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Minnesota Alcohol Addiction

Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder, is a serious medical condition that has the potential to cause major physical and psychological harm if left untreated. Alcohol use disorder includes a wide array of problematic drinking patterns, including behavior previously defined as alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. Minnesota alcohol addiction affects every element of society, with excessive and uncontrolled drinking habits needing to be treated through professional detoxification and rehabilitation schemes. If you know anyone who is living with Minnesota alcohol addiction, it’s important to find professional help as soon as you can.

What is Alcohol Abuse?

Alcohol abuse is a type of alcoholism defined by the uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages despite negative consequences. People can abuse alcohol in a variety of different ways, with binge drinking being a specific and common form of alcohol abuse. People who drink excessively are putting themselves at great risk of physical and psychological harm, with wider society also adversely affected by the indirect consequences of alcohol abuse. Long-term exposure to alcohol often leads to psychological and physical dependence, including tolerance and the existence of a physical-somatic withdrawal syndrome upon cessation of use. It’s important to address alcohol abuse before it turns into addiction, through dedicated detox and rehabilitation regimens.

What is Alcohol Dependence?

Alcohol dependence is a specific form of alcohol abuse that may involve psychological attachment and physical withdrawal symptoms. People who are dependent on alcohol often need to drink every single day, with physical symptoms experienced when alcohol intake is not enough. Common signs of dependence include tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, social problems due to alcohol, health problems due to alcohol, needing alcohol to relax, and being unable to fulfill everyday life responsibilities because of alcohol. Alcohol dependence is often referred to as alcohol addiction, even though these two terms are slightly different from a medical perspective. Unlike alcohol abuse cases, dedicated medical detox and pharmacotherapy programs are often needed alongside psychotherapy support programs.

Alcoholism Statistics in Minnesota

Alcohol abuse and dependence is a huge problem across the United States, and Minnesota is certainly no exception. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 44.2 percent of all admissions to drug treatment centers are due to alcohol, with figures from “Drug Abuse Trends in Minneapolis/St. Paul: 2015” putting this number slightly lower at 43.1 percent. 60.5 percent of all alcohol admissions were aged 35 and older, with people often developing alcohol dependencies in the later years of life after long-term exposure to binge drinking. Alcoholism also exacts a high toll on wider society, with automobile accidents and health care costs just two things that have been correlated with individual alcoholism statistics.

Adverse Effects of Alcohol

Alcoholism has been linked with a wide array of physical and psychological health problems, including damage to the heart, brain and liver. People who abuse alcohol on a regular basis are at greater risk of developing numerous diseases, including pancreatitis, liver disease, epilepsy and even cancer. Extensive brain damage has also been associated with heavy drinking habits, with people who are dependent on alcohol at a much greater risk of developing central nervous system damage and impairments to social skills and executive functioning. Alcohol affects all elements of society, with the negative effects of heavy drinking influencing the drinker, their families and wider society. Social problems often linked with alcohol abuse include domestic violence, crime, automobile accidents, accidents and injuries, loss of productivity and social isolation.

Medical Detox

A medical detox period is often needed to treat Minnesota alcohol addiction. Medical detox describes the use of medications and medical support to enable alcohol discontinuation, with a detox period also administered to help stabilize patients, enforce abstinence and alleviate withdrawal symptoms. While medical detox is not always necessary, it is generally recommended to treat physical alcohol dependence. Typical symptoms associated with the alcohol withdrawal syndrome include headaches, sweating, nausea, vomiting, hallucinations, seizures and delirium tremens. While these symptoms are not always present, they can cause serious medical complications if left untreated. There are three stages involved in the medical detox process: evaluation, stabilization and consultation. Medications are applied to help manage withdrawal symptoms and stabilize patients, with benzodiazepine drugs such as Valium and Serax often used.

Behavioral Therapy

While detox is an important part of the treatment process for alcoholism, it does have its limitations. For example, detox does not treat the emotional and cognitive precedents of alcoholism, with further measures needed in every comprehensive treatment regime. Residential or outpatient rehabilitation schemes typically follow detox, with most programs based on behavioral therapy support. Typical behavioral modalities include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), Motivational Incentives, motivational interviewing and family therapy. These programs utilize motivational, behavioral, and cognitive methods that aim to treat alcoholism by tackling the emotional and cognitive distortions that underpin it. Similar principles are applied during aftercare regimes, especially during relapse prevention programs.

Relapse Prevention

Relapse is an extremely common outcome of alcohol addiction. People often return to their compulsive drinking habits after leaving rehab, with dedicated prevention measures often needed to help people avoid relapse. Relapse prevention programs include psychological guidance and practical support systems that help people reintegrate with everyday life. Relapse prevention techniques are based on cognitive, behavioral, and motivational principles, with some programs also incorporating mindfulness and meditation techniques to help patients recognize potential triggers and cope with difficult life events.

12-step Support Programs

12-step support programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) are widely used as a method of rehabilitation and aftercare. During the 12-step process, patients have to admit a total lack of control over their addiction and recognize a higher power to help restore sanity to their lives. Other elements of the 12-step approach include making amends for past mistakes and helping other people who are going through the same situation. While these programs are often criticized for their spiritual-religious bias and incompatibility with the free will model of addiction, they have helped countless people to overcome addiction since originally developed in the 1930s.

Minnesota lcohol addiction can be debilitating, but you don’t have to let it take over your life. Call an addiction specialist today to start turning your life around and living a healthier life.