Find Out How Alcohol Rehab in Denver Can Help You Begin Treatment
Alcoholism outpaces all other addictions as the leading cause of drug-related death in Colorado. If you struggle with an addiction to alcohol, you are not alone. The first step toward recovery is admitting you have a problem. For many, this step is the most challenging and they may not even realize they have a problem. You can overcome your addiction to alcohol no matter how long you've been suffering or how lost you feel. Alcohol rehab can help you rebuild your life and give you future and a hope.
Even if you aren't sure you need rehab or you're not quite ready to take that step, you should learn all about alcoholism so you can work on lasting sobriety for yourself or your loved one. Just know there is always hope no matter how hopeless your situation seems at the moment.
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Alcohol: A Cultural Force in Colorado
Alcohol figures prominently in virtually every area of Colorado life. From first communions to Quinceaneras, and from local school events to galas for national corporations, alcohol is included in many events. For some it's cultural. Alcohol is part of their community celebrations and family get-togethers. It can be nearly impossible to avoid alcohol, which makes it difficult for the recovering alcoholic to stay sober.
About 90% of Coloradoans drink - a fact that can leave addicts wondering what's wrong with them. Even worse, the constant exposure to alcohol is often too much for many addicts. Alcoholism comes with a relapse rate of 40% to 60%.
The good news is that we now understand a great deal about alcohol addiction. With 15% of Colorado residents struggling with alcoholism, doctors have had ample opportunities to research treatment options, explore new directions for future recovery, and evaluate what works best to help addicts achieve lasting sobriety. Treatment does work, but you must find the right program. Good alcohol treatment in Colorado not only helps you resist temptation, it also prepares you to be around alcohol without giving in.
The Perils of Alcohol Addiction in Colorado
Many alcohol addicts reassure themselves that everyone drinks, and that is why their drinking can't be a problem. The issue is that some people simply cannot drink without becoming addicts. Whether due to genetics, early learning, stress, a prior history of addiction, changes in brain chemistry, or some other factor, once you're an alcoholic, you are always an addict. Most people cannot tolerate moderate alcohol consumption if they have an alcohol dependency. If you're committing yourself to sobriety, you need to commit for life. AspenRidge Recovery is here to help you get the best alcohol treatment and drug rehab in Colorado.
So what exactly are the perils of alcohol addiction? This powerful drug - and alcohol is a drug, just like cocaine or heroin - kills 90,000 people each year. More than 26,000 people in Colorado are arrested for driving drunk each year, with 105 people killed annually in drunk driving accidents. A third of all traffic accidents involve at least one driver impaired by alcohol. You can see why alcohol treatment and drug rehab in Colorado is needed.
It's important to understand the impact alcohol has on the system whether you've been drinking in excess for a short time or you're a long-time alcoholic. Once you recognize the effects of alcohol, you'll see even more reasons to reach out for help.
If you're newly addicted to alcohol or you just started abusing it, you may start to notice certain changes in your body or mind:
- Vomiting and nausea
- Slurred speech
- Difficulty breathing
- Impaired judgment
- Blackouts and lapses in memory
These symptoms can happen at any time while the person is drinking or afterwards.
As you continue to use alcohol, the impact may be more severe and last for a longer time. The person may fall down or get hurt in an accident. They may hurt others intentionally such as with cases of domestic violence or physical assault.
When you spend a significant portion of your time under the influence of alcohol, problems are almost inevitable. Alcohol can trigger violence, psychosis, and even abuse. More than half of Colorado domestic violence arrests involve a drunk perpetrator, and 90% of date rapes occur while at least one party is under the influence of alcohol. But alcoholism's risks aren't just limited to accidents and crime. Some of the long-term effects of alcohol abuse include:
- Delirium tremens, a life-threatening withdrawal syndrome
- Organ failure, most notably cirrhosis of the liver
- Chronic illnesses such as hepatitis
- Brain damage, decreased intelligence, and memory problems
- Depression and other mental illnesses
- Rapid premature aging
- Chronically bloodshot eyes
- Cardiovascular problems that can lead to heart attacks and strokes
- Nerve damage
- Chronic malnutrition, most notably vitamin B1 deficiency
- Infertility, impotence, and other forms of sexual dysfunction
Many of these long-term effects cannot be reversed. It's important to treat alcoholism as quickly as possible before it causes permanent damage.
