According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, over 14 million Americans were diagnosed with alcohol use disorder (AUD) in 2018 alone. Approximately 88,000 people die annually due to alcohol abuse, making it the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Alcohol addiction is a devastating disease that affects entire families, and there is no easy way to address the intense effects of AUD. However, there is always help available, and Redpoint is ready to help you take your first step toward a sober future.

Boulder and Larimer County Mental Health and Drug Rehab Alcohol Addiction Photo

Because of the ubiquity of alcohol use and addiction, the trained clinicians at Redpoint employ a variety of approaches to help you address your unique relationship with alcohol and the physical and emotional effects of its use.

Identifying Alcohol Use Disorder

There are many factors involved in the development of AUD, with no one single path that begets the disease. Environmental factors and influences, as well as genetics, all contribute to the development of addiction. Each client will have their own experiences, strengths, needs, and goals in their path to recovery. Helping family members and those suffering from AUD identify the signs and symptoms of alcohol use is paramount for taking the first step toward recovery. Each client will have their own symptoms or combination of symptoms as a result of addiction. Some of the most common signs of AUD include:

  • Short-term memory loss, both under the influence and in periods of abstinence
  • Irritability and extreme mood swings
  • Drinking to relax or “feel normal”
  • Drinking in spite of, or instead of, responsibilities and obligations
  • Hiding or concealing the amount or frequency of use
  • Changes in physical appearance
  • Cravings or urges to drink
  • Inconsistent professional or scholastic attendance
  • Feeling isolated or distancing oneself from friends and family
  • Disinterest in previous hobbies
  • Skipping meals
  • Financial troubles or inconsistent budgeting
  • Destruction of important relationships

There are many misconceptions about what constitutes AUD, and it is common to gauge one’s use of alcohol by the number of drinks one has. However, this method doesn’t necessarily represent one’s relationship with alcohol. Instead of asking, “Am I drinking too much?” it can be more impactful to instead ask how one’s use of alcohol affects their daily life.

How Alcohol Addiction Affects Daily Life

AUD affects clients and their families in a variety of ways. While how long one has been using alcohol, the age at which one started using, and how much is used in a single sitting all inform one’s relationship with alcohol, there are other ways in which a person can gauge their relationship with alcohol.

Some may engage in binge drinking or drinking an excessive number of drinks in a single sitting, typically at least four (for women) to five (for men.) However, excessive alcohol use instead measures how many drinks an individual has per week. Others may engage with alcohol daily, feeling as if it is a necessary part of the day either to get moving in the morning or to wind down at the end of the day. Regularly engaging with alcohol, even if one isn’t completely inebriated, demands just as much action.

Asking the Right Questions

Asking the right questions when it comes to a client’s relationship with alcohol is crucial for determining how their use of alcohol affects daily life. Some of the best questions to ask include:

  • Have you ever drank more than intended?
  • Were you unable to cease or cut down one’s use of alcohol, even when trying?
  • Have you engaged in drinking at the expense of other responsibilities or obligations?
  • Have hangovers affected personal responsibilities, such as workplace performance, attendance, or familial obligations?
  • Are thoughts of drinking consistently manifesting throughout the day?
  • Have you ever felt guilty about your use of alcohol?
  • Have you felt irritable, depressed, or anxious or experienced mood swings when not drinking alcohol?
  • Do you engage in riskier behavior while under the influence of alcohol, such as unsafe sexual encounters or driving a vehicle?

AUD affects each individual differently, and measuring one’s relationship with alcohol only by the number of drinks consumed per sitting can leave a lot of important information missing. Rather, looking at one’s attitudes surrounding alcohol and how it impacts one’s daily life is more illuminating.

Alcohol and the Brain

The brain is very susceptible to the use of alcohol, and AUD can have a plethora of prolonged effects on one’s brain, even affecting one’s neurons and brain chemistry. From nausea and headaches to sustained feelings of anxiety, depression, anger, mood swings, insomnia, nightmares, and difficulty forming and recalling memories, alcohol’s effects on the brain are extensive. Many of these effects persist even after the immediate effects of alcohol have worn off.

Alcohol and the Body

Excessive and prolonged use of alcohol also affects the rest of the body, especially one’s heart and liver. Heart disease, elevated blood pressure, arrhythmia, cardiomyopathy, and stroke are all possible due to alcohol use. The liver can be overly taxed as it processes the toxins alcohol regularly introduces to the body. Cirrhosis, fibrosis, and other liver diseases are common due to excessive alcohol use, and seeking professional detox and medical treatment is necessary to prevent these destructive effects of alcohol on the body.

Alcohol and Dual-Diagnosis

Dual-diagnosis indicates the presence of a mental health disorder coupled with substance use disorder (SUD). Anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, and other mental health disorders can all inform a client’s use of addictive substances, often creating dangerous attempts at self-medication. Dealing with mental health disorders and AUD in tandem is crucial for effective treatment and recovery, and the trained professionals at Redpoint are equipped to help clients navigate their emotional needs and develop personalized coping strategies for a sober future.

Taking Your First Step at Redpoint

There are as many paths to sobriety as there are people, and having a personalized approach is crucial for making the most of your time in a treatment program. At Redpoint, we champion the idea that each client can personalize their recovery, and guide each client through their own best recovery path. By utilizing cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), motivational interviewing, and a myriad of experiential therapies, we create a transformative experience to help each client pursue their personal goals beyond the use of alcohol.

Individual and group therapy, medication-assisted treatment to help with withdrawal or the emotional trials of addiction, and developing life skills and relapse prevention plans are all part of Redpoint’s approach to a sober future, all of which can be catered to each client’s individual needs and goals.

At Redpoint, our experts can help with AUD. We have the treatment and therapy options necessary to get your life back on track. Call us at (303) 710-8496.

If you have questions about Redpoint Center's mental health rehab and drug programs in Boulder, Larimer, or Garfield County, please call (888) 509-3153 or text us now.