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Louisiana Alcohol Addiction

Problematic alcohol consumption is a serious medical and behavioral issue that often needs professional treatment. Also known as alcoholism, alcohol dependence syndrome is a broad diagnosis that includes both alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. There are many ways to treat Louisiana alcohol addiction, including medical detox programs, long-term medication therapy, behavioral therapy, and 12-step support programs. If you or anyone you know needs help with an alcohol problem in Louisiana, it’s important to find professional help as soon as you can.

Alcoholism statistics in Louisiana

Alcoholism is a serious issue in Louisiana, with adults in the state drinking an average of 2.7 gallons compared to the national average of 2.3 gallons according to the Louisiana Statewide Substance Abuse Epidemiology Profile study. While the percentage of adults in the state who have used alcohol in the past month is actually lower than the national average at 46.5 percent vs 54.5 percent, what this actually means is that fewer people are drinking more. Despite these worrying statistics, a lack of detox and rehab treatment facilities has been recognized in the state of Louisiana.

What is alcoholism?

Alcoholism is also known as alcohol use disorder or alcohol dependence syndrome. Prior to 2013, alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence were separate classifications that involved different types of problematic alcohol consumption. These categories have now been joined together and recognized as the singular ‘alcohol use disorder’, a broad term used to describe any kind of problematic drinking behavior. Common signs of alcoholism include tolerance, physical withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation, health and social problems associated with alcohol intake, and spending a lot of time involved with or recovering from alcohol. Louisiana alcohol addiction is a serious issue that needs to be treated carefully.

Alcohol Abuse vs Dependence

While alcoholism is defined as a single disorder, alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence are often treated in different ways. Alcohol abuse is recognized by the uncontrolled use of alcohol, with binge drinking a specific type of alcohol abuse. More often than not, alcohol dependence can be recognized by the existence of physical-somatic withdrawal symptoms upon cessation of use, although purely psychological alcohol dependence is also possible. People who abuse alcohol on a regular basis over a long period of time are at great risk of becoming dependent. Physical alcoholism is often treated through medical detox, with alcohol abuse normally treated through psychotherapy measures alone.

 

Adverse Effects of Alcohol

Problematic drinking has been linked with a wide range of health and social problems. Possible adverse health effects of alcoholism include peptic ulcers, central nervous system damage, peripheral nervous system damage, liver disease, alcoholic dementia, and pancreatitis. People who drink heavily over a long period of time are also at greater risk of developing numerous psychiatric conditions, including depression disorder and a range of anxiety related conditions. Alcoholism is also associated with a range of additional mental health conditions, with the co-existence of a substance use disorder and a mental illness known as a dual diagnosis. Causal or bi-directional links have been found between alcoholism and borderline personality disorder, alcoholism and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), alcoholism and bipolar disorder and many other conditions.

 

Medical Detox

A medical detox period is often recommended at the outset of alcohol treatment, especially for people with a physical Louisiana alcohol addiction. Medications are often used to help alleviate and manage dangerous withdrawal symptoms, including seizures, hallucinations, and delirium tremens. Benzodiazepine drugs are often applied in this context, including long half-life medications such as Valium and Librium. These drugs are generally believed to be safe for the treatment of alcohol use disorder, suppressing symptoms and reducing the dangers associated with severe and prolonged withdrawal. There are generally believed to be three phases of detox: evaluation, stabilization, and consultation. Evaluation involves physical and psychological tests, stabilization typically involves medications, and consultation involves guiding patients towards rehab treatment.

 

Pharmacotherapy

Long-term medication therapy is sometimes required post-detox, especially for patients experiencing physical-somatic withdrawal symptoms. Once again, benzodiazepine drugs are widely used in this context, with a gradual dose reduction of these medications sometimes applied over a period of weeks or months. Other drugs may also be used to enable discontinuation and promote recovery, including Antabuse, naltrexone, and acamprosate. These medications all treat alcoholism from a different perspective, with each patient needing to be evaluated individually at each stage of the treatment process. Some treatment centers in Louisiana specialize in pharmacotherapy measures, with programs available on both a residential and outpatient basis.

 

Behavioral Therapy

While medication treatment is often needed, behavioral therapies form the basis of most alcohol rehabilitation schemes. Common behavioral modalities include family therapy, motivational enhancement therapy (MET), motivational interviewing (MI), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and many others. These programs use motivational, cognitive, and behavioral methods that attempt to recognize and alter problematic behavior patterns. By helping patients deal with the emotional and social complexities of addiction, therapists teach them to recognize triggers and cope with challenging life events without reverting to compulsive behavior.

12-step Support Groups

Traditional 12-step support groups play an important role during rehabilitation and aftercare, with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings held all over Louisiana and across the United States. 12-step programs offer psychological guidance and practical support to people during the recovery stages of treatment, with most programs using spiritual principles to promote long-term abstinence and recovery. The conventional 12-step approach involves admitting a lack of control over your addiction and recognizing God or another higher power to help guide you through the recovery process. Patients are also expected to make amends for their past mistakes and help others who are in a similar situation.

 

Relapse Prevention

Relapse is extremely common with alcoholics, with some people returning to their old ways as soon as they leave formal treatment. Dedicated relapse prevention systems and specific prevention techniques help people to break the bonds of addiction once and for all, with therapists teaching patients to recognize potential triggers, avoid high risk situations, and cope with challenging life events as they arise. Practical support programs can also help reduce relapse rates, with recovering addicts much less likely to relapse when they have access to stable accommodation and employment.

Treatment in Louisiana

If you’re looking for specialized drug treatment in Louisiana or anywhere in the United States, it’s important to reach out to an addiction specialist as soon as possible.