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Los Angeles IOP Drug Rehab for Addiction and Mental Health Disorders

Alcohol Addiction Treatment

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If you are struggling with alcohol addiction, it is crucial to get help as soon as possible. Fortunately, treatment options for alcohol addiction are both effective and widely available. The first step is to get educated on what recovery from this dangerous addiction involves and how to go about it. Ultimately, deciding to get help with this mental health condition takes a great deal of courage and vulnerability. However, once this step has been taken, freedom from the vicious cycle is indeed possible.

NuView Treatment Center prides itself and is well-known for its effective, compassionate, and evidence-based approach to the treatment of substance use disorders, including alcohol addiction. Our outpatient treatment centers recognize these addictions as legitimate mental health disorders that are often inextricably linked to other health conditions – all of which require treatment. Reach out for help today and let our staff take you the rest of the way.

Individualized Treatment for Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction is recognized by the medical community as a legitimate mental health disorder, but that doesn’t mean it manifests in the same way for everybody. At NuView Treatment Center, we recognize that this disorder has different effects for different people. Moreover, everyone has a unique history – and entirely different reasons for developing a dependence on this mind-altering substance. Rather than applying the same methods to everyone, we work hard to address the specific needs of every client. This approach involves sensitive listening, compassion, and a broad array of clinical treatment methods. After an initial evaluation, we present each client with their own personalized treatment plan.

Evidence-Based Methods for Alcohol Recovery

Our personalized treatment plans are developed by staff members who are highly educated and trained in the latest treatment models. Each of our staff members comes from a different background and possesses unique specialties, all of which represent unique evidence-based treatment modalities. As such, we are prepared to handle all types of issues and challenges that may come up as clients recover from their dependence on liquor. We make sure that our treatment approaches are evidence-based, ethical, and compassionate, and we always strive to stay abreast of the latest research in addiction science.

Outpatient Programs for Busy People

At NuView Treatment Center, we believe that recovery should not mean putting your entire life on hold. We design our outpatient programs to complement the lives of our clients. Each of our programs is flexible, allowing individuals who work, go to school, or who have family responsibilities to get the help they need. Weekend and evening programs are especially accessible. This not only makes the process of recovery more seamless, but it is often more effective, since it gives people the opportunity to put their new skills and coping tools into practice. Life without alcohol is possible, and clients in our outpatient programs quickly learn that when they have the right support system in place, life without it can even be joyful.

What is Alcohol Addiction?

Alcohol addiction, which is technically known as alcohol use disorder (AUD), is a legitimate medical condition that leads to an impaired ability to manage or stop alcohol use. Individuals with this condition tend to struggle with controlling their use even when they are facing problematic occupational, social, or health consequences. They may even have a strong desire and plenty of motivation to quit drinking, but on their own they find that willpower is not enough.

Alcohol addiction comprises a wide range of states of body and mind, known variously as alcohol dependence, alcohol abuse, and alcoholism. It is a disorder that leads to changes in both the brain and the body that make it progressively more and more difficult to quit. It is also a spectrum condition that exists on many levels of severity. Over time, mild alcoholism tends to become moderate alcoholism, and moderate alcoholics can rapidly become severe alcoholics.

Left untreated, alcohol addiction can utterly destroy a person’s life. Relationships, work, and school are often the first to suffer. But severe alcoholism can cause more severe problems, including debt, health problems, and criminal consequences. The behavioral and physical changes wrought by this substance disorder can even lead to death. In fact, alcohol is by far the most lethal legal drug – and the most widely abused.

How Does Alcohol Addiction Happen?

While some people find themselves dependent on liquor immediately, others find that this condition sneaks up on them slowly over time. From a subjective standpoint, this addiction occurs because people grow accustomed and dependent on the effects of alcohol. These effects include reduced inhibitions, euphoria, and lessened anxiety. Alcohol can foster social connections, making it easier for people to talk and open up with each other. Since these effects are positive, it is easy for people to want to experience them all the time.

From a biochemical standpoint, the problem is dopamine. When a person drinks, levels of dopamine in their brain spike. This neurotransmitter is the brain’s “reward chemical,” and it is responsible for reinforcing patterns of behavior. Drinking alcohol regularly or in high amounts increases the release of dopamine to a greater degree, which leads to the development of permanent cravings.

However, it is not just the positive effects of this drug that lead to addiction. The negative effects that abusers experience during withdrawal also play a pivotal role. After coming down from drinking, people experience the very opposite of the effects they felt while they were drink. They may find themselves anxious, depressed, and socially isolated. Physical symptoms can be painful and even life-threatening. To avoid these alcohol withdrawal symptoms, people may reach for another drink. This is often the beginning of a vicious cycle that becomes progressively more extreme over time.

What Are the Signs of Alcohol Abuse and Addiction?

