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West Virginia Alcohol Addiction

Alcoholism is among the most severe substance addictions to overcome. It affects a wide range of people, including the youth. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, the average people begin using alcohol in West Virginia is 13.3 years. Furthermore, 63% of the youth in the state do not think that it is dangerous to have more than five drinks in a sitting twice a week, which is higher than the nation’s average of 59.8%. West Virginia alcohol addiction can begin early on and affect people of all ages and backgrounds.


What is alcoholism?

Alcoholism is the compulsive consumption of alcohol over a long period of time that results in withdrawal symptoms and a tolerance. It is a destructive behavioral pattern that is characterized by often consuming more alcohol than intended, unable to limit how often you drink and spending a lot of time recovering from and acquiring alcohol. The person is often aware that they have a problem but are unable to exert any control over their consumption. There are relationship problems as the person’s behavior becomes altered by the addiction. It is a disease and not a weakness in a person’s willpower and character. According to Medicine Net, it affects more than 14 million Americans.

The factors that lead to alcoholism can be varied. The mood altering affect the alcohol has on the brain can cause a person to become psychologically addicted to the feeling it creates often drinking to relieve stress or anxiety. Low self-esteem and depression are often self-medicated with alcohol and the continued use reinforces it as a means to deal with the issues. However, after the effects end, the person experiences more anxiety and depression. Social factors also play a role such as peer pressure and marketing. Genetics play an important role in addiction. If a person has other alcoholics in the family then the risk of developing alcoholism is higher.


Effects of alcoholism on the body

Alcoholism or alcohol abuse can cause several severe conditions in the body, especially when it is abused over an extended period. The systems that are affected by the abuse of alcohol are as follows:

∙         Brain – Changes to a person’s behavior and mood can occur as the alcohol affects the way the brain’s pathways communicate with each other. This can make thinking clearly and coordination more difficult.

∙         Heart – Heart problems can be caused by a single binge drinking session. The problems include arrhythmias, strokes, cardiomyopathy and high blood pressure. In smaller quantities, alcohol can help to reduce coronary heart disease.

∙         Liver – The liver suffers when a person drinks large amounts over a long period. Steatosis is common condition as well as hepatitis. Fibrosis can occur as well as cirrhosis.

∙         Pancreas – The pancreas produces toxins when alcohol is consumed in large amounts which can lead to an inflammation of the vessels and impede proper digestive function, called pancreatitis.

∙         Various cancers – The risk of developing cancer is increased with alcoholism. Cancer can develop in several areas including the breast, liver, throat, mouth and esophagus.

∙         Immune system – The excessive drinking alcoholics do can cause their immune system to become weak. This opens the door to many diseases such as tuberculosis and pneumonia. Other infections can occur as the body is unable to properly ward off the invaders.

Signs of alcohol abuse

West Virginia alcohol addiction can be treated at one of the certified rehab centers that are able to treat the alcoholism with the best-known methods or treatment. Noticing the signs of abuse is an important step to realizing that there is a problem present.

In oneself, there may be a problem if you often lie to others about your drinking habits, feel guilty about your drinking, friends and family worry about your drinking, you have to have a drink to relax, you sometimes blackout from drinking and often drink more than you wanted to drink.

Other signs of alcohol abuse and addiction to be on the lookout for include the following:

∙         Withdrawal symptoms occur sometimes within hours of the last drink. These are symptoms that occur as a result of a dependence to alcohol that has formed; the body requires the alcohol in order to function because it has adapted to the presence of excessive amounts of alcohol. Withdrawal symptoms can include insomnia, nausea, vomiting, excessive sweating, shakiness, anxiety, depression, fatigue, headaches and irritability. Delirium tremens also occur that can include severe confusion and hallucinations along with seizures. Severe withdrawal symptoms require medical attention.

∙         A tolerance have developed that requires the person to drink more and more in order to reach the same level of intoxication. Two beers may have given the person a “tipsy” feeling in the past but they require six beers now to achieve the same feeling.

∙         There is a lack of control over how often and how much you wanted to drink.

∙         The individual is unable to stop drinking. They may want to but they cannot stop. Previous attempts to quit drinking have failed.

∙         Alcohol has taken over the person’s life and other activities are abandoned in favor of drinking.

∙         The person spends a lot of their time drinking, getting more alcohol and recovering from drinking sessions.

∙         Even though there are noticeable problems with the person’s health and life in general due to alcohol consumption, they continue to drink.


Treatment for West Virginia alcohol addiction

West Virginia alcohol addiction is treatable through various inpatient and outpatient programs including 12-step programs. Initially, a severe addiction case will involve a detoxification process. Drugs such as methadone are used to assist the patient with the symptoms of withdrawal. Once the detox is completed meaning that the majority of the withdrawal symptoms have dissipated, treatment begins. Behavioral therapies are employed such as motivational incentives and motivational interviewing to assist the patient with their behavior and thinking that leads to their abuse. Aftercare programs such as support groups are important post-treatment to ensure that relapse is avoided and long-term recovery is achieved.

West Virginia alcohol addiction can be overcome with professional help and the motivation to succeed. Find the assistance that you or a loved one needs today and begin the journey to a new way of life, a life free from the grip of substance abuse.