Abusing alcohol can profoundly affect a person’s life. Learn about the dangers of alcohol abuse and how to get help for alcoholism.

Responsible for over 5% of all deaths, alcohol abuse is the fourth leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. The substance has significant power to create a physical dependence, leading to severe withdrawal symptoms when alcohol use is stopped.

Alcohol use disorders can result in many physical, psychological and social effects, from weight gain and liver dysfunction to domestic violence, loss of income, unemployment and damage to unborn children. Understanding alcohol use and seeking available resources are instrumental ways to diminish the influence of alcohol.

What Is Alcohol Abuse?

Alcohol abuse occurs when a person drinks excessively, risking their health and safety. Alcohol abuse can come in many forms, including: 

  • Binge drinking, defined as consuming four or more drinks on one occasion for a woman or five or more drinks for a man
  • Heavy drinking, defined as having eight or more drinks per week for a woman or 15 or more drinks for a man
  • Mixing alcohol with other substances to enhance its effects

Over time, alcohol abuse can evolve into an alcohol addiction, where the person continues to drink compulsively despite negative consequences. Not everyone who abuses alcohol will develop an addiction, but as use continues, the risk grows.

Signs of Alcohol Abuse

The signs of alcohol abuse are numerous and will negatively impact many facets of a person’s well-being over time. Physical, psychological and social signs of alcohol abuse may include:

Physical Signs of Alcohol Abuse

Many signs of alcohol abuse can appear in the short term, including:

  • Drinking larger amounts of alcohol than previously consumed
  • Spending more time, money and energy working on getting and using alcohol
  • Spending more time being hungover and recovering from alcohol’s effects
  • Frequently showing signs of intoxication, like slurred speech, poor coordination and walking problems
  • Increased injuries from falling or engaging in risky behaviors
  • Decreased self-care and poor hygiene
  • Smelling of alcohol or having many empty bottles around the house
  • Significant weight changes

Other physical signs of alcohol abuse require prolonged use and include:

  • Cardiac issues, like high blood pressure, stroke and irregular heartbeat
  • Liver problems including fatty liver, hepatitis, fibrosis and cirrhosis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Various cancers
  • Weakened immune system

Psychological Signs of Alcohol Abuse

The psychological signs of alcohol abuse emerge when the substance interferes with usual brain functioning. The most common emotional signs of alcoholism include:

  • Rapidly changing moods
  • Increased irritability, anger and aggression
  • Failing to follow through on responsibilities
  • Problems with memory, concentration and attention
  • New or worsening anxiety
  • Possible hallucinations or delusional thinking, especially during periods of withdrawal

Alcohol addiction’s psychological signs can either mask a mental health condition by covering up its symptoms or intensify symptoms of a co-occurring disorder. Accurately identifying all present psychological disorders is extremely challenging when alcohol abuse is still happening.

Social Signs of Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse’s effects extend beyond the physical and psychological to include social influences. The most common social signs of alcohol abuse include:

  • Spending less time around friends and isolating oneself
  • Spending more time in new and changing social groups
  • Increased lying and deceitfulness
  • Failing to follow through on plans
  • Increasing conflicts with friends, family and coworkers
  • Decreased performance in school, work or sports

Socially, a person with and alcohol addiction will likely be very inconsistent. One day, they could be happy and outgoing. The next day, they could be feeling down, angry and hostile. Unpredictable social interactions are a strong indicator of substance use disorders.

Effects of Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol intoxication will produce many of the effects of alcohol abuse. Though the effects may vary between individuals, common reactions to alcohol consumption include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Incoordination
  • Problems walking steadily
  • Poor memory and attention
  • Mood changes
  • Poor judgment

Many of these effects are dependent on the amount of alcohol consumed. Someone could have a desirable mood change after a drink or two but undesirable mood changes with inappropriate or aggressive behaviors with additional drinks. As people continue drinking, they risk overwhelming their system with alcohol and experiencing alcohol poisoning.

Alcohol poisoning can be fatal. If you suspect someone is experiencing alcohol poisoning, call 911 immediately. Do NOT be afraid to seek help. If you do not have access to a phone, contact Web Poison Control Services for online assistance.

In the long term, addictions like alcohol use disorder make daily activities nearly impossible. A recent poll by The Recovery Village found physical health (61%), mental health (52%) and relationships (47%) are the most common negative impacts on daily life. People often struggle to maintain their jobs, parental responsibilities, housing, financial health and hygiene. Alcohol use can even threaten someone’s freedom due to legal issues. Left untreated, alcoholism can destroy everything the person has worked hard to achieve.