It is sometimes difficult to recognize this condition, partly because this legal drug is so widely accepted in our society. Physicians and addiction counselors utilize the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) to determine if a person is suffering from this addiction. Depending on the number of symptoms present, an individual may be diagnosed with a mild (2-3 symptoms), moderate (4-5 symptoms), or severe (6 or more) case of alcohol use disorder (AUD). The signs of AUD are as follows:

  • Drinking more beverages or drinking over a longer period of time than originally intended
  • Had at least one experience of trying to cut down but finding it too difficult
  • Spending great periods of time drinking, recovering from drinking, or engaged in other related activities
  • Experiencing cravings that are so strong that it is difficult to think of anything else
  • Experienced disruptions of difficulties at home, with family members, at work, or at school
  • Drank despite it causing problems with interpersonal relationships
  • Cut down on activities or hobbies that you were once passionate about, because they got in the way of your drinking
  • Found yourself in dangerous or risky situations (such as driving under the influence, operating heavy machinery, or having unsafe sex) due to intoxication
  • Experienced anxiety, depression, memory loss, or other health problems due to drinking and yet continuing to drink.
  • Needing more alcohol than before in order to achieve the same effects
  • Suffering from severe withdrawal symptoms, including shakiness, restlessness, trouble sleeping, a racing heart, seizures, or delusions and hallucinations

Do I Have Alcoholism?

It can be difficult for people to know when they have an alcohol use disorder, and most people recognize it only when it has gotten very severe. Alcoholic drinks are both legal and socially accepted. In certain communities and social milieus, such as college campuses or specific industries, a certain degree of alcohol abuse is tolerated or even encouraged. When abuse is socially sanctioned, it can be extremely tricky to differentiate abuse from healthy usage.

In many cases, close friends and family members are often the first people to notice. Ultimately, though, the true test of whether a person suffers from this addiction is whether they feel in control of their usage. People who continue to drink despite negative consequences or a desire to stop certainly have an alcohol use disorder. It does not matter how much or how frequently a person drinks – but their relationship with the substance.

What Can I Do To Help an Alcoholic?

Most people know someone who has or is struggling with alcohol abuse. If you have a close friend or family member with this addiction, it can be very painful to just passively watch them harm themselves and the people around them. Fortunately, you can do a lot for them simply be showing support and showing them that recovery is possible. If you believe that someone is struggling, having a candid conversation is usually the way to go. Voicing your concerns nonjudgmentally may help them realize that they have a problem that can no longer be ignored.

They may not agree to it right away, but suggesting treatment programs for alcohol use disorder is a good idea. Do your research and find a program that fits flexibly into your loved ones schedule and that is backed by the latest research, such as NuView Treatment Center. Help them take baby steps. Perhaps driving them to talk with the staff at an outpatient rehab is something they’d be more comfortable with, for instance, rather than instantly committing to sobriety. Slow and steady wins the race. No one recovers overnight.

How is Alcohol Addiction Treated?

NuView Treatment Center utilizes a wide array of evidence-based approaches to treat AUDs. Our staff recognize that one-size-fits-all approaches rarely work. Our individualized treatment plans emphasize a variety of different methods. Together, they work to help a person develop the coping tools they need to avoid relapse and face the challenges of life, address physical symptoms of addiction, and health trauma and other conditions that may have driven a person to drink in the first place.

Therapy for Alcohol Abuse

Counseling is an extremely effective treatment modality for AUDs. Sometimes known as talk therapy, behavioral treatment is conducted by licensed therapists who are knowledgeable about the causes of addiction. Therapists help clients develop alternative behaviors for dealing with situations when they would normally drink. They also work to help their patients address underlying emotional issues that may have been factors in the development of their alcohol dependence.

Can Medication Help with Alcohol Addiction?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a number of drugs for the treatment of alcohol dependence. In most cases, this form of treatment is reserved for individuals who have severe cases. Medications, including naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram, work to decrease cravings and address acute withdrawal symptoms. Some medications even make drinking alcohol unpleasant, which can reduce motivation to drink. In almost all cases, medications are most effective when they are prescribed in conjunction with behavioral therapy.

Support Groups for Alcohol Use Disorder

At NuView Treatment Center, we recognize that having a strong social support system is one of the most effective tools for staying sober. Not only does it reduce the likelihood of relapse by helping people stay accountable, but it also can be a profound source of advice and guidance for individuals as they face challenges in their newfound sobriety. Support groups can range from spiritual 12-step groups like AA to more secular support groups. These group meetings are widely available and generally free in almost all locations around the world. In NuView’s outpatient programs, staff members help clients become integrated and involved in these mutual support communities.

How Do Outpatient Programs Help Alcohol Addicts?

NuView Treatment Center provides many options for outpatient programs for people who are trying to quit drinking and start new lives. These programs are distinct from inpatient programs insofar as they do not require clients to move out of their homes and into rehab. Instead, they have the freedom to pursue recovery on their own terms while living at home. These flexible programs ensure that people can recover while still following through on their work, school, and family responsibilities.

Outpatient programs are useful because they help clients address all aspects of their addiction disorder. Treating physical dependence is often the first and most fundamental stage. Alcohol addiction leads to such powerful physical dependence that quitting suddenly, or “cold turkey,” can be life-threatening. At NuView Treatment Center, our physicians and staff help clients quit this substance with a minimum of risk and pain. When necessary, we supervise a gradual reduction, a process known as tapering, which is not only easier and safer, but less likely to lead to relapse. Clients obtain plenty of support as they go through withdrawal.

But it is crucial to recognize that addiction to this substance is not merely a physical phenomenon. Most people abuse alcohol because they are trying to escape from their life circumstances or from some emotional pain. As such, it is absolutely critical to address both a client’s lifestyle and their emotional life to prevent relapse and build a meaningful new life in sobriety. Our staff members and trained clinicians work with clients to provide them with new solutions to their problems that do not involve taking a drink.