Alcoholism is a progressive disease, which means that most symptoms worsen over time. No matter where you are on the alcohol abuse continuum now, seeking alcohol treatment will help reduce your risk of exposure to serious, life-threatening symptoms. Perhaps even more importantly, prompt treatment will relieve your family of chronic worries about your alcoholism. There is hope - alcohol rehab in Colorado is available to help you.
Alcoholism as a Medical Disorder
You may have heard someone say something like, "I don't know why they don't stop drinking? Don't they have any willpower?" Or "They could stop drinking if they cared about their job/spouse/kids enough." What these people don't realize is alcoholism isn't a lifestyle choice. In fact, it's not a choice at all. It's a medical condition, a disease that must be treated just like any other health issue.
This incorrect thinking has prevented many alcoholics from getting the help they need. They are viewed as bad people and others avoid them. They may try to hide their alcoholism to not be stigmatized by friends, family and strangers. Even today, many have the idea that someone can stop drinking if they want to do it bad enough.
Alcohol is a depressant, which means it depresses the central nervous system. It relaxes the body and calms the mind. It increases the neurotransmitters in the brain that bring pleasure but reduces the hormones that create feelings of happiness the brain develops naturally. Over time, a person is no longer able to feel happy without the alcohol.
When someone drinks an excessive amount of alcohol, it can alter the chemistry in the brain. The person must continue to drink more to feel "normal." The brain will send alerts to different areas of the system to get more of the alcohol. This is known as withdrawal symptoms, and it's something the person cannot control.
There is also the alcoholism gene, which you may have heard about. It's not just a single gene that will tell whether a person will become an alcoholic. However, some genes do increase the risk for alcohol addiction while others may decrease the risk.
An example is a gene found in people of Asian descent. A gene variant they carry may increase the metabolism when a person drinks. They feel nauseated and their heartrate speeds up. These effects can help the person avoid drinking which prevents an alcohol use disorder.
Studies have shown that children of alcoholics may be predisposed to become addicted to alcohol. While some experts believe this has to do with exposure, others believe it happens because the kids have the same genetics.
While more research supports the idea that alcoholism is partially determined by genetics, it's also believed that circumstances impact genetics. Multiple factors come together to decide who will become an alcoholic. However, the information that has been gathered over recent years shows that alcoholism is not a matter of morals but a disease that must be treated.
Am I an Alcoholic?
It's easy to find yourself trapped in a cycle of self-loathing and guilt when you struggle with alcohol addiction. After all, television, movies, and culture portray alcoholics as stupid, negligent, and even brutal. But 15% of Coloradoans struggle with alcohol addiction, and most of these people are peaceful, productive citizens.
Alcoholism is a disease, not something you choose. Our country's obsession with alcohol means that this dangerous drug is plentiful and that pressure to use it is constant. People who don't drink are considered "weird" or anti-social, so it's no wonder many people start drinking. For those vulnerable to addiction though, drinking quickly gives rise to a chemical dependency. When you become dependent on alcohol, you truly cannot stop without suffering serious side effects. Alcoholism is labeled a disease by the medical community because of its control of your mind.
So how do you know if you're an addict or if you need alcohol rehab? After all, many people drink, and most of them are not alcoholics.
Frequent drinking is the single biggest risk factor for alcoholism, since frequent drinking increases your tolerance, thereby allowing you to drink larger quantities of alcohol. The CDC says that heavy drinking is a major risk factor for alcoholism, defining heavy drinking as more than one drink per day for women and more than two drinks per day for men. Binge drinking can increase your likelihood of alcoholism. It means consuming more than four alcoholic beverages in a single session for a woman. For men, the limit is five drinks.
