumstances.

After going through a proper and thorough detox to get the alcohol totally out of your system we work with you on the mental aspects of addiction. Using individual and group therapy to better understand the causes of your dependency and help you cultivate positive habits and develop coping mechanisms that allow you to deal and interact with the world in a healthier way.

Alcohol, for better or worse, is a part of our culture and really most cultures around the world. While it’s here to stay and ingrained, it doesn’t mean we just give up on working towards solutions and continuing to lift people out of alcoholism. At our alcohol rehab in Los Angeles, we’re focused on your long term well-being and lasting sobriety.

Get in touch with us at Thrive Treatment today and let us help you or your loved one take their life back from alcohol.

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“Great program with friendly staff! I highly recommend you to check it out! They know what they are doing! Tanner R. is the man and provides great customer service! Talk to him and he will point you in the right direction.”

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“Thrive treatment is a top notch program with one of the best clinical teams in LA. When I have clients at Thrive, I know without a doubt they are receiving the authentic help that they desperately need. Thanks Clayton for the amazing program you have built!”

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“Great program with friendly staff! I highly recommend you to check it out! They know what they are doing! Tanner R. is the man and provides great customer service! Talk to him and he will point you in the right direction.”

David F.
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“I am grateful for the immediate attention I received from Matt at Thrive Treatment℠ center. He is sensitive and caring and he graciously spent time with me and my husband to help our family situation. In just a short amount of time he made a big difference and gave us hope. He definitely is passionate about helping people and gave us great perspective and advice.”

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