What Is Alcohol Addiction and How Is It Treated?

What Is Alcohol Addiction and How Is It Treated?

Alcohol addiction is a leading cause of death and affects many families yearly. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Alcohol consumption contributes to 3 million deaths each year globally as well as to the disabilities and poor health of millions of people.” Early intervention and professional addiction treatment provide the best outcomes for most people with alcohol use disorder (AUD). Laguna Shores Recovery offers evidence-based treatments and high-quality addiction recovery services to individuals with AUD.

What Is Alcohol Addiction?

Alcohol is commonly consumed as a part of everyday social interactions. However, it can become dangerous if people misuse alcohol by overdrinking or binge drinking. Alcohol is toxic to humans and can negatively affect digestion and the cardiovascular system. Many people who develop alcohol addiction are unaware of the recommended guidelines for safely consuming alcohol.

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to avoid misusing alcohol, “adults of legal drinking age can choose not to drink, or to drink in moderation by limiting intake to 2 drinks or less in a day for men or one drink or less in a day for women, on days when alcohol is consumed.” Most individuals are unaware that drinking more than the recommended amount can increase the risk of developing significant and long-term health issues, including: 

  • Cancer 
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Liver disease
  • Digestive issues 

Everyone reacts differently to alcohol, and there is often a genetic component to various symptoms and side effects. Individuals with close family members with AUD or a severe illness caused by alcohol misuse may have a genetic predisposition to addictive behavior. 

How Can Alcohol Addiction Change Your Personality

The physical side effects of alcohol misuse can take a while to become visible. However, behavioral and personality changes are much easier to notice. The effects of alcohol on the brain and other body systems can cause some people to display very different temperaments when under the influence or during episodes of withdrawal. 

According to the Journal of Personality, “Alcohol dependence is accompanied by brain damage and neurotransmitter imbalances, which are likely to manifest in a change of behavior and personality over time. It is also associated with increased risk for . . . chronic diseases, including severe cognitive impairment and dementia, which are related to decrease in traits like conscientiousness.” The effects are generally cumulative and cause long-term cognitive issues if left untreated. For some clients, treatment may only reduce the effects of alcohol misuse instead of eliminating them. Although the brain is highly adaptable, some changes caused by long-term alcohol misuse may be permanent. 

Not all personality changes are noticeable right away. In some cases, they may overlap with co-occurring mental health issues, making it more challenging to diagnose AUD. However, some other personality traits that can be affected by alcohol addiction include: 

  • Increased impulsivity 
  • More aggressive personality 
  • Increased social isolation
  • More anxious traits, including avoiding unfamiliar situations 

Family, friends, and coworkers are often the first to notice unusual changes in temperament and personality. Self-awareness may become difficult for people recovering from AUD. Laguna Shores Recovery Center can help clients heal from the damaging effects of alcohol misuse.

The Mental and Physical Effects of Alcohol Addiction

In addition to causing personality changes, alcohol addiction can also cause severe illness or injury. Alcohol directly affects the brain, liver, and heart, increasing the risk of early death. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), “Among all cirrhosis deaths in 2019, 50.3% were alcohol-related.” In addition, “The percentage of alcohol-associated cirrhosis deaths was highest (at 80.9%) among adults ages 25 to 34, followed by adults ages 35 to 44 (at 75.4%).” AUD significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular issues, cognitive decline, and cancer. 

Signs of Alcohol Addiction

Recognizing the signs of potential alcohol addiction can help people know when to seek professional assistance. Below are some of the most common signs of alcohol misuse: 

  • Disordered speech or thinking 
  • Slurred speech 
  • Blackouts
  • Inability to stop drinking even after it causes severe relationship or health issues
  • Frequent excessive drinking
  • Mood swings 
  • Unusual aggression, anger, violence, or irritation 

Some people become very friendly and have fewer inhibitions when under the influence of alcohol, while others may become violent or aggressive. Everyone reacts differently. However, anytime substances negatively impact a person’s mental or physical health; they should get assessed by a medical professional. 

Treatment Options at Laguna Shores Recovery Center

Laguna Shores, a top center for wellness treatment, uses comprehensive assessments and screening tools to ensure clients get an accurate diagnosis and access to the most relevant recovery services. Individuals struggling with alcohol misuse will develop essential coping skills to reduce their risk of relapse and help them build a solid foundation for a healthier future. Clients can rely on the compassionate team at Laguna Shores to help them successfully recover from AUD. 

Alcohol addiction is one of the most common forms of substance misuse worldwide. Every year millions of people struggle to overcome AUD. Being able to recognize the signs and understanding the potential dangers of alcohol misuse can help people know when to reach out for help. The compassionate clinicians at Laguna Shores, one of the best treatment facilities, have years of experience helping clients manage alcohol addiction. Some people misuse alcohol to cope with stress or other issues. Rehabilitation helps clients find healthy alternatives to reduce stress and keep them moving forward in their recovery. To learn more about our levels of care and treatment programs, call our office today at (866) 774-1532.