Alcohol Abuse and Pregnancy

Alcohol can pass through the placenta and umbilical cord, so drinking at any time during pregnancy can cause health problems for the fetus. There is no safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy. Drinking alcohol can increase the risk of premature birth, brain damage, growth and development problems and congenital disabilities.

Alcohol Abuse and Antibiotics

Alcohol and antibiotics should not be mixed. Mixing alcohol with antibiotics can worsen the side effects of the antibiotic and cause liver damage, nausea and vomiting, fast heartbeat and seizures. The interaction between alcohol and antibiotics will depend on the specific medication you are taking, so discussing your prescription with your doctor is important before beginning a round of antibiotics. In addition, alcohol suppresses your immune system, making it harder to overcome your illness.

Alcohol Abuse and Bowel Movements

Alcohol can significantly affect bowel movements. It can impair nutrient absorption, worsen IBS symptoms, cause dehydration and even lead to internal bleeding in the GI tract. Chronic alcohol use can worsen these effects. To avoid bowel-related side effects, it is important to stay hydrated when drinking alcohol. If you experience any concerning bowel-related symptoms after alcohol use, please speak with a medical professional.

Alcohol Abuse and Your Lungs

Heavy alcohol use can damage the lungs in several ways. It can weaken the immune system, damage the surface cells of the lungs and harm the cilia that help to remove foreign particles from the lungs. This can lead to a syndrome called alcoholic lung, which can start to develop in as little as six weeks. Alcohol vapor can also irritate the upper and lower airways, causing inflammation and harm to the cells.

Alcohol Abuse and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Alcohol is an irritant that causes long-term inflammation. This inflammation can weaken the LES, the valve that prevents stomach acid from backing up into the esophagus. This backup can lead to GERD symptoms such as heartburn, acid reflux and regurgitation. Alcohol does not cause GERD, but regular consumption can worsen symptoms and mask Barrett’s esophagus, a complication of GERD that can lead to cancer. If you have GERD, it is important to limit your alcohol consumption. Even moderate drinking can worsen symptoms and increase your risk of complications.

Alcohol Abuse and Rashes

Alcohol-induced skin reactions are not common, but they can happen. Rashes, flushing, redness, and itching are some of the most common reactions. Limiting or avoiding alcohol can help, and talking to a healthcare professional can provide more information and treatment options.

Outlook for Alcohol Abuse

A person can overcome alcohol abuse before it spirals into a full-blown alcohol addiction. The best time to get help to stop drinking is when you realize you have a problem. This can include learning you meet the criteria for heavy or binge drinking or that alcohol is causing negative consequences.

If left unchecked, alcohol abuse can progress into physical dependence on alcohol and even an alcohol addiction. 

When you notice you are struggling with alcohol, seeking medical advice can help you avoid developing an addiction.

How Addictive Is Alcohol?

Alcohol can be highly addictive, especially when consumed in large amounts within a short period. Alcohol addiction develops in several stages. The process of addiction may begin with the first drink, with physical and mental factors that can escalate quickly.

Brain Chemistry During Alcohol Use

Like any other addictive drug, alcohol affects the brain’s chemistry. When a person drinks alcohol, the drug causes their brain to release neurotransmitters responsible for signaling pleasure and reward (among other things). In the brain, alcohol increases the effects of neurotransmitters that slow the body down while also decreasing the effects of neurotransmitters that speed the body up. The combined effect results in many of the intoxicating effects of alcohol.

Alcohol Tolerance

Once the effects of alcohol wear off, so does the feeling of happiness, pleasure and satisfaction caused by the neurotransmitters. A person can experience these feelings again if they drink alcohol again. After a period of continued alcohol abuse, it takes more substantial quantities of alcohol to achieve the same effect. This process is called tolerance and causes people to use more alcohol over time to achieve the same level of intoxication.

Related Topic: What happens when you drink alcohol every day

Alcohol Dependence or Physical Dependence

As alcohol use continues, the body and brain adjust to the neurochemistry changes caused by the alcohol. This adjustment, called dependence, makes it necessary to have alcohol so the brain and body can function normally.

