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Alcohol Addiction in Vermont

Alcohol Addiction in Vermont

Alcoholism is a broad classification that includes both alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. These two terms were combined in 2013 as a single disorder, with a variety of treatments initiated depending on the extent of the problem. Alcohol addiction in Vermont is a serious concern, with professional detox and rehab treatment often needed to break the bonds of addiction. Alcohol addiction in Vermont requires careful evaluation during the early stages of treatment and appropriate follow-up measures to enable long-term recovery. If you or anyone you know is living with an alcohol use disorder, it’s important to contact a dedicated treatment center as soon as possible.

What is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism describes a wide array of problematic drinking behaviors, including binge drinking, heavy drinking, and physical alcohol addiction. While the previous psychiatric classifications of alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse were combined as alcohol use disorder in 2013, abuse and dependence problems are still separated in the context of drug treatment. Generally speaking, someone is said to have an alcohol problem whenever alcohol is causing problems in their life and they continue to drink anyway. Alcohol abuse typically involves problematic, uncontrolled, and patterned alcohol consumption. Alcohol dependence is typically recognized by tolerance and the existence of physical-somatic withdrawal symptoms upon cessation of use.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism

Common signs of alcoholism include increased tolerance, withdrawal symptoms when alcohol consumption is reduced, social problems because of alcohol, health problems because of alcohol, being unable to reduce consumption levels, uncontrolled or dangerous drinking patterns, and a general inability to fulfill regular life responsibilities because of alcohol. Alcoholism treatment is designed to treat every aspect of alcohol use disorder, with physical-somatic withdrawal symptoms treated using medications and the psychological aspects of addiction treated through psychotherapy and aftercare programs. Personal symptoms of alcoholism may include guilt, secretive behavior, denial, and feeling a need to cover up the extent of alcohol consumption.

Problems Caused by Alcohol

Alcoholism exacts a high toll on American society, with a wide array of health and social problems associated with problematic drinking behaviors. Alcohol affects all parts of the brain and body, with heavy drinking known to adversely affect the brain, heart, and liver among other organs. Long-term drinking has also been associated with a number of psychiatric problems, including mental illness and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. People who drink are also more likely to develop depression and anxiety disorders than the general population, with the coexistence of a mental illness and a substance use disorder known as a dual diagnosis. Along with serious physical and psychological problems, alcohol consumption has also been associated with social issues such as domestic violence, road accidents, and emergency department visitation rates.

Alcoholism Statistics in Vermont

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 16.6 million American adults are currently living with an alcohol use disorder. This represents 7 percent of the total American population, including 10.8 million men and 5.8 million women. Statistics for Vermont are worrying, with 2,123 people admitted into professional treatment for alcohol as a primary substance and 1,672 people admitted for alcohol in combination with another drug in 2010. According to statistics from Recovery Connection, the number of people involved in binge drinking increased from 24.05 percent in 2003/2004 to 28.02 percent in 2005/2006. According to more recent statistics from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, Vermont ranks among the highest states for binge drinking among 18-25 year olds and general alcohol use by those aged 12 years and older, those aged 18-25, and those 26 years and older. Despite the severity of the alcohol problem, a lack of detox and rehab treatment centers has been recognized across the state.

Alcohol Withdrawal and Detox

Alcohol withdrawal can be severe and dangerous if not treated properly, with physical and psychological symptoms both experienced when alcohol levels are reduced or stopped. Typical withdrawal symptoms include excessive sweating, insomnia, nausea and vomiting, tremors, hallucinations, seizures, depression, autonomic instability, and delirium tremens. These symptoms typically begin within 12 hours of the last drink, with more severe symptoms typically starting between one and three days after alcohol discontinuation. A post-acute withdrawal phase is also possible under certain conditions, with some alcoholics experiencing long-term depression, anxiety, headaches, nausea, and a general inability to feel pleasure.

A medical detox period is typically advised for people with a physical alcohol addiction, including the administration of benzodiazepine drugs like Valium and Librium. These medications are taken to help reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms before they create additional complications. For example, the seizures and delirium tremens associated with alcohol withdrawal can lead to brain damage and other serious problems if they are not treated properly. Other medications may also be used during alcohol detox and rehab programs, including naltrexone, Antabuse, and Campral. Following detox, patients will normally enter a residential or outpatient rehab program to treat the emotional and environmental aspects of alcoholism.

Rehabilitation

While detox helps people to stop drinking, it does very little to address the psychological issues that surround alcoholism. Rehabilitation is always recommended, including intensive residential rehab and outpatient support programs. Rehab programs are mostly based on psychotherapy principles, including motivational, cognitive, and behavioral techniques. While treatment modalities such as family therapy and motivational interviewing all look at the problem of addiction from a different perspective, they all attempt to alter problematic behavior patterns by recognizing and changing affect and cognition. Relapse prevention campaigns play an important role during alcoholism treatment, with other aftercare programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) also administered to promote long-term recovery.

If you or anyone you know in Vermont is struggling with an alcohol problem, contact an addiction specialist today. It’s not too late to seek help.