Alcohol is a psychoactive drug that depresses the central nervous system, resulting in lowered inhibitions, poor judgment, reduced attention, and slowed reaction speed. It is a legal depressant drug obtained by fermentation of carbohydrates by yeast or by distillation. The use of alcohol may not become a problem when used moderately. Moderate use of alcohol is defined as up to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women and older people. A “drink” is defined as 12 oz. of beer or a wine cooler, a 5 oz. glass of wine, or 1.5 oz. of 80-proof distilled spirits. While many people are able to drink moderately throughout their lives, a significant minority of people cannot. As these people consume ever larger amounts of alcohol, the impact on their lives can be devastating. When a person desperately needs to stop drinking but cannot, that is where we come in.
Effects of Alcohol
Alcohol initially causes euphoria and excitement (including increased self-confidence, shortened attention span, and lowered inhibitions) that can lead to functional difficulty (sleepiness, poor coordination, memory loss, blurred vision, delayed reactions). As an individual continues to drink, they can progress to stupor (extreme confusion, increased emotionality, inability to stand or walk, vomiting, lapsing consciousness), shutdown (prolonged periods of lost consciousness, slowed respiration and circulation, suppressed reflexes), and sometimes death.
As an individual habitually drinks, the liver becomes more efficient at removing alcohol from the bloodstream, so the alcoholic must consume increasing amounts of alcohol to achieve the same effects. It is this growing tolerance to alcohol which greatly contributes to alcohol dependency. About 8 percent of people in the United States are dependent on alcohol, but many more experience problems with alcohol that go undiagnosed.
Long-term, heavy drinking can result in dementia, several types of cancer (mouth, pharyngeal, esophageal, laryngeal, breast, bowel, and liver), malnutrition, liver damage, emotional instability and irritability, memory loss, heart disease, brain damage, vitamin deficiency, stomach ulcers, skin problems, and sexual performance problems.
Alcohol Treatment at ROAD to a Better Life
At ROAD, we do not simply deal with the physical behavior of drinking. Our approach is to treat the problem of alcohol dependence holistically. This means that our patients not only learn the reasons they turn to alcohol, but they also discover effective ways of handling problems and emotions so that they no longer need substances to cope with life.
Getting oneself into alcohol treatment takes courage and a strong desire to change. We recognize this, and we treat our patients with the respect and care they deserve. Alcohol abuse happens for many reasons, but individuals can regain control of their lives and learn to live without using alcohol as a crutch or escape. Unfortunately, many individuals are unable to accept permanent separation from alcohol and continually try to have one drink or two, which restarts the cycle of addiction and quickly leads to self-destructive behaviors. We show individuals how and why they can live permanently without alcohol.
At ROAD, all of our alcohol-dependent clients are treated in a safe, relaxing environment where they can focus on their recovery without distractions. While the treatment experience will differ for each client based upon their customized detox and therapeutic plan, all treatment programs at ROAD include individual therapy, multiple weekly group sessions, a family program, and complementary therapies for specific underlying issues.
We also offer a comprehensive Intensive Outpatient Program designed to meet the needs of those suffering from a substance use disorder who need more than weekly counseling sessions. Our large professional staff means we can accommodate a diversity of co-occurring issues.
Vivitrol is a medication that helps alcoholics maintain abstinence during the early period of recovery. It is injected into the body once every four weeks and stays active in the body for this period of time. Vivitrol contains the active ingredient naltrexone, which works by blocking natural opiate receptors in the brain.
When you drink alcohol, endogenous opiates are released, and it feels good. When you drink alcohol after taking Vivitrol, the opiates that get released are blocked from having any effect, so you don’t feel the pleasure that drinking alcohol normally gives you. Taking the pleasure out of drinking helps alcoholics stay motivated to quit and avoid relapse.
Studies show that taking Vivitrol in addition to getting alcohol counseling (psychosocial therapy) is about three times more effective than counseling alone.
Vivitrol is in no way addictive. There is no withdrawal associated with sudden discontinuation of the medication. Drinking alcohol within a month of taking Vivitrol won’t be as enjoyable but it won’t make you feel sick. Most people tolerate the medication well, though there can be side effects. Our counselors will work with you to help determine if Vivitrol should be part of your overall treatment plan.
Our mission is to provide therapy and treatment for drug and alcohol addiction in a safe, respectful and friendly environment that is focused on recovery, relapse prevention, and a return to normalcy. If you’re ready for a better life, your Road starts here: (603) 841-2307.