What To Expect in an Outpatient Program

When a new client enrolls in one of our outpatient programs, our staff members evaluate them to determine their background, the nature of their addiction, and their current circumstances. We then develop an individualized treatment plan that is custom tailored to their needs. We primarily utilized a combination of group therapy and one-on-one counseling. Our clinicians are trained in the latest evidence-based therapeutic models. Among the diverse variety of treatment approaches we offer are:

  • Dialectical behavioral therapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • Individual therapy
  • Medication monitoring
  • Mindfulness, medication activities, and yoga
  • Fitness and health education
  • 12-step programs and 12-step alternatives
  • Career and education planning
  • Alcohol and drug education
  • Urine tests to ensure continued abstinence
  • Relapse prevention training

Complementary and Alternative Therapies

Treating this disorder can sometimes benefit from the use of new and experimental treatment modalities. Since alcohol use disorder stems from a combination of both mental and physical factors, it can sometimes be helpful to utilize treatment methods that work to unify and bridge the gap between the mind and body. Clients with an interest in such approaches can effectively explore complementary therapies such as:

  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Fitness programs
  • Nutritional programs
  • Music therapy
  • Art therapy

Drinking heavily over the years can lead to permanent changes in brain chemistry. It may be difficult for people with a history of alcohol abuse to produce dopamine and other “feel-good” chemical naturally. These complementary therapies and lifestyle interventions may speed up the process of healing the brain. Moreover, they can help recovering alcoholics discover new sources of inspiration and meaning in their everyday lives.

What Types of Outpatient Programs Are Available for Alcohol Addiction?

The nature of a person’s relationship with a substance is by far the biggest factor when it comes to deciding on an outpatient program. NuView Treatment Center offers a range of different levels of care to address alcohol use disorder at different levels of severity. Clients often progress from one level of care to another as they develop stronger footholds in recovery.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

A partial hospitalization program is a highly structured and supportive way to learn how to live in the real world again if you have been spending much of your time under the influence. NuView’s PHP program offers both medical support and psychiatric help, allowing you to begin to rebuild your life again on two fronts. Our team supports your sobriety with group meetings and therapy multiple times a week for approximately half a day – making it unnecessary to relocate from home or job while you continue to recover. This allows you more time to focus on yourself while adding structure to your day so that you can be supported without feeling isolated.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

Our intensive outpatient program is one of our more robust programs in terms of frequency of treatment sessions with clients. When clients join, they can expect to take part in sessions several times a week for several hours. This approach is effective at treating the fundamental causes behind addiction and works well for people who want a tradeoff between the structure of an inpatient program and the flexibility of other options. Clients engage in regular group therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and skill-training workshops. They learn to identify their relapse triggers and develop new coping skills to avoid reacting to them while also developing strong social support systems outside of the clinical environment. At the same time, they start to build healthier lifestyles. This makes sobriety an easier transition than it typically is when a rehab focuses only on a client’s symptoms rather than curing their core issues as well.

Evening Intensive Outpatient Program (Evening IOP)

Our evening program is especially suited for the working professional. Many people have demanding jobs, class loads and even family lives that make it hard to find the time for rigorous treatment sessions during the day. Because of this, NuView Treatment Center offers special programs that don’t require clients to take a leave of absence from their careers or loved ones in order to seek high-quality care for addiction. We pride ourselves on offering alcohol treatment services that are designed to fit seamlessly into our clients’ busy schedules and work around all of their obligations.

Outpatient Program (OP)

Nuview’s outpatient program is the most basic phase of treatment for those who are new to our program and/or young clients. Sometimes, even in recovery from alcohol or other substances, people can experience a relapse if they are not adequately prepared to deal with triggers when they happen. Even if your loved ones don’t need more comprehensive treatment after being discharged from the hospital, family support and continued care at NuView can help reduce their risk of a relapse when they’re back home in the real world. Contact us today and see how we can help! The team of counselors at NuView is highly experienced when it comes to helping patients work toward achieving personal goals and returning to independence after completing their program.

How Can I Afford Rehab for Alcohol Addiction?

Alcohol addiction is a recognized mental health disorder by the American Psychiatric Association and as such is included in a list of disorders for which health insurance companies are legally obligated to offer coverage. NuView Treatment Center has relationships with most major insurance companies, making coverage simple. If you are addicted to alcohol, NuView Treatment Center can help negotiate with your insurance company in order to find out exactly what services are covered by your plan.

Individuals who have spent years abusing alcohol often suffer from financial, legal, or career problems. These issues can appear to present an obstacle to paying for treatment. Fortunately, NuView Treatment Center recognizes that these financial and lifestyle difficulties are common among addicts, so we work with clients and their families to get them the help they need no matter what their current circumstances are.

How Does NuView Treatment Center Support Families?

Addiction doesn’t just affect the person taking the medication, although this person is usually the most obviously impacted. In almost every case, loved ones of the addicted person suffer greatly as well, often resulting in feelings of anger, resentment, stress and sometimes even relief when a patient goes through treatment for their addiction. It also happens to be the case that addiction tends to run in families; this is due just as much if not more to upbringing than genetics. At NuView Treatment Center we strive to introduce all sorts of family-centered therapy options in addition to providing excellent group therapy for family members who need it most.

Family meetings and workshops allow family members to meet with the clinical staff, develop a support system, become educated about alcoholism, and learn new skills. During these meetings, the challenges of living with and supporting an alcohol-addicted individual can be discussed in a supportive environment. These skills are best learned over time, so it’s vital for the family of an addict to keep in contact so they can practice them. By participating in educational activities and sharing experiences, they can make the necessary changes required for a better lifestyle for everyone – not just their loved one. It’s important that each member of the household learns to take care of themselves first before taking on others.