Alcohol Withdrawal

If alcohol use is stopped, someone who has been misusing alcohol and is dependent on it will experience withdrawal symptoms. The severity of alcohol withdrawal symptoms depends on the person’s drinking history and how much alcohol they have been drinking. People who drink heavily for a long time are more likely to experience severe withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be managed with medication and supportive care. People who detox from alcohol should avoid drinking alcohol again, as this can worsen the withdrawal process. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol abuse, please seek help from a qualified healthcare professional.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

During withdrawal, the brain has become so accustomed to alcohol that it has a volatile reaction when the drug is removed, causing headaches, vomiting, sweating, anxiety and other symptoms.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe and occur within hours to days after a person stops drinking alcohol. Common symptoms include headaches, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, tremors and seizures. In severe cases, alcohol withdrawal can lead to delirium tremens, a life-threatening condition that can cause hallucinations, delusions and seizures. Alcohol detox usually takes 7–10 days, but the withdrawal process can differ for everyone. People detoxing from alcohol should do so under medical supervision to avoid complications.

Coping With Alcohol Withdrawal

There are many ways to cope with alcohol withdrawal, from mild to severe symptoms. Some helpful tips include:

  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, juice and sports drinks.
  • Take a cold shower: The cold water can help reduce anxiety and sweating.
  • Eat healthy foods: Eating fruits and vegetables can help stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce cravings.
  • Exercise: Exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety and improve overall mood.
  • Meditate or do deep breathing exercises: These relaxation techniques can help calm your mind and body. 
  • Talk to someone you trust: Having someone to talk to can help you feel supported and understood.
  • Seek professional help: If you are experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms, it is important to seek professional help.

It is important to remember that you are not alone in this. Many people have successfully overcome alcohol withdrawal, and you can too. With the right support and resources, you can get through this.

Alcohol Detox

Alcohol detox programs can be inpatient or outpatient. Outpatient programs are suitable for people with mild to moderate alcohol withdrawal symptoms, while inpatient programs are necessary for people with severe withdrawal symptoms. Outpatient programs allow people to remain at home, while inpatient programs provide 24/7 medical supervision. In some cases, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be severe and lead to a potentially fatal condition called delirium tremens. In these cases, inpatient detox is usually necessary.

A Note on Alcohol Detox at Home

While detoxing at home may seem convenient and easy, it can have significant risks. Suddenly quitting alcohol can cause seizures, hallucinations, heart failure and even death. Detoxing from alcohol is most effective under the guidance of a professional at a detox rehab center. However, if you choose to detox at home, focusing on hydration, a balanced diet and toxin-fighting vitamins and minerals is important. You should also have someone you trust to monitor your symptoms and provide support. The Recovery Village can help you successfully overcome addiction and get sober.

Alcohol Addiction or Physical and Psychological Dependence

Alcohol addiction is marked by the obsessive desire to consume alcohol, regardless of the negative consequences. Dependence is a physical process, while addiction is a form of psychological dependence. At this point, the person engaging in alcohol abuse will likely experience many negative side effects from drinking — such as financial trouble or legal trouble — but cannot stop themselves from continuing to drink.

How Alcohol Abuse Begins

Alcohol abuse often starts innocently. Many people begin as social or occasional drinkers, especially in high school or college. While not everyone who drinks socially will abuse alcohol, those who binge drink are at a higher risk. Binge drinking is defined as consuming four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men in about two hours.

Several factors can contribute to the development of alcohol abuse, including genetics, environment and mental health. People with a family history of alcoholism are more likely to develop the disorder themselves. Those who grew up in chaotic or abusive households may also be at an increased risk, and mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety can also lead to alcoholism.

While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to preventing alcoholism, it is important to be aware of the risk factors and seek help if you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol abuse.

Is Alcohol Abuse Hereditary?

The terms “genetic” and “hereditary” are largely interchangeable when discussing alcohol addiction. Genetic factors refer to a person’s DNA and genes passed down from parents to children. Heredity, on the other hand, refers to the transmission of mutated genes across generations. When it comes to alcohol abuse, both genetic and environmental factors contribute to a person’s risk level.

Alcoholism is a complex genetic disease influenced by multiple genes, such as ADH1B, ALDH2, GABRA2, CHRM2, KCNJ6 and AUTS2. These genes can increase the risk of alcohol addiction and related diseases, including certain cancers. However, there isn’t a gene that directly causes alcohol abuse or addiction. Environmental and social factors also play a significant role in determining the outcome.

