What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism, also called alcohol dependence, is a chronic but treatable disease in which your body becomes physically dependent on alcohol. You may also become obsessed with alcohol to the point where you cannot control when or how much you drink. When you stop drinking, or begin drinking less, then alcohol withdrawal may result.
Even though alcoholism can cause serious problems with your health, work, finances and relationships, people with untreated alcoholism continue drinking anyway.
What Causes Alcoholism?
Several factors, alone or together, may increase your risk for alcoholism. They include your genes (inherited family traits), your lifestyle choices, stress, difficult life events, the friends you spend time with, and the availability of alcohol in your life.
What are the Symptoms of Alcoholism?
- Drinking alone or drinking secretly
- A change in your tolerance for alcohol (and withdrawal symptoms when you stop or reduce your drinking)
- Denial of alcohol-related problems (for example, blackouts, frequent falls, missing work or school)
- Medical problems affecting your nerves, digestive system, liver, heart or brain.
What is Alcohol Abuse?
Alcohol abuse describes excessive or problem drinking without the physical dependence on alcohol. Alcohol abuse can be just a dangerous as alcoholism, and can lead to many of the same problems: trouble meeting work, school and family responsibilities; arrests for drunk driving; and alcohol-related medical problems.
Treatment for Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse
Treatment of alcoholism and alcohol abuse often involves a combination of counseling, self-help and medication. Alcohol withdrawal is a potentially serious condition that can be life threatening. That’s why a short-term stay in a hospital or other safe setting overseen by a trained physician is often necessary.
Hospital-level care may be followed by participation in a partial hospital or intensive outpatient program to help support your recovery and start the process of learning how to live your life without alcohol. The Brattleboro Retreat offers several alcohol treatment options to meet your individual needs. These range from inpatient detoxification, to partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient therapy and outpatient alcohol assessment and counseling.
For more information about the Brattleboro Retreat’s programs & services for treating alcohol addiction and other mental health or addiction issues, call 802-258-3700 or go to our Central Intake Department.