Life After Alcohol Addiction

While you’re actively abusing alcohol, it may be difficult to imagine what life without this substance will look like. It might seem like there won’t be anybody to talk to or anything interesting to do since there won’t be any booze around anymore. At NuView Treatment Center’s outpatient programs, though, you’ll find that sobriety is truly a blessing once you begin learning how to avoid relapsing and instead learn valuable coping mechanisms so you can live a sober lifestyle come rain or shine! In the process of getting sober, you’ll develop a whole new life!

Recovery is never a one step process. Even after completing your treatment, it is important to support your recovery every day of your life by staying accountable and making the most out of each and every moment of sobriety. In this scenario, long term sobriety means you are still happy whether you have 3 or 30 years sober!

We support our clients as they work to get jobs and begin new careers, enroll in university programs, and reconnect with their families. The process can be a difficult road that might seem long at times, but in the end it could be the best decision you’ve ever made. After all, who wants to return to their old ways when every day of sobriety provides new joys and discoveries?

Since our outpatient programs are designed to help people find sobriety and get their lives back on track, we deeply value the importance of remaining in contact with our graduates following their treatment. A lot of former clients feel compelled to get involved with helping current clients too, which helps not only those new clients currently enrolled in our programs but also assists our former alumni. There is no better way of staying sober than working with others who are facing similar struggles.

Recovery is a lifelong process. But that’s not a bad thing. It means endless growth, opportunities for self-betterment, and new sources of joy and meaning. While people may enter treatment hopeless and dejected, they often later look back on this time as the beginning of a new way of life.

Outpatient Alcohol Treatment

Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism

The term “alcohol use disorder,” or AUD, is generally more commonly used than the word “alcoholism,” since the clinical term is more specific. Alcohol use disorder is a condition that causes people to be unable to control their own compulsion to drink despite suffering from considerable harms as a result of their drinking. 

It is important to understand that alcohol use disorder, like other substance use disorders, is a spectrum condition. 

Not everyone’s alcohol use disorder manifests in the same way. Unfortunately, it is all too common for people to mistakenly believe that all people who suffer from alcoholism are destitute, poorly groomed, and drinking out of a brown paper bag 24 hours a day. 

In actual fact, there are many kinds of alcoholics, and not everyone experiences harm from their drinking in the same manner. All too often, people fail to recognize their alcohol addiction or seek treatment because they believe that they don’t “look like an alcoholic.

Alcohol use disorder is a legitimate mental health condition, and it is diagnosed based on a wide range of symptoms. These criteria are listed in the DSM-5, the book used by psychiatrists and mental health professionals to diagnose mental health disorders. 

The DSM-5 lists eleven symptoms of alcohol use disorder. Individuals who suffer from 2-3 symptoms are said to have a mild alcohol use disorder. Those who experience 4-5 symptoms can be diagnosed with a moderate alcohol use disorder. 

Finally, individuals with 6 or more symptoms can be said to suffer from a severe alcohol use disorder. The symptoms of alcohol use disorder, as defined by the DSM-5, are as follows:

  1. Alcohol is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.
  2. There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control alcohol use.
  3. A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain alcohol, use alcohol, or recover from its effects.
  4. Craving, or a strong desire or urge to use alcohol.
  5. Recurrent alcohol use resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home.
  6. Continued alcohol use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of alcohol.
  7. Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of alcohol use.
  8. Recurrent alcohol use in situations in which it is physically hazardous.
  9. Alcohol use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by alcohol.
  10. Tolerance, as defined by either of the following: a) A need for markedly increased amounts of alcohol to achieve intoxication or desired effect, or b) A markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of alcohol.
  11. Withdrawal, as manifested by either of the following: a) The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for alcohol b) Alcohol (or a closely related substance, such as a benzodiazepine) is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.

For concerned friends and family members, it can often be difficult to detect a person’s alcohol use disorder. This is because many people go to great lengths to hide their addictions. However, when a person regularly abuses alcohol, the physical and behavioral signs of alcoholism are difficult to ignore. 

One might begin by noticing the immediate signs of alcohol abuse. While becoming overly intoxicated does not necessarily mean a person has an alcohol addiction, it is often a warning sign, and at the very least it increases the chances that they will develop an addiction to alcohol. Signs of dangerous and acute alcohol intoxication include:

  • Blackouts (especially during periods of binge drinking)
  • Slowed reaction times, difficulty walking, or problems with motor coordination
  • Memory impairment or lapses
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired judgment
  • Risk-taking without thinking about the consequences (including drunk driving)

Over time, individuals who develop a physical dependence or addiction to alcohol are likely to experience a wide range of consequences in their lives. Some noticeable patterns that can indicate an alcohol use disorder include:

  • Yo-yoing: Repeatedly stopping drinking and then returning to it, over and over
  • Reacting negatively to any perceived criticism of their drinking
  • Showing up drunk to a family event, meeting, or to work
  • Legal problems, including ones related to domestic abuse, assault, or drunk driving
  • Engaging in unprotected sex
  • Repeatedly engaging in dangerous activities that put themselves or others at risk
  • Financial problems
  • Taking out loans, asking for money, depleting accounts, or liquidating assets
  • Stealing
  • Lying or being evasive for no obvious reason
  • Lack of attention to personal grooming or appearance
  • Lack of interest in activities that were once enjoyable, because drinking seems preferable
  • Avoiding family or friends; social isolation
  • Social conflicts, arguments, or violence
  • Getting fired from work or expelled from school
  • Unexplained injuries or health problems

Long Term Consequences of Alcoholism

Individuals who develop alcohol addictions are likely to suffer from consequences that are the direct result of drinking, as well as consequences indirectly caused by the nature of addiction itself. Alcohol has a number of effects on people’s behavior, health, and emotional well-being that can be deeply damaging. 