You can be an alcoholic even if you only drink occasionally, and some bingers and heavy drinkers never become addicts. Instead, it's best to evaluate how alcohol affects your life, relationships, and well-being. Some common symptoms of alcoholism include:
- Being arrested for an alcohol-related offense, such as driving drunk or public intoxication
- Behaving in ways you regret when you're drunk
- Not being able to remember what happens when you drink
- No longer feeling drunk, no matter how much alcohol you consume
- Drinking yourself to sleep
- Drinking during the day, at work, or before completing important tasks
- Driving drunk
- Using alcohol to cope with mental or physical illness
- Lying to loved ones about how much you drink, or drinking alone or in secret
- Drinking immediately after you wake up
- Feeling shaky when you don't drink
- Endangering your financial future to buy alcohol
- Hearing loved ones express concerns about your drinking
- Feeling like alcohol is necessary for you to feel normal or happy
- Experiencing physiological withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to quit drinking
- Being diagnosed with a medical condition that is caused or exacerbated by drinking
You don't have to experience every symptom to be an alcoholic. Indeed, many alcoholics only experience three or four symptoms of addiction. Generally speaking, the more symptoms you experience, the more severe your addiction is and the more likely you are to need treatment for alcoholism.
You'll hear the terms " alcohol abuse" and "alcohol addiction" used interchangeably, but they aren't the same thing. You can be an abuser of alcohol without being addicted, but it often leads down the path to addiction.
When someone abuses alcohol, they are drinking more than they should. Binge drinkers are considered alcohol abusers. However, a person who drinks at home alone may also be abusing alcohol. They drink at odd times, such as first thing in the morning or after work every day. They may also go for weeks at a time without a single drink only to drink in excess one weekend.
Most people who see someone suffering from alcohol abuse just think they are having fun. You may hear phrases like "Johnny really knows how to have a good time" or "Laura can hold her alcohol." It sounds like fun, but it can lead down a slippery slope to addiction.
A person who abuses alcohol can stop anytime they want. They haven't become dependent on it, but they often have no desire to stop. They will justify their use as having fun or helping them relax. However, it's still not a healthy way to consume alcohol.
As you continue to abuse alcohol, your body will begin to develop a tolerance for it. Three or four drinks will no longer give you that buzz. You'll need more to relax or put you in a good mood. You'll start drinking a 12-pack or a whole bottle of whiskey or wine.
As you drink more, your body will once again adjust to the increased amount. It will start to think it needs the alcohol to function. Once you have become dependent on the alcohol, you won't want to be without it. The brain will release warnings in the form of withdrawal symptoms to get you to take another drink. At this point, you've become addicted to the alcohol and can't stop drinking.
Alcoholism doesn't just happen overnight. It usually occurs in stages, and it's helpful to know what they look like. It's easiest to get help in the early stages, but you can get treatment at any time.
Pre-alcoholic - during this stage, you start to drink to help you relax or to relieve stress; you may also be a social drinker
Early-alcoholic - you begin to drink alone and increase your frequency or the number of drinks you have; you may black out and you think about drinking even when you're sober
Crucial phase - your drinking is spiraling out of control, and it's causing problems in your daily life; it may cause issues with work or personal relationships and you may start to act differently
Chronic alcoholism - at this stage, your sole focus is on drinking, and you seek to avoid withdrawal symptoms
If you see yourself or a family member in any of these stages, you need to get help. Treatment will look different based on what stage you're in, but you can begin recovery at any point.
A person with an alcohol addiction doesn't have to look like a bum on the street. You may not always see them hung over with bloodshot eyes and a glazed look. If you're looking for the Hollywood image of an alcoholic, you may miss someone right in your home or circle of friends who needs help.
In the early stages of alcoholism, the person may be able to hide their addiction. They often drink alone so no one knows. They may enjoy a couple of drinks with friends and then go to another bar for a few more with someone else. Alcoholics are often adept at being who others want them to be as they hide their secret life.
Many people who have an addiction to alcohol are still able to function. They go to work every day, take care of their families and go to the kids' ball games. They know how to manage their responsibilities with just a drink or two. They can control their drinking to evenings after work, at home or on the weekends.
A functioning alcoholic appears normal to most people. They can convince others that everything is okay even when it isn't. This person can come up with excuses for why they are late to work or miss out on other activities.
What you should know is that a functioning alcoholic is still addicted to alcohol. They may be in the early stages of alcoholism, but they are going down a dangerous path. At some point, they will no longer be able to function and hide their addiction. If you are the person who is still functioning as an alcoholic, you need to get help now. If you have a loved one you believe fits this description, you need to encourage them to seek treatment.
