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Wisconsin Alcohol Addiction


Alcohol is so much a part of American society that people often do not notice how much they consume. However, binge drinking or drinking steadily throughout the day are signs an addiction has developed that requires professional treatment. Health agencies note that alcohol use disorders are a growing problem in the United States. Excessive alcohol consumption is related to traffic fatalities, deaths from suicide, deaths from falls and other social consequences. Treatment can help individuals overcome their addiction to alcohol and resume living productive lives. A number of treatment centers are available to help individuals with an alcohol addiction regain control over the illness.


What Is Wisconsin Alcohol Addiction?

Wisconsin alcohol addiction is a common problem because drinking is an integral part of many social occasions. However, the easy accessibility of alcohol can often mask a serious problem that can undermine health and damage careers and close relationships. Substance abuse experts recognize a number of specific behaviors that can constitute an alcohol use disorder that may have become an addiction. These behaviors include binge drinking, frequent excessive drinking, thinking about drinking constantly or arranging the next drink. Addiction experts state that an Wisconsin alcohol addiction has occurred when the four following signs are present:

  • Increasing tolerance – The individual must keep increasing the amount they drink to feel comfortable.
  • Inability to stop – The individual may recognize drinking has gotten out of hand, but cannot stop.
  • Withdrawal symptoms – When the individual tries to stop unpleasant physical symptoms occur, such as headache, tremors or stomach pain.
  • Continued drinking despite negative consequences – The individual may lose a job, have a marriage break up or receive a DUI, but continues to drink.


Why is Alcohol So Addictive?

Studies indicate that alcohol triggers a release of endorphins in parts of the brain associated with feelings of pleasure and well-being. PET tests show that alcohol attaches to opiate receptors in the brain stimulating these feelings. Heavy drinking or excessive drinking changes the brain to expect this external stimulus. The individual will return to drinking again and again to continue receiving these pleasurable feelings. Treatment can help individuals to counteract this need for external stimulants so that normal brain chemistry can return. Counteracting these changes in the brain has become the chief focus of research on treatment for alcoholism.


Health Effects of Wisconsin Alcohol Addiction

Long-term Wisconsin alcohol addiction can have severe effects on the body, including liver impairment, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, stroke, kidney problems and cancer of the mouth, esophagus and stomach. The pancreas and immune system can also be affected by excessive drinking over a period of time. Wisconsin alcohol addiction can also have detrimental effects on the brain and nervous system, including memory problems, cognitive impairment and coordination problems. Nutritional deficiencies often occur in individuals who consume excessive amounts of alcohol instead of eating normal amounts of food.


Statistics Alcohol Abuse in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Department of Health in 2014 notes that rates of alcohol dependence and abuse have been higher than the nation as a whole since the year 2000. Alcohol-related hospitalizations increased 8 percent between 2003 and 2012. In 2012, 39 percent of the vehicle deaths that occurred in 2012 involved the use of alcohol. Wisconsin, the home of many breweries, has a culture of alcohol use that can often disguise the severity of drinking problems. Because alcohol can have a number of serious medical consequences, treatment for Wisconsin alcohol addiction in Wisconsin is an important part of maintaining the health of residents of the state.


Amount of Alcohol in Common Drinks

The amounts of alcohol in common drinks vary considerably. Health experts recommend monitoring how much alcohol you are consuming in these drinks:

  • Beer – One 12-ounce can of beer contains 5 percent alcohol
  • Wine – One 5-ounce glass of wine contains about 12 percent alcohol
  • Malt liquor – Eight or nine ounces of malt liquor contain 7 percent alcohol
  • Spirits – One 1.5-ounce shot of 80-proof spirits such as vodka, tequila or whiskey contains 40 percent alcohol.


Treatment for Wisconsin Alcohol Addiction

Treatment can help patients to regain control over their lives and repair the damage done by alcohol. The treatment process begins with detox to remove alcohol from the body. This process allows the brain and body chemistry to return to normal. Inpatient rehab facilities can offer medical support for detoxification and 24/7 monitoring so severe reactions can be prevented. After detox is completed, the hard work of a treatment program begins. If mental health issues underlie the drinking problem, these issues must be evaluated and treated. Then, individual counseling, group counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy and family therapy are done to help the patient understand the reasons for drinking and the effects it has had on his or her life. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps individuals to recognize negative thinking patterns and to develop positive actions to maintain their sobriety. Relapse prevention techniques teach patients to recognize the “triggers” that can cause drinking. Referrals to community agencies for additional counseling and mental health treatment are a critical part of aftercare for addiction. Patients are also referred to support groups in their area that can provide social interaction and practical advice for living a life in recovery. Medications to support abstinence and prevent individuals from getting the pleasurable effects of alcohol can also be used in recovery.


Treatment Options for Wisconsin Alcohol Addiction

Individuals can choose from a number of options for treatment of Wisconsin alcohol addiction. Inpatient treatment requires individuals to enter a facility for a period of time to concentrate on therapy. Outpatient treatment can be scheduled around work hours or around family responsibilities. In partial hospitalization, patients attend therapy sessions throughout the day, but they can return home in the evenings and on weekends. Continuing care programs can provide individuals with additional therapy and support they need to continue rebuilding their lives in sobriety. These options ensure that anyone who requires treatment can have a program to suit their needs.


If you have a problem with alcohol, you do not have to fight it alone. Contact an addiction specialist today to learn about available therapies, and begin to turn your life around once and for all.