However, it is important to note that the compulsion to drink is itself a major cause of harm. Individuals who develop alcohol addictions are likely to withdraw from relationships, hobbies, and other activities that once made their lives feel meaningful and fulfilling. 

They often neglect important foundational elements of their lives, including their personal health, finances, and careers. It is often the pursuit of alcohol, rather than alcohol itself, that causes the most damage since individuals who are addicted to alcohol are likely to drop out of their own lives.

Alcohol abuse can, however, directly lead to a number of severe issues. Some common consequences of long term alcohol abuse results include:

  • Accidents and injuries. Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. In addition to car accidents, however, alcohol intoxication can cause people to fall, drown, or suffer from other kinds of accidents. These can lead to severe injuries or even death.
  • Assault. People who abuse alcohol are more likely to be the victim of a violent or sexual assault, and they are also more likely to engage in assault themselves. Significant injuries, legal problems, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can result.
  • Risky sex. Having sex while abusing alcohol can lead to a wide range of problems. Nonconsensual sex is a significant risk. Alcohol intoxication can also lead people to have unprotected sex, which can result in unplanned pregnancies or the contraction of a sexually transmitted infection, such as hepatitus or HIV.
  • Brain damage. Alcohol is a central-nervous system depressant that inhibits the brain’s functionality. Over time, alcohol abuse can lead to permanent brain damage. Wernicke-Karsakoff syndrome, for instance, which arises due to alcohol-induced malnutrition, can lead to permanent motor impairment, confusion, encephalopathy, and psychosis.
  • Chronic medical conditions. Over time, alcohol abuse increases the likelihood of a number of different medical conditions. These include diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, liver cirrhosis, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and many varieties of cancer. Unfortunately, individuals with alcohol use disorder are unlikely to seek treatment for these conditions, and even when they do they are unlikely to take their medicine or follow through with medical recommendations.
  • Financial problems. Chronic drinking can cause people to lose their jobs. It can also put people into considerable debt. An inability to pay the bills, combined with a diminished social support system, can be catastrophic for alcoholics, often leading to homelessness.
  • Legal problems. Alcohol causes risky behavior that can put someone behind bars. Furthermore, individuals who have no financial resources but continue to experience a strong desire for alcohol will often use any means at their disposal to obtain liquor, including stealing.
  • Isolation. Alcohol can drive people to avoid social contact, and it can also alienate other people. As a result, people with drinking problems tend to lose their relationships with friends and family members.
  • Mental health disorders. Alcohol abuse increases the chances that a person will develop a wide range of mental illnesses, including depression and anxiety. It can also exacerbate the symptoms of pre-existing mental health conditions. Unfortunately, these mental health conditions can drive people to drink more alcohol to obtain temporary relief from their emotional stress.

Alcoholism and Mental Health

The relationship between alcohol abuse and mental illness is an important one, because it goes both ways. First and foremost, mental health conditions are often an important factor that drives people to abuse alcohol. Individuals experiencing emotional distress are likely to turn to alcohol to obtain short term relief from their symptoms. 

This is especially true for individuals who have undiagnosed or untreated mental health conditions. Unfortunately, the relief that alcohol provides when it is used for self-medication is very short term. In fact, regular alcohol abuse tends to worsen the symptoms of mental health disorders, and in many cases, it can lead to additional mental illnesses.

Alcohol abuse can exacerbate or lead to the development of a wide range of mental health problems. These include bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and major depression. It also increases suicidal ideation as well as the likelihood that a person will act on their suicidal ruminations.

 Ultimately, suffering from these mental health disorders can result in a person drinking more, since alcohol offers temporary relief from the symptoms. This can lead to a vicious cycle from which it is difficult to escape.

Individuals who suffer from alcohol use disorder in addition to one or more additional mental health conditions are said to be “dual diagnosis.” Anyone hoping to recover requires treatment for their alcohol addiction in addition to their comorbid mental health issues. 

If one condition is left untreated, it can provoke a relapse very easily. High-quality treatment programs offer a comprehensive form of treatment, known as integrated treatment. Integrated treatment addresses addiction as well as underlying mental illnesses, and pursuing such a comprehensive program is essential for dual diagnosis clients.

Outpatient Alcohol Treatment

If you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering from alcohol use disorder or engaging in dangerous patterns of alcohol abuse, it is essential to get outside help. It may be tempting to try to manage or control the problem on one’s own, but if an alcohol addiction has set in this is likely to be unsuccessful in the long run. 

Alcohol addiction hijacks the brain on a neurological level, making it impossible for a person to summon up the willpower they need to stay sober. Instead of trying to manage on one’s own, it is best to recognize the reality of alcohol use disorder and get treatment for this debilitating medical condition.

Outpatient alcohol treatment programs are widely recommended for individuals suffering from alcohol use disorder. Outpatient programs are addiction treatment programs that clients can attend for a period of time each day. 

