Menu Close

Contact Insight Recovery Today

Learn more about Insight Recovery by visiting our contact page or giving us a call.

Understanding Alcohol Dependence

close up of woman urgently drinking a beer as an example of understanding alcohol dependence

An estimated 7% of American adults have a dependence on alcohol, according to the National Institutes of Health. An alcohol use disorder can greatly impact your life and requires treatment from professionals. If you have an addiction to alcohol, turn to our alcohol rehab in North Carolina by contacting Insight Recovery Center at 828.826.1376.

What Is an Alcohol Use Disorder?

Alcohol dependence is a chronic condition characterized by the compulsive need to drink despite the negative consequences alcohol has on your relationships, career, and health. It is a spectrum disorder and can be mild, moderate, or severe.

Some of the most common symptoms of an alcohol use disorder include:

  • Inability to stop drinking
  • Lying about alcohol consumption
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms
  • Experiencing cravings
  • Isolation
  • Developing a tolerance to alcohol
  • Drinking alcohol at inappropriate moments

Alcohol dependence can occur to anyone, but some risk factors can increase the likelihood of developing this condition.

For example, having a close relative with an addiction can make it more likely for you to struggle with one, too, as can having an untreated mental health condition. You are also more likely to struggle with addiction if you have experienced trauma, neglect, or abuse, or if you have a negative home environment.

How Alcohol Affects the Brain

Like other addictive substances, alcohol produces pleasurable sensations while also decreasing negative feelings. Alcohol makes changes to your brain structure, affecting the areas that control balance, speech, memory, and judgment. These changes can make it more difficult for you to stop drinking.

The Dangers of Alcohol Dependence

An alcohol substance use disorder can cause short-term and long-term physical and mental health effects.

Short-term effects include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Slowed breathing
  • Unconsciousness
  • Anemia
  • Depression
  • Irritability

Alcohol can also cause memory and concentration problems.

In addition to the short-term effects of alcohol, long-term effects can include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Gastritis
  • Brain damage
  • Malnutrition
  • Liver disease
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Impaired memory

Attempting to get sober on your own is also dangerous because the detoxification process can cause serious withdrawal symptoms, including delirium tremens. To break free from alcohol dependence, you need to turn to professional treatment programs.

Treating an Alcohol Use Disorder

Treating alcohol dependence begins with a detox process that removes alcohol from your body. Once you complete this process, you can begin therapy sessions that can help you uncover the cause of your addiction.

Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) can be a good option for those who have an alcohol dependence but do not want to enter residential treatment. An IOP provides a level of care comparable to inpatient treatment but allows you to return home each night.

At an IOP, you can participate in individual therapy sessions that use behavioral therapies to help you make positive changes. Because addiction can be isolating, IOPs also offer group therapy to help you see that you are not alone in the challenges you face. Additionally, group therapy can help you build a support system.

Addiction can affect your family. Family therapy sessions offer the chance to start healing damaged relationships and to start building trust between family members.

There are aftercare programs designed to treat alcohol dependence as well. These programs can help you maintain sobriety and can also offer life skills, like employment guidance and stress management.

Start Your Alcohol Use Disorder Recovery at Insight Recovery Center

You don’t have to struggle with an alcohol use disorder on your own. At Insight Recovery Center, we offer treatment programs for alcohol dependence in North Carolina that can address the unique challenges you face.

With a team of experts who have years of experience offering support, we can help you find the path to long-term sobriety. Get started today by calling Insight Recovery Center at 828.826.1376 or reaching out online.