Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

Category: Dual Diagnosis

How Long Does It Take to Become Addicted to Alcohol?

How long it takes to become addicted to alcohol is different for each person. Certain risk factors make it more likely for a person to become addicted to alcohol than others. In addition, how long it takes to become addicted to alcohol depends on a person’s drinking habits as well as the presence of underlying mental health disorders.

North Atlanta Behavioral Health specializes in treating mental health disorders as well as co-occurring addictions. Our treatment programs can help you overcome the underlying causes of your addiction to alcohol for a better life in recovery.

What Is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is a term used to refer to alcohol addiction or the clinical term alcohol use disorder (AUD). Alcoholism, alcohol addiction, and AUD refer to the same type of substance use disorder. Simply put, alcoholism means that you cannot function normally without alcohol nor can you quit drinking without professional treatment.

Signs of Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction is a disease that affects a person’s mental, physical, and behavioral health. Therefore, they will show signs of addiction in each of these areas of their lives.

Mental Signs of Alcohol Addiction

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Obsessive thinking about alcohol use
  • Using alcohol to manage a mental health disorder
  • Blacking out

Physical Signs of Alcohol Addiction

  • Cravings and urges to drink
  • Changes in appearance
  • Appetite changes
  • Fatigue and hangover

Behavioral Signs of Alcohol Addiction

  • Loss of interest in activities that don’t involve drinking
  • Isolating from friends and loved ones
  • Spending most of your time drinking or recovering from drinking
  • Engaging in reckless behaviors while under the influence

In addition, if you become addicted to alcohol, you will have withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop drinking. These symptoms can be dangerous and even deadly. Therefore, you need to get help from a professional detox center to manage withdrawal safely.

While many people drink alcohol, not all people who drink are alcoholics. According to the 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 84.1% of adults aged 18 and older reported drinking at some point in their lifetimes. However, only a small percentage of adults who drink become addicted. So, what causes a person to become addicted to alcohol?

How Does Alcohol Addiction Develop?

The main reason alcohol is addictive is because drinking produces pleasurable effects in your brain. Alcohol also numbs negative emotions. Thus, you drink to gain pleasure and to reduce negative feelings.

Over time, if you drink regularly or heavily, you continually reinforce the connection between drinking and feeling good. After a while, your brain cannot feel good unless you are drinking alcohol. That means during the times between drinking, you could feel even worse than you would normally if you never drank in the first place.

So, you drink alcohol to cope with these worsening feelings. This is the beginning of the cycle of addiction. Drinking at first helped you cope with stressors and bad feelings. However, now you feel even worse than you did before, and the only way you know to cope is by drinking even more alcohol.

Risk Factors for Becoming Addicted to Alcohol

Of course, not everyone who drinks gets addicted. Many people keep their drinking limited and under control. Certain underlying risk factors make it more likely that you will become addicted than others.

Risk factors for alcohol addiction include the following:

  • Unresolved trauma, especially from childhood
  • Underlying mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder
  • Lack of coping skills for everyday stress
  • Family history of alcoholism, drug addiction, or mental illness
  • Chronic pain
  • Stressful living environments
  • Starting to drink at an early age

Oftentimes, people drink to cope with issues related to their emotional and mental health. For instance, on-the-job stress can cause a person to drink after work to cope. Or, a person in an unhappy marriage could spend their time at the bar to be out of the house.

Regardless of the specifics, if you drink to cope with stress or emotional problems, it won’t take long to become addicted to alcohol.

Does It Take Long to Become Addicted to Alcohol?

Again, it depends on the person and their drinking habits. But, when you drink to cope with life or self-medicate for underlying issues, you could become addicted quickly. This is because the brain seeks solutions to achieve a balanced emotional state—and alcohol is a quick fix.

In other words, when you allow stress to build up over time and then resort to drinking to cope, your brain reinforces this quick fix to balance your emotional state. This could take weeks, months, or even years to develop.

But, if you notice that you are prioritizing drinking over everything else or drinking alcohol is the only thing you have to cope with stress, then you need to reconsider your relationship with alcohol. Otherwise, you are going down a path that will inevitably lead to alcohol addiction.

How Do I Stop Drinking?

Quitting drinking is not always as easy as you might believe at first. Many people assume they can simply quit any time that they want to. And yet, they don’t. Usually, this is because they have used alcohol as a crutch and are fearful of letting go of their only coping mechanism—even if it’s unhealthy.

In addition, withdrawal symptoms make it difficult to stop drinking. These symptoms can be unpleasant and even deadly if your alcohol addiction is severe. That is why many people don’t quit for long when they try to stop drinking without professional help.