Once you've become addicted to alcohol, you can't stop drinking. You may want to and you probably will try more than once. When you hit bottom, you think you'll never drink again. You make promises to family and friends not to drink, but it's no time before you have another drink in your hand. Why can't you stick with your good intentions? Before you decide you're a failure, you should understand what makes you fail.
Your brain and body have gotten used to the alcohol, so your brain sends out warning signals when it's gone. You start to feel sick at your stomach and may have a headache. You begin to sweat and start shaking. You feel irritable and anxious. You just can't go without a drink. These symptoms get worse the longer you go without a drink. You're feeling more miserable by the minute until you can't hold out any longer.
You start thinking, "I'll just have one drink and stop." However, one drink and you just keep going. You can't turn off a switch and stop whenever you want.
It's not recommended that someone who is an alcoholic stop drinking cold turkey. It can lead to other problems and cause you to relapse. Statistics show that people who relapse are less likely to seek out help again. They may feel they are a failure or they just can't stop, so why bother?
Withdrawal symptoms typically start within 24 hours after the last drink. If you're a heavy drinker or a long-term alcoholic, you may start to notice changes within an hour or two. These symptoms continue to worsen in the next few days until they get to their worst point. After a few days, the symptoms begin to subside until they're gone. If you can make it through those early days, you'll start to feel better.
You may wonder how long alcohol stays in your system so that you know when it's safe to drive again or to prevent an overdose. It depends on your gender and size as well as your weight and even your race. It takes just a few seconds for the alcohol to begin to be absorbed in your system after drinking.
Alcohol is first dispersed into your skin, then some of it will go to your stomach where it leaves in your sweat, urine or even your saliva. Most of it will go through your small intestine about 20 minutes after consuming the drink. This is where it's absorbed into your bloodstream. Once it gets here, it can be measured by your blood alcohol content or BAC. Police use it to tell if a person is drunk or impaired.
You can slow down the speed that the alcohol enters your bloodstream by eating or drinking water. However, you can't speed up the rate that it leaves your system. Your BAC level will go down at a regular rate. For instance, a BAC of .08, which is usually considered the level where it's illegal to drive, will take about 5 ½ hours to break down.
It's important to know that sleeping doesn't cause the level to go down any faster. Even if you take a nap, your BAC could still be too high to drive. The rate stays the same regardless of gender or age. However, the difference is in how you respond. In general, men seem better able to "handle" their liquor than women, which means they may not show they're drunk as quickly.
Many people who are addicted to alcohol don't just drink beer or wine. They often will mix their alcoholic beverage of choice with drugs. It can be prescription medication or illicit drugs, but they like the increased effect of the combination. However, this is a dangerous activity because alcohol can dull your senses so that you can't tell when you've had too much of the drug.
People who combine alcohol with medications or street drugs are at an increased risk for an overdose. The alcohol dulls the central nervous system so that you aren't aware of what's going on in your body. You may not feel the effects of the drug so you think you need to take more. However, it's still impacting your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing.
Because alcohol dulls the senses, some people drink when they're coming down from a high. It helps reduce the effects of withdrawal such as anxiety or insomnia.
What is the Difference between Alcohol Detox and Alcohol Rehab?
Once you realize that you or a loved one have a problem with alcohol, you need to reach out for help. An addiction to alcohol won't go away on its own. Most people aren't able to stop drinking on their own. If they do stop, they are more likely to relapse. However, treatment through alcohol detox and rehab can help a person become sober and maintain that sobriety for years.
The first step in recovery is to stop drinking. However, you may not be able to do that on your own, especially if you've been an alcoholic for a long time. Your body has become dependent on the alcohol to function, and it will react if you take away the alcohol. You could suffer severe withdrawal symptoms during this process. Alcohol detox is a process where you stop drinking, and it should be handled in a clinic where you'll be monitored until your system returns to normal.
The fear of detox is one of the main reasons alcoholics fail to follow through on treatment even when they have reached out for help. They are afraid of what will happen during this time and how bad they may feel. However, detox doesn't have to be painful if you go to the right facility.
First, you'll be given an assessment. The doctor will obtain certain information to help them determine how to help you go through detox. The staff will monitor you for withdrawal symptoms that will begin within a few hours after your last drink. You can expect to experience nausea and vomiting, headaches, profuse sweating, shakiness and feelings of weakness. You'll start to crave another drink and may become irritable and anxious. You may not be able to sleep and become restless.