These programs offer many of the same therapeutic modalities as residential treatment programs, but they provide clients with the flexibility to return home each day and pursue their lives in the outside world. 

Outpatient rehab for alcoholism thus offers clients a way to develop new skills and coping strategies while also giving them opportunities to put these newfound skills into practice in the outside world.

A wide variety of outpatient alcohol treatment programs exist to meet the needs of people suffering from alcohol use disorder at different levels of severity. These levels of care, in order of intensity, include partial hospitalization programs (PHPs), intensive outpatient programs (IOPs), outpatient programs (OPs), and aftercare planning. 

Individuals who make use of multiple levels of care as they progress in their recovery journeys are often the most likely to achieve long term sobriety.

NuView Treatment Center, an outpatient treatment center located in West Los Angeles, provides outpatient treatment at all levels of care. It is therefore suitable for individuals suffering from alcohol addiction at any level of severity, as well as people with other addictions and mental health disorders. At NuView Treatment Center, our trained and compassionate staff aim to help people build a foundation for long term sobriety. 

We offer the latest evidence-based addiction treatment methods and therapeutic modalities. As one of the best alcohol rehab centers in Los Angeles CA, our goal is not only to help people stay physically abstinent, but to develop new lives that are meaningful and fulfilling.

If you are ready to end the vicious cycle of alcohol abuse and begin a new way of life with our alcohol detox program in Los Angeles, reach out to NuView Treatment Center today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Alcohol, which is a form of the organic chemical compound ethanol, is a type of beverage that produces psychoactive effects. Alcohol is made through the process of fermentation, and thus alcohol can be produced from any high-sugar substance, ranging from fruit to honey.

Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. The central nervous system, which consists of the brain and spinal cord, is responsible for processing information and coordinating the activity of all parts of the body.

Alcoholism inhibits the functioning of the central nervous system, resulting in a wide variety of mental, physical, and behavioral symptoms. Common effects include slurred speech, decreased brain function, impaired motor skills, and a higher likelihood of engaging in high-risk behaviors. At higher doses, the effects of alcohol intoxication become more acute and dangerous. This state of intoxication is generally known as being drunk.

Alcohol consumption is expected and normalized in many circumstances, including on dates, at weddings, during religious ceremonies, and as part of college life. People drink to celebrate achievements, to mourn loss, and often simply to “loosen up.” Drinking alcohol feels relaxing, lifts people’s moods, and it tends to remove social inhibitions.

 

As such, it is often referred to as a “social lubricant,” and it is widely used in social settings to facilitate communication and comradery. While safe alcohol consumption is possible in certain contexts, it is important to note that even in circumstances where alcohol consumption is considered “normal,” it is indeed possible to abuse the substance. Given its ubiquity and the important role alcohol plays in many aspects of culture, it should come as no surprise that it is also big business. In 2018, alcohol sales in the United States were valued at approximately $253.8 billion. Alcohol is a legal drug, despite being arguably more dangerous than many illegal recreational drugs.

 

It is aggressively advertised to people and glamorized in movies, TV shows, and music. For many people, purchasing their first drink is seen as an important rite of passage. Thus, for individuals who struggle with alcohol abuse, admitting to a problem or quitting can feel deeply isolating.

It is difficult to answer the question of why some people develop alcohol addiction and others do not. Ultimately, alcohol addiction is affected by a wide variety of factors, ranging from personal genetics to environmental factors.

 

However, researchers have in recent years come to a better understanding of how alcoholism develops. Certain behaviors, such as binge drinking or drinking in the morning, increase a person’s susceptibility to alcohol addiction.

 

However, alcohol addiction is notoriously difficult to predict. Some people develop addictions soon after their first drink, while others only develop alcoholism late in life. Once a person develops an alcohol addiction, their alcohol abuse tends to escalate quickly.

 

The harms that alcohol abuse inflicts on a person’s life can drive a person to drink more to relieve themselves of the emotional distress. At a certain point, individuals may find themselves in a vicious cycle, and it may be most accurate to say that the cause of their alcohol abuse is, strangely enough, alcohol abuse itself.

Alcohol dependence occurs when the brain and body are so adapted to alcohol consumption, that they actually fail to function properly when alcohol is absent. However, not everyone with alcohol dependence is addicted, and not everyone with alcohol addiction is physically dependent.

 

Alcohol addiction often occurs after a person has developed a physical dependence on alcohol, though in many cases it occurs long before physical dependence. Alcohol addiction is characterized by a psychological dependence on alcohol, which leads to cravings and obsessions that go beyond the mere physical demands of the body.

 

For these individuals, alcohol fulfills an important psychological and emotional need. It may be a form of self-medication for an undiagnosed mental health disorder or a form of escapism from life difficulties, such as loneliness or economic hardship.

 

No matter how or why a person develops an alcohol addiction, the primary effect of alcohol addiction is that it makes people unable to stop drinking. In fact, even people who get through their withdrawal symptoms and are no longer physically dependent on alcohol will often return to alcohol consumption.

 

For this reason, understanding the distinction between physical dependence and addiction is essential to avoiding relapse and achieving long term recovery.

Alcohol tolerance, at least to a certain degree, occurs when anyone drinks, whether they have a substance use disorder or not.

 

Over time, people’s brains and bodies adapt to the effects of alcohol. Since alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, their bodies actually respond by learning to habitually keep the central nervous system in a state of heightened overactivity. Once a person’s central nervous system has gotten used to alcohol, it will require a greater quantity of alcohol for a person to achieve the same desired effects.