So, to stop drinking, you need to go through withdrawal successfully and then find better ways to cope with the underlying issues driving your addiction. First, you need to get into a detox program. That way, you can safely manage the withdrawal symptoms with the help and support of professionals.

After detox, you need to find new ways to cope with stressors. During dual diagnosis treatment after detox, you can learn more about the underlying causes of your addiction. Once you know the cause, you can start finding healthy coping skills so that you can give up drinking—for good.

Get Help for Alcohol Addiction Today

North Atlanta Behavioral Health can help you cope with underlying mental health disorders that drive your addiction to alcohol. We offer psychiatry, psychotherapy, and holistic approaches as well as dual diagnosis treatment options to help you overcome the primary issues causing your addiction.

Contact us today to begin your recovery from alcohol addiction.

Read More

Benefits of Addiction Treatment for First Responders

First responder addiction treatment helps those on the front lines of emergencies and disasters due to an increased risk of mental health and substance use disorders. Firefighters, military personnel, EMS workers, police, and other first responders face significantly more on-the-job stress than most of the general population. This often leads to self-medicating with drugs and alcohol.

North Atlanta Behavioral Health provides addiction treatment services for first responders as well as dual diagnosis treatment. Oftentimes, first responders develop underlying mental health disorders, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as a result of their stressful careers.

Our programs offer hope to those who serve our communities—often at the risk of their own health and safety.

Addiction Among First Responders

It’s no secret that first responders face more on-the-job stress than most of the general population. While they are trained to face traumatic situations, sometimes, the stress of their jobs can be too overwhelming. Not only that, but the work culture of many first responders, like police, firefighters, and military staff, can stigmatize those seeking help.

When a high-stress job meets a work culture that shames those who struggle as being “weak” or “not made for this type of work,” first responders often try to cope with their problems on their own and in secret. All too often, this leads to self-medicating with drugs or alcohol.

Even among the general population, “More than one in four adults living with serious mental health problems also has a substance use problem,” according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

But, how prevalent are behavioral health issues among first responders compared to the general population?

Behavioral Health Issues Among First Responders

Addiction often develops as a maladaptive coping mechanism for an underlying mental health condition. Since first responders face more stress and trauma than the general population, they are more likely than the general population to develop a mental health disorder. Thus, they are also more likely to develop a co-occurring substance use disorder (SUD).

According to a publication by SAMSHA, several studies have revealed the following statistics about behavioral health issues among first responders:

  • About 30% of first responders develop behavioral health disorders, such as PTSD and depression, while only 20% of the general population develops these disorders
  • Firefighters are more likely than the general population to attempt suicide or have suicidal ideations
  • An estimated 125-300 police officers commit suicide every year

Behavioral health issues like these are often connected to an increased risk of drug and alcohol abuse among first responders. Fortunately, first responder addiction treatment can help treat both addiction and the underlying mental health disorders that cause addiction.

How Does First Responder Addiction Treatment Help?

First responder addiction treatment helps in several ways. First and foremost, treatment programs allow first responders a space to open up about the impact of stress on their mental health.

Often, first responders who struggle with their mental health feel alienated due to the stigma and shame of needing help in their profession. Treatment programs allow first responders to discuss their mental health openly without judgment. As a result, first responders feel less alone in their struggle—resulting in less shame about getting help.

In addition, the following are the benefits of first responder addiction treatment:

  • Dual diagnosis treatment for both addiction and the underlying mental health disorders that cause it
  • Drug and alcohol detox programs help first responders stop substance abuse safely
  • Peer support during addiction treatment reduces the shame and stigma of addiction
  • Holistic treatment offers several coping skills for stress and anxiety
  • Varying levels of care allow first responders to transition back to everyday life as they gain the skills they need to recover
  • Relapse prevention helps first responders recognize their triggers and identify when they need additional support

At North Atlanta Behavioral Health, we offer various types of treatment programs to first responders. These programs allow first responders to transition from higher levels of care to lower ones—which further benefits their long-term recovery from addiction.

What Types of Programs Are Available to First Responders?