These symptoms will continue to intensify and you may even get paranoid or have hallucinations. You can expect the symptoms to last for a few days up to a week until they begin to lessen and go away.
This doesn't sound like a lot of fun and it can be quite painful. However, a detox center will use different methods to help you through this process and reduce or even eliminate many of these symptoms. The doctor may give you medications which will stop the symptoms until your body adjusts to not having alcohol.
A detox facility may also use a holistic approach to help you with detoxing. Many alcoholics haven't taken care of themselves so they lack nutrients. A nutritionist will make sure you get the right foods to help you feel better. You may also be active with different types of exercise which will also get rid of the toxins and chemicals from the alcohol faster.
The important thing about going through detox in a facility is you have the support you need to complete the program. If your symptoms become severe or you experience life-threatening symptoms, you will get the medical attention necessary for your recovery. Delirium tremens or DT is a condition that is often life-threatening. It can occur after you have started detoxing from alcohol. In a detox facility, the staff will monitor you and call for emergency medical attention if you start to experience a DT. If you try to go through the process alone, you may not get the medical help you need in time.
What is Alcohol Rehab?
Many people go through detox and feel like they are cured. They have stopped drinking and started taking care of their health. It's common for a person who has just finished detox to think they are ready to go back to their old life. However, detox doesn't treat the alcoholism. It just prepares you for treatment. You must still learn why and how you became addicted and what to do to prevent it in the future. This is where alcohol rehab comes in.
What Are My Alcohol Treatment Options?
Alcoholics have numerous drug rehab or alcohol treatment options in Denver or elsewhere in Colorado at their disposal. You don't have to suffer alone. Though inpatient rehab is the most effective option, you can also cherry-pick among the treatments you'll receive at a place like AspenRidge. Some of the many treatment options alcoholics can take advantage of include:
Few other addictions are treatable with medication, so alcoholics are lucky in this regard. Drugs such as Antabuse can reduce the frequency and severity of your cravings, particularly during the early days of withdrawal. Some addicts even report that medication makes alcohol detox feel easy!
Alcohol is a medical condition, which means that it demands medical assistance. Because alcoholics can suffer life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, it's important to consult a physician before trying to detox. A doctor can also help treat any underlying conditions you have related to your alcoholism, such as hepatitis. And because alcoholism means you're vulnerable to other addictions, your doctor can advise you about how to manage your medical conditions without taking potentially addictive pills.
You might not know why you drink to excess, but there is a reason. Childhood trauma, the pain of a divorce, or poor stress management skills can all make alcoholism seem like a natural choice. In therapy, you'll explore the reasons why you drink while working to find new ways to combat the desire to consume alcohol to excess. Though most alcoholics opt for individual therapy, in alcohol rehab you'll likely have access to both group and individual options. Group therapy can help you feel less alone, while offering you the practical knowledge of addicts who have struggled with challenges similar to your own.
In Denver, Alcoholics Anonymous is the world's most popular addiction recovery program. Developed by alcoholics, the program is free and relies completely on peer support. Research has repeatedly shown that - whether they use the 12 steps alone or in conjunction with some other program - participating in a peer support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous can greatly increase an alcoholic's chances for long-term sobriety.
Alcoholism is a lifestyle disease, which means that it has probably caused you to make choices that are unhealthy for you and your family. Maybe you've quit exercising or started binge eating. While changing an unhealthy lifestyle won't cure you, it can make it easier to get or stay sober. A healthy lifestyle can also make you happier, improving your mental health and enabling you to better combat the unpleasant psychological effects that so often occur during withdrawal.
Treatment for a Dual Diagnosis
Many people who become alcoholics also have a mental health disorder. This situation is known as a dual diagnosis or co-existing disorders. It makes treatment more complicated, but recovery is still possible.
When a person suffers from a mental health disorder, they may not realize what's going on. When they discover the problem, they often feel embarrassed or ashamed. They may fear what others will think of them or how they will be treated. Some worry about losing their jobs or their families because of their condition.
Instead of seeking out medical help, the person will figure out a way to self-medicate. This often means they will use alcohol to hide their symptoms. A common example is with social anxiety. A person gets severely anxious anytime they must be in group situations. This more than just nervousness. It prevents them from behaving normally. They get nauseous and start sweating heavily. They may even become shaky. The person decides to take a drink to help them relax. A couple of drinks later and they are much calmer. They may even enjoy being out in a crowd.
