The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism describes alcohol addiction, also known as alcoholism, as a disorder that affects a person’s brain, impairing their ability to control how much they drink despite any adverse effects on their health, career, and relationships.
While struggling with alcohol addiction on its own can be difficult to manage, it can be even harder to function if you’re also suffering from a mental illness.
East Tennessee Behavioral Health provides clinically excellent care for adolescents, adults, and senior adults who have a primary mental health disorder diagnosis and a co-occurring alcohol addiction. Our team of compassionate professionals strives to help each person find their unique path to lasting healing.
Signs & Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction
Because drinking alcohol affects everyone differently, not everyone experiences the same symptoms of alcohol addiction. However, there are certain signs of alcohol addiction that may signal that someone needs professional help. Common signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction include:
- Tries to cut down on or stop drinking alcohol more than once but can’t
- Often ends up drinking alcohol more or for longer than intended
- Spends a lot of time drinking alcohol or being sick from drinking alcohol
- Thoughts are often overtaken by the desire to drink alcohol
- Cuts back or gives up on important activities to drink alcohol
- Continues drinking alcohol despite negative life consequences
- Drinks alcohol in situations in which injury could occur
- Usual number of alcoholic drinks has less of an effect than before
- Suffers from withdrawal when the effects of alcohol wear off
Alcohol addiction symptoms vary from person to person, so someone may not display all these signs of addiction. But knowing the common alcohol addiction signs can help you recognize if someone might be struggling with an alcohol addiction.
Common Causes of & Risk Factors for Alcohol Addiction
There isn’t just one cause of alcohol addiction. Rather, many factors can increase a person’s risk for developing an alcohol addiction. Common causes of and risk factors for alcohol addiction include:
- Cultural attitudes that are permissive of drinking and intoxication
- Lack of healthy ways to cope with stress or difficult emotions
- Family members who have an alcohol addiction
- Easy access to alcohol, including the low cost to acquire it
- Friends who drink heavily or pressure a person to drink alcohol
Alcohol Addiction Statistics
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported the following statistics about alcohol addiction in the United States based on a 2020 survey:
- In the past year, 28.3 million people age 12 or older struggled with alcohol addiction.
- Adults who suffered from a mental illness at some point in the past year (28.5%) were more likely to binge-drink alcohol than those who didn’t have a mental illness (22.8%) during the same time frame.
- Adolescents who had a mental health concern during the past year (6.2%) were also more likely to binge-drink alcohol than those who did not have a mental health disorder (3.8%) during the same period.
Effects of Alcohol Addiction
The effects of alcohol addiction may differ from person to person based on influences in an individual’s life. Common alcohol addiction effects include:
- Job-related accidents
- Decreased job performance
- Increased absenteeism at work
- Trouble keeping a job
- Financial troubles or homelessness
- Injuries obtained while intoxicated
- Strained relationships with loved ones
- Health problems related to alcohol use
- Alcohol-related driving injuries
- Fatal car crash related to alcohol
- Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
In the absence of treatment, the effects of alcohol addiction can be devastating. But with timely treatment, you can minimize some of the long-term effects of alcohol addiction.
Learn About Treatment for Co-Occurring Alcohol Addiction
When looking for a place to get co-occurring alcohol addiction treatment, it can be difficult to know where to start. At East Tennessee Behavioral Health, we provide multiple treatment options for people who have a primary diagnosis of a mental health concern and a co-occurring alcohol addiction.
Our co-occurring alcohol addiction treatment center offers several levels of care for various age groups, including:
- Inpatient treatment for adolescents, adults, and senior adults
- Partial hospitalization programming (PHP) for adults
- Intensive outpatient programming (IOP) for adolescents
Inpatient treatment is typically best for someone who is unable to function on a daily basis and needs a high level of support to help them achieve emotional stability. Outpatient treatment is ideal for those who no longer require the round-the-clock care of inpatient treatment but still need more support than they would receive through traditional outpatient therapy.
Before you start co-occurring alcohol addiction treatment with us, we will conduct an initial assessment to determine which level of care is right for you.
The Benefits of Co-Occurring Alcohol Addiction Treatment
When you find a place to get co-occurring alcohol addiction treatment, taking those first steps toward recovery might feel intimidating. But by getting co-occurring alcohol addiction treatment, you can break the cycle of alcohol addiction.
During your time at a co-occurring alcohol addiction treatment center, you’ll work with highly experienced professionals who can help you make crucial lifestyle and behavioral changes. These experts can also help you learn healthier ways to cope with stress and intense emotions, and they can work with you to build a plan to prevent future relapse.
Many people also discover a support community through their peers at the co-occurring alcohol addiction treatment center. These relationships can be a strong source of motivation in the days, months, and years after a person leaves treatment.
Therapies Used to Treat Co-Occurring Alcohol Addiction
At East Tennessee Behavioral Health, we tailor each person’s care to address their specific situation. This allows us to best prepare them to meet their treatment goals.
Before you begin treatment at our co-occurring alcohol addiction treatment center, our expert team will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of your past and present alcohol use, medical history, and current symptoms. Based on this information, we will create a personalized co-occurring alcohol addiction treatment plan that may include:
- Group, individual, and family therapies
- Basic medical care
- Medication management
- Detoxification services
Because everyone achieves recovery in their own way, we use different approaches throughout each person’s time at our co-occurring alcohol addiction treatment center. These might include motivational enhancement therapy (MET), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
At East Tennessee Behavioral Health, our goal is to help each person develop the skills they need to start living a fuller, more meaningful life.
This content was written on behalf of and reviewed by the clinical staff at East Tennessee Behavioral Health.