The following addiction treatment programs are available to first responders:

  • Outpatient Detox: Detox is the first step to recovery from any substance use disorder (SUD). During our outpatient detox program, clients must come to the treatment center at least once per day to check in. This helps first responders stay accountable to their treatment program. After that, most clients attend a residential treatment program.
  • Residential Treatment Program: During residential treatment, first responders live within the same facility where they get treatment. North Atlanta Behavioral Health partners with several residential treatment centers to help first responders get the services that they need before continuing with our outpatient rehab programs.
  • Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP): A PHP program, also called day treatment, is the highest level of outpatient care available for substance use and mental health disorders. Throughout PHP, clients attend individual therapy, group processing sessions, psychoeducational courses, and experiential treatment. Afterward, first responders can move on to less restrictive outpatient programs that allow for more flexibility.
  • Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): With an IOP program, first responders still get treatment nearly every day of the week, like PHP. However, their program sessions will only last about half that time. This way, first responders can transition back to everyday life while still getting a significant amount of support.

In addition, throughout outpatient rehab, clients can choose to live in a sober living program. Sober living homes provide a safe and secure environment that is conducive to sobriety and a drug-free lifestyle. That way, first responders live with like-minded individuals who can support them on their path to recovery.

Find First Responder Addiction Treatment Programs Today

North Atlanta Behavioral Health is proud to offer support to our community’s first responders. First responders are there for our communities in their time of greatest need. And, we are here for first responders when the stress of their profession overwhelms them and leads to substance abuse.

Call today or visit our admissions page to begin first responder addiction treatment.

Read More

Dual Diagnosis Disorders vs Co-Occurring Disorders: What’s The Difference?

Navigating the complexities of mental health terminology can be challenging, especially when it comes to understanding the nuances between terms like “dual diagnosis” vs “co-occurring disorders.” These concepts are often used interchangeably, yet they hold distinct meanings that are crucial for proper treatment and support. In this article, we’ll explore the definitions, examples, and differences between dual diagnosis and co-occurring disorders, culminating with insights into finding dual diagnosis treatment in Georgia.

If you or a loved one are struggling with dual diagnosis, look no further. At North Atlanta Behavioral Health, our outpatient rehab near Atlanta can help you or your loved one get the care you need. Call us now at 770-230-5699 or verify your insurance now.

What is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis refers to a condition where an individual simultaneously experiences a mental illness and a substance use disorder. Historically, these issues were treated separately, often leading to less effective outcomes. However, the recognition of dual diagnosis has led to more integrated and holistic treatment approaches.

A dual diagnosis can manifest in various combinations, such as depression coupled with alcoholism or anxiety disorder alongside opioid addiction. The interplay between mental health and substance abuse complicates the treatment process, as each condition may exacerbate the other.

Examples of Dual Diagnosis Disorders

  1. Depression and Alcoholism: This is a common dual diagnosis where the depressive disorder may lead to alcohol use as a coping mechanism, which in turn can worsen the depression.
  2. Anxiety and Cannabis Use: Individuals with anxiety disorders might use cannabis for its calming effects, but heavy use can lead to dependency and worsen anxiety symptoms.
  3. Bipolar Disorder and Cocaine Addiction: The highs and lows of bipolar disorder can drive a person towards stimulants like cocaine, creating a complex cycle of mood swings and substance abuse.

What are Co-Occurring Disorders?

Co-occurring disorders encompass a broader range of conditions where a person suffers from any combination of mental health disorders and substance use disorders. This term is not limited to just one mental health disorder and one substance use disorder; it can include multiple conditions of each type occurring simultaneously.

For instance, a person could be dealing with depression, anxiety, and alcoholism all at once. The term “co-occurring” highlights the simultaneous presence of multiple disorders, emphasizing the need for comprehensive treatment that addresses all underlying issues.

Examples of Co-Occurring Disorders

  1. Schizophrenia, Depression, and Alcoholism: This combination involves a severe mental illness (schizophrenia), a mood disorder (depression), and a substance use disorder (alcoholism).
  2. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Opioid Addiction, and Eating Disorder: Here, the trauma-related disorder (PTSD) co-occurs with substance abuse (opioid addiction) and an eating disorder, presenting a multifaceted treatment challenge.

What is the Difference Between Dual Diagnosis vs Co-Occurring Disorders?

While dual diagnosis specifically refers to the coexistence of a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder, co-occurring disorders include any combination of two or more psychiatric disorders, which may or may not include substance use disorders.

The key difference lies in the scope. Dual diagnosis is a subset of co-occurring disorders with a more focused definition. Understanding this distinction is crucial for treatment providers to develop effective treatment plans that address all aspects of a client’s health.

Find Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Georgia Today

Georgia offers numerous resources and treatment facilities specializing in dual diagnosis. At North Atlanta Behavioral Health, our dual diagnosis treatment in Georgia provides integrated care that tackles both mental health and substance use disorders, offering a range of therapies including medication management, counseling, and support groups. If you or a loved one are struggling, reach out to us today.

Read More