Social factors, such as societal norms, laws, peer influence and family attitudes toward alcohol use, can shape a person’s drinking habits. Environmental factors like poverty, childhood abuse and socioeconomic disadvantage are associated with higher alcohol consumption, while factors like access to education, stable work and supportive family environments can reduce the risk.

How Is Alcohol Abuse Diagnosed?

Physicians and mental health experts use a combination of visual assessment and interview skills to accurately diagnose alcohol issues, including abuse, addiction and dependence. In some cases, a physical exam could be used to identify intoxication or withdrawal.

The formal diagnosis for someone with a problematic relationship with alcohol is alcohol use disorder. To diagnose this condition, a professional would investigate the most important factors like:

  • Drinking more often and in larger amounts than intended
  • Inability to follow through on intentions to stop drinking
  • Spending a large amount of time drinking or being hungover
  • Strong cravings to continue alcohol use
  • Neglect of normal activities
  • Increased conflict in relationships
  • Drinking alcohol, even though it is causing physical or mental health problems
  • Drinking in a situation where there is great danger, like while driving
  • Increased physical tolerance to alcohol
  • The presence of withdrawal symptoms when alcohol use is stopped

A person only needs two signs and symptoms to receive an alcohol use disorder diagnosis. Having more symptoms could indicate a more serious condition.

While these factors may be used to diagnose alcohol abuse, an accurate diagnosis depends on your honesty with your treatment provider. Being honest with a doctor is vital to understanding if alcohol abuse is something that should be diagnosed.

Related Topic: Am I an Alcoholic? What to Ask

Alcohol Abuse Statistics

Scientists and researchers have been tracking statistics about alcohol consumption and rates of alcohol-related deaths for decades. This research effort is so substantial that the U.S. government created the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) in 1970.

Every year, the NIAAA publishes new data on alcohol abuse, alcohol-related deaths and other important statistics. Some of the latest statistics on alcohol addiction in America include:

  • 86.2% of adults 18 and over report they drank alcohol at some point.
  • 66.9% of adults report drinking within the last year and 51.7% report drinking within the last month.
  • 23.3% of adults report binge drinking within the last month.
  • 6.4% of adults report heavy drinking within the last month.
  • 1.3 million people age 18 or older have an alcohol use disorder.
  • Globally, 107 million people are estimated to have an alcohol use disorder.

The Recovery Village 2020 Alcohol Survey Results

We surveyed 2,136 American adults who either wanted to stop drinking alcohol or had already tried to (successfully or not). We asked them about their alcohol use, reasons for drinking, alcohol-related outcomes, health and more. A subset of the study’s respondents (47.1%) qualified as heavy alcohol users. Research shows that people who drink before age 15 are four times more likely to become addicted to alcohol later in life.

Among those surveyed:

  • 10.1% had their first alcoholic drink at 11 years old or younger
  • 37.5% had their first alcoholic drink between 12–17 years old
  • 39.7% had their first alcoholic drink between 18–25 years old
  • 12.6% had their first alcoholic drink at 26 years old or older

Alcohol use disorder can involve feeling like you need to drink to keep going, but it doesn’t start that way. Multiple reasons can spur someone to drink until they’ve become dependent on alcohol. Among those surveyed:

  • 64.9% used alcohol to cope with stress (to relax, unwind or deal with life)
  • 43.5% used alcohol to cope with mental health symptoms like anxiety or depression
  • 61.9% used alcohol recreationally or socially
  • 38.1% used alcohol out of boredom
  • 16.6% reported being physically dependent on alcohol
  • 17.8% used alcohol as part of their daily routine (i.e., a drink with dinner)

Only 7.2% of people with an alcohol use disorder received treatment. 

The number of people who struggle with alcohol addiction is staggering. What is even sadder is that many of these people will not receive the help they need. The good news is that most people with an alcohol use disorder will benefit from treatment. While many people will not receive the help they need, those who do seek help are likely to see a positive result from getting rehab for alcohol addiction.

Alcohol Abuse Research by The Recovery Village

To support this choice towards recovery and an alcohol-free life, The Recovery Village dedicates itself to understanding the why and how of alcohol abuse. In a recent study by The Recovery Village, we asked over two thousand people about their alcohol use.