 

During the beginning of a person’s drinking career, for instance, two or three beers may have been sufficient to intoxicate them, but after a while it may take five or six. This phenomenon, known as tolerance, can drive people to drink in larger amounts or with greater frequency. There is no upper limit to tolerance, and people with severe addictions often reach a point where astronomically high doses of alcohol have little to no effect.

 

At a certain point, especially if a person has increased their liquor consumption to combat the effects of tolerance, alcohol dependence can develop. When a person has developed a physical dependence on alcohol, they will experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking.

 

Alcohol withdrawal, often known as a hangover, can range in severity, depending on a person’s alcohol consumption. It can manifest as a painful and debilitating state of body and mind, but in severe cases it can be a dangerous and life-threatening condition. To combat alcohol withdrawal, people with physical dependence will continue to drink. For these individuals, drinking becomes the only way they can function in their everyday lives.

When most people think of the word, “alcoholic,” they likely have a specific image in mind. Most likely, this image is culled from depictions of alcoholism in movies, television shows, and other media. They may picture a person who has lost everything, perhaps someone living on the street.

 

The term “alcoholic” generally conjures up an image of someone who drinks alcohol around the clock, from the moment they wake up to the moment when they finally pass out at night.

 

For many people suffering from alcohol use disorder, this image is accurate. But it is important to recognize that there are many ways of abusing alcohol, and not all of them conform to the stereotypical image of alcoholism.

 

The most dangerous type of drinking is known as binge drinking. Individuals who engage in binge drinking often do not drink during most of the week, waiting until the weekend to finally let loose. Many appear to live and function very well in their lives. They may be a classic example of the expression, “work hard, play hard.” In fact, this style of drinking is widely valued in our culture. But what is binge drinking?

 

Binge drinking can be described as a pattern of drinking high quantities of alcohol in a very short period of time. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as any drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) up to 0.08%.

 

For most adult men, this can occur when they drink 5 or more drinks in under 2 hours. For adult women, this occurs after 4 drinks in under 2 hours. For young adults, adolescents, and children, it can take far less for a high BAC to occur.

 

Binge drinking puts a person at considerable risk. It is the form of drinking most associated with alcohol overdose, and it leads to countless hospitalizations every year. Binge drinking also leads to acute intoxication, which can drive people to engage in risky behaviors, ranging from drunk driving to sexual assault. Over the long term, binge drinking is the type of drinking that puts people at the highest risk of developing alcohol addiction.

 

Unfortunately, binge drinking is often dismissed. Many people assume that if they only drink on weekends, no matter how much they drink, it is impossible to have an alcohol use disorder. In fact, binge drinking is often even encouraged. College campuses throughout the United States often present binge drinking as a rite of passage, or even an essential aspect of the college experience.

 

Ultimately, it is important to recognize that if a person regularly engages in binge drinking and experiences negative consequences, they are engaging in a dangerous form of alcohol abuse — and they may have an alcohol use disorder. They do not have to drink every day to suffer from an addiction.

When people drink alcohol, the beverage causes their brains to release high quantities of a neurotransmitter known as dopamine. Dopamine causes people to feel intense pleasure, and it is sometimes described as the brain’s way of rewarding itself.

 

This neurotransmitter plays an important role in the brain’s motivation and decision making centers, serving as a reinforcing mechanism for important behaviors.

 

The dopamine and endorphins that alcohol release are in large part responsible for the pleasure and euphoria of drinking, but these neurotransmitters also cause the behavior of drinking to be reinforced, making it more likely that a person will want to drink again in the future.

For concerned friends and family members, it can often be difficult to detect a person’s alcohol use disorder. This is because many people go to great lengths to hide their addictions. However, when a person regularly abuses alcohol, the physical and behavioral signs of alcoholism are difficult to ignore.

One might begin by noticing the immediate signs of alcohol abuse. While becoming overly intoxicated does not necessarily mean a person has an alcohol addiction, it is often a warning sign, and at the very least it increases the chances that they will develop an addiction to alcohol. Signs of dangerous and acute alcohol intoxication include:

 

  • Blackouts (especially during periods of binge drinking)
  • Slowed reaction times, difficulty walking, or problems with motor coordination
  • Memory impairment or lapses
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired judgment

Risk-taking without thinking about the consequences (including drunk driving) Over time, individuals who develop a physical dependence or addiction to alcohol are likely to experience a wide range of consequences in their lives. Some noticeable patterns that can indicate an alcohol use disorder include:

 

  • Yo-yoing: Repeatedly stopping drinking and then returning to it, over and over
  • Reacting negatively to any perceived criticism of their drinking
  • Showing up drunk to a family event, meeting, or to work
  • Legal problems, including ones related to domestic abuse, assault, or drunk driving
  • Engaging in unprotected sex
  • Repeatedly engaging in dangerous activities that put themselves or others at risk
  • Financial problems
  • Taking out loans, asking for money, depleting accounts, or liquidating assets
  • Stealing
  • Lying or being evasive for no obvious reason
  • Lack of attention to personal grooming or appearance
  • Lack of interest in activities that were once enjoyable, because drinking seems preferable
  • Avoiding family or friends; social isolation
  • Social conflicts, arguments, or violence
  • Getting fired from work or expelled from school
  • Unexplained injuries or health problems

It is important to understand that alcohol use disorder, like other substance use disorders, is a spectrum condition. Not everyone experiences the same degree of severity, and some people are able to function (or appear to function) despite having a problem. However, they might be suffering behind the scenes. Moreover, over time substance use disorders like alcoholism tend to get progressively worse. This means that it is in the best interests of even “high-functioning” alcoholics to get treatment right away. The term “alcohol use disorder,” or AUD, is generally more commonly used than the word “alcoholism,” since the clinical term is more specific. Alcohol use disorder is a condition that causes people to be unable to control their own compulsion to drink despite suffering from considerable harms as a result of their drinking.

