Alcohol’s prominence in society is hard to ignore. Ads for it are on billboards and in magazines, and few places leave it off the menu. It is served in bars and restaurants, sold in grocery and convenience stores, and kept in kitchen cabinets everywhere. Even during the coronavirus pandemic, stores that sell alcohol were considered “essential businesses” in most of the United States, as closing them could endanger the health and well-being of alcohol-dependent people and put them at risk of life-threatening alcohol withdrawal.
Alcohol, while legally sold in the U.S., is still a drug. The legal drinking age in the U.S. is 21, but all who drink should do so responsibly no matter their age. It is no surprise that not everyone will heed this advice. Some will go on to abuse alcohol, and over time, find themselves battling an alcohol addiction that requires professional rehab to treat it. Some of these people live in Lake Worth, a city of nearly 40,000 people that is located an hour north of Miami and about 20 minutes south of West Palm Beach.
Lake Worth’s quaint downtown area and spot near the beach make it a popular hangout among tourists and locals alike. The city is known for its annual street painting festival held over two days in February, and its LGBTQ+ pride celebration, among other events. The Lake Worth community also battles a great deal of crime in the area. Authorities recently carried out a two-month sweep of the area, which includes Lake Worth Beach. Communities with high crime rates also have substance use and addiction challenges to face as well.
Alcohol abuse remains on the radar across the state and in Palm Beach County, where Lake Worth is located. Authorities make DUI arrests throughout the year, and the county also has organizations that keep watch on underage drinking and substance use among “tween-agers” and teenagers.
Besides alcohol being abused on its own, it also is often involved in deadly combinations of illegal and prescription drugs, such as opioids and benzodiazepines. The 2019 Florida Medical Examiners Commission report found that alcohol turned up the most in drug-related deaths in 2018, at 18.5 percent. Polysubstance use, when two or more drugs are used at the same time, is common among substance users. The addictive substance is often used to enhance the high and increase the effects of other drugs, but some people who combine alcohol with other drugs do so by mistake. Either way, mixing alcohol with other substances is harmful and should be avoided.
Alcohol is on the list along with nicotine and caffeine as the most frequently recreationally used substances in the United States. A 2018 national survey reveals that more than 86 percent of U.S. adults reported drinking at some point in their lives. More than 26 percent of survey respondents said they engaged in binge drinking in the past month in 2018. Binge drinking happens when a person consumes too much alcohol over a short time. It is a dangerous practice that lands some people in rehab for alcohol addiction.
Problematic drinking also leads to injuries and deaths. Roughly, 88,000 people in the United States die in accidents linked to excessive alcohol use, which is considered the third leading preventable cause of death. Many unfavorable outcomes can stem from drinking too much alcohol. Crashes that occur after an intoxicated person gets behind the wheel is one of them. Excessive drinking can also lead to other life-threatening situations or ones that compromise a person’s quality of life.
These situations include:
If you find that you are having a hard time controlling your drinking, you may be developing alcohol use disorder (AUD). The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines AUD as “a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using.”
AUD can be treated at an accredited facility that specializes in treating substance use disorders. Undergoing a rehabilitation program is a safe and effective way to combat alcohol abuse and avoid relapse and deadly alcohol withdrawal.
Florida has long been popular as a destination state for rehabilitation from alcohol and drug use. The Sunshine State’s warm, balmy weather made the region attractive to clinicians and treatment professionals who opened rehab centers in the state throughout the years.
Florida clinicians also pioneered the Florida Model of Treatment, which involves a gradual, stepped approach to treatment for substance use disorders. Palm Beach County is home to The Palm Beach Institute, which has offered treatment services for substance addiction since 1970.
Many people abuse alcohol, as its use is so widespread, and this is one of the reasons it’s easy for many people to hide a growing alcohol problem. Many people enter an addiction treatment facility to get help, which is a step in the right direction. Alcohol addiction is a complex disease that affects the brain, and it often requires treatment to address it effectively.
Many diverse approaches are used in the treatment of substance use disorders. You will have to work with addiction care professionals and doctors who can help you customize a plan that specifically addresses your condition and situation.
Programs that personalize the treatment process and target the physical, psychological, and social issues involved in substance use disorders have been found to be the most effective. Your treatment plan likely will involve therapies that are tailored to address your needs.
You likely will start with medical detox and then progress to the level of care that is appropriate for your needs. Your placement will likely fall along the continuum of care, as outlined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
O'Connor, Peg. “Why Are Liquor Stores Essential Businesses?”Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 27 Mar. 2020 from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/philosophy-stirred-not-shaken/202003/why-are-liquor-stores-considered-essential-businesses
“Lake Worth, Florida Population 2020.”Lake Worth, Florida Population 2020 (Demographics, Maps, Graphs). from https://worldpopulationreview.com/us-cities/lake-worth-fl-population
“How to Spot Teen Drug Abuse.” How to Spot Teen Drug Abuse | Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition | Underage Drinking | Prescription Drugs | Drug Abuse | South Florida from https://www.pbcsac.org/Spot-Teen-Drug-Abuse.html
Milian, Jorge. “PBSOs 2-Month Crime Crackdown in Lake Worth Beach Is over – Did It Work?” The Palm Beach Post, 7 Feb. 2020 from https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20200207/pbsolsquos-2-month-crime-crackdown-in-lake-worth-beach-is-over—did-it-work
Medical examiners Commission. (2019, November). Drugs Identified in Deceased Persons by Florida Medical Examiners from https://www.fdle.state.fl.us/MEC/Publications-and-Forms/Documents/Drugs-in-Deceased-Persons/2018-Interim-Drug-Report-FINAL.aspx
CDC. (2018, May 10). Alcohol and Public Health from https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htm
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and alcoholism. (2020, February 18). Alcohol Facts and Statistics from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/alcohol-facts-and-statistics
Alcohol Use Disorder. (n.d.) from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-use-disorders
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, July). Treatment and Recovery from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery
American Society of Addiction Medicine. (2017, September 15). What are the ASAM Levels of Care? from https://www.asamcontinuum.org/knowledgebase/what-are-the-asam-levels-of-care/