When asked about their reasons for drinking alcohol:

  • 65% used alcohol to cope with stress (to relax, unwind, or deal with life)
  • 44% used alcohol to cope with mental health symptoms like anxiety or depression
  • 62% used alcohol recreationally or socially
  • 38% used alcohol out of boredom

When asked if any health issues they had were related to their alcohol use:

  • More than 1 in 3 reported depression (38%)
  • Nearly 1 in 3 reported high blood pressure (31%)
  • 1 in 6 reported liver disease (17%)
  • 1 in 10 reported cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) (12%)
  • 1 in 10 reported cardiovascular disease (11%)
  • 1 in 7 reported a weakened immune system (15%)
  • 1 in 10 reported nerve damage (11%)
  • 1 in 12 reported pancreatitis (8.4%)
  • 1 in 11 reported seizures (9%)
  • 1 in 13 reported cancer (7.8%)

About 47% of respondents qualified as heavy drinkers, which increases their chance of developing an alcohol use disorder if they didn’t already have one. Consistently, heavy drinkers reported every health complication more often than average and significantly more than moderate or light alcohol users. Heavy drinkers in our study had more than doubled their risk of having a health issue. They were:

  • 2.12 times more likely to have liver disease
  • 2.26 times more likely to have cirrhosis (scarring of the liver)
  • 2.06 times more likely to have high blood pressure
  • 2.26 times more likely to have cardiovascular disease
  • 2.77 times more likely to have nerve damage
  • 2.18 times more likely to have pancreatitis

They were also at higher risk for other common health complications than moderate or light drinkers. Heavy drinkers were:

  • 85% more likely to be depressed
  • 61% more likely to have a weakened immune system
  • 73% more likely to have seizures
  • 48% more likely to have cancer

Co-Occurring Conditions

Alcohol and other mental health disorders share a bidirectional relationship. Alcohol can make other conditions emerge or worsen; having another condition can make alcohol use disorders worse as people drink to cope with their mental health issues.

Alcohol use disorder frequently co-occurs with several other conditions like:

  • Depressive disorders
  • Anxiety disorders like generalized anxiety disorder or social phobia
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Schizophrenia

For example, a person with social anxiety may begin drinking alcohol as a negative coping skill to reduce symptoms. Alcohol does not “cure” anxiety; it only covers symptoms. The anxiety disorder would continue while the alcohol use disorder grows. Alternatively, sometimes, a person with long-term alcohol use may disrupt normal neurotransmitter flow in the brain, which could trigger new or worsening symptoms of a mental health condition.

Common Questions About Alcohol Abuse:

What causes someone to become an alcoholic?

Alcoholism has no single cause. Rather, it is a detailed combination of genetic markers and environmental precursors. There is a hereditary role in developing alcohol dependence, but an alcohol addiction gene has never been isolated. Having a parent who is an alcoholic makes you four times more likely to be one yourself, per the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Environmental factors are part of the mix, too. Growing up in a household where alcohol is prevalent increases your risk of alcoholism. Your involvement with peers as you grow up and the age at which you begin drinking also contribute. People who drink before age 15 are four times more likely to become addicted to alcohol later in life.

Mental health plays a significant role in all forms of substance abuse. Among alcoholics, 37% have at least one serious mental health disorder, such as bipolar disorder.

What makes alcohol addictive?

There are several reasons why alcohol is addictive. Some of the key points for the addictive nature of alcohol include:

  • Alcoholism can develop because alcohol changes the brain’s neurochemistry.
  • Alcohol can lead to physical and psychological dependence.
  • When someone becomes physically dependent on alcohol, they can experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop, making it more difficult to stop.

What is a high-functioning alcoholic?

A high-functioning alcoholic is pretty much how it sounds. These problem drinkers can keep their careers or home lives together as they continue with their alcohol abuse. High-functioning alcoholics might be successful in business or pillars of the community, but they drink enough to have an alcohol dependence and often conceal how much they truly consume.

Some signs of a high-functioning alcoholic include:

  • They become irritable or restless when they cannot drink.
  • They would rather have a few drinks instead of a meal.
  • Stopping at one or two drinks is next to impossible.
  • They suffer periods of memory loss or “blackouts.”
  • They refuse to discuss their drinking or become angry when it is mentioned.
  • They can always conjure a “reasonable” explanation for when and why they drink.
  • They hide their alcohol or attempt to conceal how much they are drinking.

Is alcohol considered a drug?

Although some people may consider alcohol a drug, from the government’s perspective, alcohol is not a drug; rather, it is a psychoactive substance. It is a depressant that slows down the function of the central nervous system. Despite not being a drug, it is often referred to as just as dangerous as drugs because it is so commonly abused, and its dangers are often overlooked. 

Is alcohol a gateway drug?