 

Not everyone’s alcohol use disorder manifests in the same way. Unfortunately, it is all too common for people to mistakenly believe that all people who suffer from alcoholism are destitute, poorly groomed, and drinking out of a brown paper bag 24 hours a day.

 

In actual fact, there are many kinds of alcoholics, and not everyone experiences harm from their drinking in the same manner. All too often, people fail to recognize their alcohol addiction or seek treatment because they believe that they don’t “look like an alcoholic.

Individuals who develop alcohol addictions are likely to suffer from consequences that are the direct result of drinking, as well as consequences indirectly caused by the nature of addiction itself. Alcohol has a number of effects on people’s behavior, health, and emotional well-being that can be deeply damaging.

 

However, it is important to note that the compulsion to drink is itself a major cause of harm. Individuals who develop alcohol addictions are likely to withdraw from relationships, hobbies, and other activities that once made their lives feel meaningful and fulfilling.

 

They often neglect important foundational elements of their lives, including their personal health, finances, and careers. It is often the pursuit of alcohol, rather than alcohol itself, that causes the most damage since individuals who are addicted to alcohol are likely to drop out of their own lives.

 

Alcohol abuse can, however, directly lead to a number of severe issues. Some common consequences of long term alcohol abuse results include:

 

  • Accidents and injuries. Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. In addition to car accidents, however, alcohol intoxication can cause people to fall, drown, or suffer from other kinds of accidents. These can lead to severe injuries or even death.
  • Assault. People who abuse alcohol are more likely to be the victim of a violent or sexual assault, and they are also more likely to engage in assault themselves. Significant injuries, legal problems, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can result.
  • Risky sex. Having sex while abusing alcohol can lead to a wide range of problems. Nonconsensual sex is a significant risk. Alcohol intoxication can also lead people to have unprotected sex, which can result in unplanned pregnancies or the contraction of a sexually transmitted infection, such as hepatitus or HIV.
  • Brain damage. Alcohol is a central-nervous system depressant that inhibits the brain’s functionality. Over time, alcohol abuse can lead to permanent brain damage. Wernicke-Karsakoff syndrome, for instance, which arises due to alcohol-induced malnutrition, can lead to permanent motor impairment, confusion, encephalopathy, and psychosis.
  • Chronic medical conditions. Over time, alcohol abuse increases the likelihood of a number of different medical conditions. These include diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, liver cirrhosis, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and many varieties of cancer. Unfortunately, individuals with alcohol use disorder are unlikely to seek treatment for these conditions, and even when they do they are unlikely to take their medicine or follow through with medical recommendations.
  • Financial problems. Chronic drinking can cause people to lose their jobs. It can also put people into considerable debt. An inability to pay the bills, combined with a diminished social support system, can be catastrophic for alcoholics, often leading to homelessness.
  • Legal problems. Alcohol causes risky behavior that can put someone behind bars. Furthermore, individuals who have no financial resources but continue to experience a strong desire for alcohol will often use any means at their disposal to obtain liquor, including stealing.
  • Isolation. Alcohol can drive people to avoid social contact, and it can also alienate other people. As a result, people with drinking problems tend to lose their relationships with friends and family members.
  • Mental health disorders. Alcohol abuse increases the chances that a person will develop a wide range of mental illnesses, including depression and anxiety. It can also exacerbate the symptoms of pre-existing mental health conditions. Unfortunately, these mental health conditions can drive people to drink more alcohol to obtain temporary relief from their emotional stress.

The relationship between alcohol abuse and mental illness is an important one, because it goes both ways. First and foremost, mental health conditions are often an important factor that drives people to abuse alcohol. Individuals experiencing emotional distress are likely to turn to alcohol to obtain short term relief from their symptoms.

 

This is especially true for individuals who have undiagnosed or untreated mental health conditions. Unfortunately, the relief that alcohol provides when it is used for self-medication is very short term. In fact, regular alcohol abuse tends to worsen the symptoms of mental health disorders, and in many cases, it can lead to additional mental illnesses.

 

Alcohol abuse can exacerbate or lead to the development of a wide range of mental health problems. These include bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and major depression. It also increases suicidal ideation as well as the likelihood that a person will act on their suicidal ruminations.

 

Ultimately, suffering from these mental health disorders can result in a person drinking more, since alcohol offers temporary relief from the symptoms. This can lead to a vicious cycle from which it is difficult to escape.

 

Individuals who suffer from alcohol use disorder in addition to one or more additional mental health conditions are said to be “dual diagnosis.” Anyone hoping to recover requires treatment for their alcohol addiction in addition to their comorbid mental health issues.

 

If one condition is left untreated, it can provoke a relapse very easily. High-quality treatment programs offer a comprehensive form of treatment, known as integrated treatment. Integrated treatment addresses addiction as well as underlying mental illnesses, and pursuing such a comprehensive program is essential for dual diagnosis clients.

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