Alcohol can help the person enjoy a situation that was extremely painful. It seems like their problem is solved. Anytime they begin to feel nervous, they just take another drink.
Alcohol may be used for many mental health conditions like depression, PTSD or obsessive-compulsive disorder. It hides the symptoms from others and helps the person feel better for a while. The problem is the improvement doesn't last. As the body adjusts to the alcohol, it requires more to see the effects. In time, the person will become addicted to the alcohol and it won't relieve the symptoms of the mental health disorder. In fact, these symptoms may worsen because of the alcohol.
It's important to get treatment for the mental condition as well as the alcoholism in these situations. If you just treat the alcohol addiction, you're more likely to relapse when the symptoms of your mental health disorder occur. You need treatment for the mental health condition, which often includes therapy and medication. Some drug rehab facilities treat both conditions at one time so you can develop healthy ways of dealing with your mental health disorder.
Aftercare for Alcohol Addiction
One of the main differences in alcoholism and addiction to other drugs is the fact that it's difficult to avoid being around the alcohol. No matter where you go, you'll see people drinking and be around beer and wine at parties and other events. You may have family members who like to relax with a beer or enjoy a glass of wine with dinner.
Because you can't get away from alcohol, it's essential that you have aftercare to maintain your sobriety. A moment of weakness and opportunity can spell disaster for a recovering alcoholic. You must learn how to go to events where alcohol is served and be around people who like to drink without giving in to temptation. Most alcoholics can never have a drink. For them, one drink turns into multiple drinks.
Aftercare can include having a mentor you can call on to go with you to these events or talk to when you're feeling tempted. It may mean attending a group like Alcoholics Anonymous to remind you of what you need to do to stay sober.
Alcoholism is a disease that never goes away. You're a recovering alcoholic, not someone who has been cured. You must remain vigilant to avoid relapse. In those cases where you do relapse, you must have a plan for how you'll get back your sobriety. You don't want to look at relapsing as a failure. Instead, it's part of the process of helping you win this difficult battle.
For those who have been long-term alcoholics, they may have nothing to return to. Many have lost their families, their jobs and even their homes. Once treatment is completed, they have no support to help them start over. Aftercare services may provide a place to live with a sober living home. The recovering alcoholic may attend classes or learn a new skill to help them get a job. These programs may assist them with a resume and teach them job interview skills.
Without these services, the person is more likely to revert back to their old lifestyle. It's important to find aftercare programs that will help you make and reach new goals and look forward in your life instead of looking back. You may need to attend family therapy to help heal old wounds and establish new relationships.
If you're looking at rehab for alcohol addiction, you want to think about getting sober right now. However, you also want to think about the future and get help so you can begin a new life. Remember that alcoholism doesn't have to be the end of your life. Rehab can help you create a new beginning and a future you can look forward to.
How AspenRidge Helps You Get Sober in Colorado
AspenRidge has the services you need to get better as quickly as possible. Our comprehensive treatment program treats you as the unique individual you are. We'll listen to your needs, your values, and your long-term goals, then collaborate with you to design a treatment program that will fit with your life and help you stay sober for the long-term.
Our goal isn't just to help you quit drinking. We know that drinking can wreak havoc in a life, and we want to help you put the pieces back together. Together we'll evaluate how best to help you move forward. We can work with your family, help you mediate conflicts, and offer you the tools and skills you need to begin a new job, a new relationship, or a new life. We offer top quality and affordable alcohol treatment and drug rehab in Denver, Colorado. Together we will help you triumph, even in the face of odds that might seem insurmountable.
Our skilled team of addiction specialists has worked with thousands of adult addicts. We know what works and what doesn't, and we'll never waste your time with treatments based solely on opinion, conjecture, or speculation. We're warm and compassionate, but we're also not afraid to challenge problematic thoughts and ideas. Our job is to help you become your best possible self. We can't do the work for you, but we can make the journey easier, smoother, and maybe even a little fun.
You can do this. AspenRidge can help. Don't suffer another day. You don't have to. No matter where you are now, you are not beyond redemption. Call us now!