According to the National Institute for Health, alcohol abuse is defined as the continued use of alcohol despite the development of social, legal, or health problems. Since alcohol is a legal substance, not all use of alcohol is considered to be abuse, unlike with harder drugs like cocaine or heroin. When a person uses alcohol as an escape from emotional or social problems, when his/her alcohol use begins to interfere with his/her life or relationships, when the alcohol use continues despite repeated legal or health consequences, or anytime that alcohol consumption is mixed with the operation of a motor vehicle – alcohol use has crossed the line to alcohol abuse. Any use of alcohol by someone under the legal drinking age is considered alcohol abuse.
Alcohol abuse is normally marked by frequent and excessive drinking – also known as binge drinking – which can have harmful short-term and long-term effects on all of the body’s vital organs, especially the heart, brain and liver. Alcohol abuse is also marked by tolerance, wherein a person’s body becomes accustomed to the drug and requires more and more alcohol to achieve the same feeling.
Alcohol abuse is widespread and can eventually lead to alcoholism, which involves many of the same symptoms as alcohol abuse but also involves a physical dependency on the drug. Many alcoholics begin by abusing alcohol and then develop alcoholism. Breaking this physical dependence on alcohol is the primary function of alcohol detox, whereas in the subsequent alcohol treatment, the focus is on addressing the underlying issues that lead a person to abuse alcohol.
A recent study conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism shows that 71.8% of men and 59.6% of women in the USA have had a drink in the past year. 43.1% of men and 28.8% of women admitted to binge drinking at least once in the past year. 42.3% of men and 21.9% of women who drink say that they normally drink at least 3 or more drinks. In 2010, 25,629 deaths resulted from alcohol, excluding accidents and homicides, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
Among youth, alcohol abuse is a serious issue. In a 2011 survey by the CDC, 38.7% of students reported having had a drink in the 30 days prior to the survey. 21.9% reported binge drinking at least once in the 30 days prior to the survey. Alcohol abuse is particularly dangerous among youth because their livers are not fully developed and are unable to eliminate alcohol as effectively as adult livers. Additionally, the frontal lobe of the brain is not fully developed, leaving intoxicated youth even more susceptible for making bad decisions and for having the development of their front lobe stunted by alcohol abuse.
Serenity House offers medically supervised detox from alcohol and other drugs on their Abilene, Texas campus. Patients receive assistance from expert nurses and physicians to allow their bodies to safely adjust to a life free from alcohol and drugs, which is an important initial step in the recovery process. Serenity House also provides highly-trained, professional counselors to guide patients through the drug and alcohol treatment program, where we equip them with the tools they need to successfully navigate the road to recovery.
After detox, each patient’s needs are assessed, and he/she is given a treatment plan that meets his/her individual needs. Resources at Serenity’s three Texas campuses include group, individual and family counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, and special classes on a variety of topics including grief, relapse, parenting, relaxation, safety and many more. Every person’s experience is different, and we strive to customize the recovery experience to each patient’s needs.