Few will raise their eyebrows in surprise upon hearing that alcohol is popular all over the world. It stays in demand at parties, bars and club scenes, and restaurants. It’s even in the homes of millions of people who may pour up a glass of wine, pop open a beer, or sip on a cocktail as they unwind or enjoy a gathering with friends.
Still, despite its widespread appeal in diverse circles, too much alcohol can bring many problems, one of them being alcohol addiction. This kind of addiction, also called alcoholism, refers to a chemical and emotional dependency that causes a person to drink compulsively despite consequences that could prove harmful or fatal.
Not everyone who drinks will use alcohol to the point of developing alcohol use disorder (AUD). However, the possibility that some people will is real, especially if they are at higher risk because of genetics, family history, or social or home environment. AUD is estimated to affect at least 16 million Americans, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
Alcohol Leads Abused Substances in NJ
Data from a 2017 Substance Abuse Overview report for New Jersey shows that alcohol was the top primary drug for state residents being admitted into substance abuse treatment in 2017, counting for 27 percent of facility admissions that year.
The state also has seen a binge-drinking trend emerge in recent years. Binge drinking is defined as heavy alcohol use that takes place in a short period. Men who consume five or more drinks per occasion and women who consume four or more drinks per occasion are binge drinking.
A study that reviewed alcohol use among New Jersey’s counties found that binge drinking was among the fastest-growing phenomenons in alcohol consumption in the state. It also found that women were the demographic that gave rise to the trend.
According to statistics highlighted by the New Jersey State Health Assessment Data (NJSHAD) organization, “In New Jersey, the estimated percentage of adults who reported binge drinking in the past 30 days in 2017 was 16.7%.” Estimates for 2017 show that 17.0 percent of U.S. adults that year reported binge drinking in the past 30 days.
NJSHAD notes that binge drinking is of particular concern because “it is an indicator of potentially serious alcohol abuse, and is related to driving under the influence of alcohol.” It goes on to say that “alcohol abuse is strongly associated with injuries and violence, chronic liver disease, fetal alcohol syndrome, and risk of other acute and chronic health conditions.”
An estimated 88,000 deaths linked to alcoholism and alcohol abuse occur yearly in the U.S., making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States, as stated by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. If you or someone you know is ready to get help for alcohol addiction, reach out to a center that specializes in helping people overcome substance abuse.
Alcohol abuse also can bring on serious issues that are harmful to one’s health and well-being. Some are even life-threatening. Among these issues are:
- Alcohol poisoning
- Falls, drownings, burns, fights, and other potentially fatal injuries linked to intoxication
- DUIs and deadly car accidents brought on by drunk driving
- Contracting sexually transmitted diseases due to having risky sex while under the influence
- Physical or sexual violence and intimate partner violence
- Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders in pregnant women who drink alcohol
How Rehab for Alcohol Addiction Can Help
Excessive drinking can create a chemical dependence on alcohol that requires professional help to end. If you are drinking more than you intended or drinking to feel “normal,” then you might want to consider starting treatment for alcohol addiction.
New Jersey has many alcohol rehab options available that can support you in your decision to quit and help you figure out how to do it. A facility-guided program for recovery keeps many people focused and committed to their sobriety. There are many benefits to getting help.
Alcohol recovery programs:
- Teach people about alcohol use and how it affects them and the people around them
- Engage recovering users in therapy and counseling that prompts them to look at their thoughts, behaviors, and motivations through a lens that helps them understand their substance abuse
- Encourage people to practice self-care on the physical, mental, and emotional level; and
- Helps people repair and restore relationships that struggled during addiction
Treatment for addiction should never be a one-size-fits-all program. Alcohol addiction recovery must meet the needs of the person receiving it for it to work well. Effective programs offer customized treatment plans that employ the continuum of care. If a mental health disorder is diagnosed during one’s time in treatment, dual diagnosis programs will treat both the substance use disorder and the mental health condition at the same time.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), treatment for addiction should last a minimum of 90 days. Various treatment programs are available, including residential treatment that requires a 30-day or longer stay in a facility that offers 24-hour care or outpatient treatment, which allows you to receive treatment services for a specified time while you live at home.
Addiction care specialists will meet with you (or your loved one) to determine what the best placement is for your needs and situation. The recovery program planned for you could include prescribed medications to help you abstain from alcohol, such as acamprosate, disulfiram, and naltrexone. It also could include counseling and guided programs, such as 12 Steps.