The three gateway substances are nicotine, alcohol and cannabis. The concept is based on the “gateway hypothesis,” which states that adolescents who experiment with these substances are more likely to use other addictive drugs later in life. The controversy and conflicting research can be confusing, but some conclusions can still be made:

  • Alcohol increases the likelihood of drug use, including the gateway drugs tobacco and cannabis.
  • Addiction is a complex disease. Prior use of alcohol is simply another risk factor among many, and there is no single explanation for why someone becomes addicted.
  • The interrelationships between the gateway substances (tobacco, alcohol and cannabis) are complex.
  • Targeting alcohol use in adolescents will likely impact the development of other substance use disorders later in life.

What are the effects of drinking every day?

Drinking alcohol daily can have serious consequences for a person’s mental and physical health, both in the short- and long-term.
Alcohol has complex effects on the body and can affect multiple organs and systems like the heart, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, vasculature system and liver. There are different short- and long-term consequences for each of these systems.

Many of the effects of drinking every day can be reversed through early intervention but become harder to treat with time. It’s critical to recognize alcohol abuse and treat alcoholism as early as possible to avoid irreversible damage to the brain and body.

In short:

Treatment Options for Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse occurs before alcohol addiction, and treatment should be discussed with your doctor. If alcohol abuse continues to develop into an alcohol addiction, however, there is still hope: many treatment options exist for alcohol addiction and alcohol use disorders. People should always seek a professional evaluation since not all levels of treatment are appropriate for all people.

Inpatient/residential treatments are generally more intensive for people with more severe symptoms of addiction and dependence. These treatments offer around-the-clock care administered by a team of professionals. To maintain a safe environment for the individual, they will initially live at the treatment facility and have limited contact with people outside the center.

Outpatient care involves treatments that allow the person to live at home, work and maintain other routines while attending care. Rather than living at the treatment center, the person will attend their appointment and then return home. Intensive outpatient care could involve several hours of treatment several times per week to offer more support to people in need.

According to a recent survey by The Recovery Village, out of the people initiating treatment:

  • 34.9% started rehab in inpatient or residential treatment
  • 24.2% started in intensive outpatient treatment
  • 26.1% started in outpatient care
  • 14.8% started rehab in teletherapy

Treatments must be intensive enough to meet the patient’s needs without being overly restrictive or burdensome, so a person with frequently excessive drinking will typically need higher care. The Recovery Village discovered that heavy drinkers were 2.42 times more likely to attend inpatient or residential rehab than any other treatment program, most likely due to the increased needs involved with heavy alcohol use.

People with fewer symptoms or additional responsibilities at home or work may opt for outpatient or telehealth offerings to limit the life disruption. These programs offer tremendous flexibility to assess and address each person’s addiction.

The intensity of treatment is important, but the duration will also dictate the effectiveness of services. According to The Recovery Village survey:

  • 55.4% spent less than 30 days in rehab
  • 27.1% spent 31—60 days in rehab
  • 10.8% spent 61—90 days in rehab
  • 6.7% spent more than 90 days in rehab

Overall, longer treatment periods tend to be more helpful than shorter services. With addiction treatment, keeping the process going after rehab is vital. People who complete inpatient or residential care should seamlessly transition to outpatient care with a strong aftercare plan.

Support groups like A.A. can help keep people moving toward recovery goals outside of professional services. Ongoing addiction treatment can help minimize relapses and establish longer periods of recovery.

Insurance May Cover The Cost of Alcohol Rehab

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    Finding the Help You or Your Loved One Needs for Alcoholism

    If you or a loved one struggles with alcohol addiction, help is available. The most important step to recovering from alcohol addiction is seeking treatment. The caring team members at The Recovery Village understand how difficult it is to take the first step of getting help.The Recovery Village is here for you and would welcome the chance to help you start your path to a full recovery. Reach out to our team today to learn more about comprehensive treatment for alcohol abuse and how you or your loved one can become free from alcohol addiction.

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    Editor – Theresa Valenzky
    Theresa Valenzky graduated from the University of Akron with a Bachelor of Arts in News/Mass Media Communication and a certificate in psychology. She is passionate about providing genuine information to encourage and guide healing in all aspects of life. Read more
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    Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Jessica Pyhtila, PharmD
    Dr. Jessica Pyhtila is a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist based in Baltimore, Maryland with practice sites in inpatient palliative care and outpatient primary care at the Department of Veteran Affairs. Read more

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    Medical Disclaimer

    The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.