Drinking this legal substance is socially accepted almost everywhere, and an addiction to it often goes unnoticed until it’s too late. No matter what drug comes onto the scene, alcohol holds its own, remaining the most widely available and widely abused substance in the U.S. Alcohol addiction was killing adults in the United States at a rate not seen in more than 30 years, according to federal data released that year.
Because alcohol is so widely used, it can be hard to know when heavy and frequent drinking has turned into alcohol abuse. This is also the case for many people in Florida, where sunshine-filled days, warm tropical nights, and refreshing beaches beckon visitors and residents to unwind with a beer, wine, or cocktail.
Not everyone who drinks alcohol will develop alcohol use disorder (AUD). Still, many will, particularly those who use and develop AUD, a condition that affects at least 16 million Americans, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5) advises that AUD is a medical condition characterized by an established, repeated pattern of problematic drinking of alcohol that causes distress or injury within one year. AUD can be mild, moderate, or severe. “Problematic drinking” includes binge-drinking on occasion or heavy drinking over time.
If drinking patterns have become uncontrollable and dangerous, the best thing to do is to seek professional treatment for the disorder that has developed. At some point, some people will come to realize they have a serious problem with alcohol and want to stop.
They may try to quit on their own, which means they may either suddenly stop drinking altogether (going “cold turkey”) or attempt to detox from alcohol at home. These methods are not the right way to end alcohol dependence. The unpredictability of alcohol withdrawal symptoms makes these approaches too risky to try.
There are plenty of options available for people who wish to seek alcohol rehab help in Florida. If drinking patterns have raised concern, the best thing to do is to seek professional treatment for the disorder that has developed. Many think they can address alcohol use disorder on their own, but once alcohol use has reached that point, it’s about much more than drinking excessively a few times and being hungover.
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Florida is filled with attractions and fun things to do, but like many other places, a part of its population struggles with alcohol.
According to the 2017 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey, “alcohol continues to be the most commonly used drug among Florida students. Across all seven surveyed grades, 37.5% reported lifetime use, and 16.5% reported past-30-day use.”
At the time the report was published, trends showed that alcohol use is down among Florida’s youths. However, it also found that “high-risk drinking behavior is still too common, with binge drinking reported by one out of 10 high school students and blacking out from drinking reported by 13.9% of high school students.”
Nationally, alcohol addiction contributes to an estimated 88,000 deaths per year and is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Alcohol abuse also can bring on serious health issues, including:
Deciding to quit alcohol is a big step, and for many people, it’s not one they can make without the right support behind them. Getting professional help for alcohol addiction can help ensure one keeps their commitment to sobriety for the rest of their lives.
Alcohol recovery programs offer:
Treatment for addiction must meet the needs of the individual for it to work well. Look for a program that offers customized treatment plans that utilize the continuum of care. If a mental health disorder is at the root of one’s addiction, dual diagnosis treatment can address both the substance use disorder and the mental health condition at the same time.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), addiction treatment that’s effective 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.
An initial assessment conducted by addiction care specialists will determine the best placement for treatment.
A person may be prescribed medications to aid in abstaining from alcohol along with counseling and other supports, such as a 12-step program.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (n.d.). Alcohol Use Disorder. Retrieved from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-use-disorders
(July 2016) Alcohol Use Disorder: A Comparison Between DSM-IV and DSM-5. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Retrieved from https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/dsmfactsheet/dsmfact.htm
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, January 15). CDC – Frequently Asked Questions – Alcohol. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/faqs.htm#excessivealcohol
(April 2018). Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/alcoholism/withdrawal
2017 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey. PDF. Retrieved from https://myflfamilies.com/service-programs/samh/prevention/fysas/2017/docs/2017%20Florida%20Yout%20Survey%20State%20Report.pdf
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2018, August). Alcohol Facts and Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-facts-and-statistics
American Society of Addiction Medicine. (2015, May 13) ASAM Continuum. Knowledge Base. What are the ASAM Levels of Care? Retrieved from https://www.asamcontinuum.org/knowledgebase/what-are-the-asam-levels-of-care/
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, January). How long does drug addiction treatment usually last? Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/frequently-asked-questions/how-long-does-drug-addiction-treatment