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Oklahoma Alcohol Addiction

What Is Alcohol Addiction?

Although alcohol is a legal substance, it can have devastating effects on a person’s life and health when it leads to addiction. Alcohol addiction is the continual use of alcohol to the point where the person loses control over his or her relationship with the substance. A person suffering from alcohol addiction is not only mentally addictive to alcohol, he or she is also physically addicted to the substance. This means a person will experience withdrawal symptoms when he or she does not drink

Oklahoma alcohol addiction can affect people of all ages and can develop quickly or over the course of years with continued alcohol abuse.


Statistics Related to Oklahoma Alcohol Addiction

According to Oklahoma State Mental Health Department, 160,000 Oklahomans need treatment for drug and/or alcohol abuse. While addiction to prescription medications is a significant problem, Oklahoma alcohol addiction is even more pervasive. For every seven people who need alcohol treatment, only one is awaiting drug treatment, according to the Mental Health Department.

An estimated 45.66 percent in Oklahoma reported alcohol use in the past month. Of these, 22.34 percent reported binge alcohol use. This translates to 653,918 Oklahomans, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Of the felonies in Tulsa and Oklahoma counties on a single day, an estimated six out of 10 are linked to drugs or alcohol, according to the Tulsa World. The World sampled several days at random and found that out of 62 felony cases, 38 involves with crimes that directly involved drugs and/or alcohol.


What Does Exposure to Alcohol Do to the Body?

When a person drinks alcohol, it is carried to the bloodstream and broken down by the liver. After that, it is distributed throughout the body, including in the brain. Initial effects to the brain include making a person feel relaxed and also happier. A person may also experience feelings of drowsiness and confusion.

If a person drinks more than his or her body can filter in a given time, he or she becomes “drunk” which includes symptoms of difficulty walking, slurred speech, trouble with memory and impulsive behavior. In the long-term, drinking can shrink the brain, which impairs a person’s thinking skills.


Why Is Alcohol Abuse Dangerous?

Alcohol abuse is dangerous because it can rob a person of his or her life. It can cause a person to experience adverse health effects as well as increase risk for trauma, such as car accidents and other injuries. When a person is addicted to alcohol, he or she will give up other things including activities he or she used to enjoy, as well as lose jobs and friendships and experience trouble with the law.

According to a 2012 study published in the journal “Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research,” those addicted to alcohol are expected to die 20 years sooner than an average person.


Varying Levels of Alcohol in Each Substance

According to WebMD, you are at risk of drinking too much if you engage in the following alcohol intakes:

  • Women: drinks more than three drinks at a time or drinks more than seven drinks per week.
  • Men: drinks more than four drinks at a time or drinks more than 14 drinks per week.

As a reference point, one drink is considered to be one can (12 ounces) of beer, 1 glass (4 ounces) of wine or one mixed drink.


Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse

Some symptoms a person in Oklahoma may suffer from alcohol abuse include the following:

  • You often find yourself drinking more than you intended or wanted to.
  • You find you have to drink more and more to achieve the same effect.
  • You experience withdrawal symptoms when you aren’t drinking. Examples of withdrawal symptoms include nausea, sweating, shakiness and anxiety.
  • You have tried to cut back on your drinking in the past, but haven’t been able to.
  • You have experienced trouble with the law or your relationships related to your drinking, but you haven’t been able to quit.
  • You feel guilty after you drink or you find yourself making excuses for your drinking.
  • You find yourself frequently blacking out and not remembering what you did while you were drinking.

If these symptoms sound like you or a loved one, talk to your primary care doctor or consult an Oklahoma rehabilitation facility.


Health Risks from Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse can cause short- and long-term health risks. Short-term effects associated with alcohol abuse include affected reflexes, lowered inhibitions, slower brain activity and reduced sensations and perceptions.

Long-term effects associated with alcohol abuse include liver damage, including liver cirrhosis. Additional side effects can include stomach ulcers, organ damage, anemia, brain cell death and increased blood pressure, which can increase risks for heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Those who abuse alcohol are also at greater risk for cancers, including mouth, throat and esophageal cancers.


Treatment Options for Alcohol Addiction

If you are addicted to alcohol, professional medical treatment may be necessary to save your life and prevent health-threatening side effects from alcohol withdrawals. The first step in treatment is often detoxification, or detox. This process is when you go through physical withdrawal symptoms from alcohol use. Depending upon your level of drinking, these symptoms could be severe and include seizures, hallucinations, rapid heart rate and high temperatures. Others experience shaking, nausea, muscle pains and strong headaches.

Following the detox process, you can begin recovery, which can include counseling and potentially involvement in support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous.

Recovery is a process you must deal with a day at a time when you experience an alcohol problem. Relapse is always possible when you struggle with an addiction like alcoholism. However, with the support of medical professionals, family and friends, you can overcome an alcohol addiction.


Don’t Fight Addiction Alone

You don’t have to struggle with alcohol addiction alone. Rehabilitation centers in Oklahoma can help you live a longer, healthier life free from alcohol addiction.