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Arkansas Alcohol Addiction
for substance abuse treatment

Alcohol addiction is a physical need for alcohol, caused by an extended period of abuse. Genetics play a significant role in how susceptible someone is to becoming addicted to alcohol, and there is no one fixed amount or period of time that is guaranteed to cause addiction. With a long enough period of alcohol abuse, however, anyone can potentially become addicted to alcohol.

Addiction begins with abuse, or problematic pattern drinking that tends to interfere with your life. Over time, a tolerance to alcohol develops, which means that more is needed to achieve the same level of inebriation. As this tolerance builds, however, the brain is also changing at a chemical level to see the alcohol as a necessary component of daily function. When an addiction has set in, the body needs regular doses of alcohol or it begins to malfunction. The alcoholic experiences painful withdrawal symptoms and intense cravings if they go too long without drinking.

Levels of Alcohol

Different types of drinks have different levels of alcohol. Alcohol content is measured in “alcohol by volume”, or ABV, which federal law requires be disclosed on the label of alcoholic beverages sold at retail. Drinks that are poured into a glass at a bar or restaurant are not subject to this requirement, however, requiring the individual to know what they are drinking.

Of the beverages commonly sold in the United States, beer and hard ciders are generally the lowest in alcohol content. The common domestic lagers like Coors and Budweiser generally have about 5% ABV, as does malt liquor. Stronger beers can range up to slightly over 10%, in the range of the least alcoholic wines.

Mead and wine are in the range of 8 to 16%, usually tending more toward the higher end of that range. This excludes dessert wines and fortified wine, which can be considerably stronger, in the range of 20 to 25% ABV.

Liqueurs are at least as potent as a strong wine, or even more so — they can range up to 55% ABV, the range of the strongest spirits.

Hard liquor generally begins at around 30% ABV and can range as high as 60% in some cases. This category includes rum, vodka, tequila, brandy, gin and whiskey.

Arkansas Alcohol Addiction Statistics

Arkansas does relatively well with alcohol as compared to the rest of the country, likely due to a preponderance of “dry” counties in the state. According to a 2011 report by the state’s Department of Human Service, Arkansas was 42nd in the nation in per-capita alcohol consumption for persons over the age of 18. However, that does not mean that abuse and addiction do not happen here. Treatment admissions for alcohol without the presence of any other substances increased by 134% over the previous decade. The report found that alcohol abuse was a disproportionate problem among adult men in the state, making up about 68% of all treatment admissions, and that the treatment rate for men under the age of 20 had doubled as compared to the general population.

While alcohol abuse overall is lower than the national average in the state, alcohol-related fatalities are higher. Another study by the Department of Human Services conducted in 2013 indicated that about 11 fatalities per 100,000 were due to an alcohol-related vehicle accident, as compared to a national rate of about 7 per 100,000.

The Dangers of Alcohol Abuse

Arkansas alcohol addiction rips apart families, costs abusers their jobs and social connections, and drives the abuser further and further into isolation. Impairment is also one of the leading causes of fatal accidents and those that cause serious injury. As if all of that weren’t bad enough, there are a wide variety of health risks that accompany alcohol abuse as well.

Alcohol Addiction can be very dangerous to health simply by drinking too much in one sitting. One overly large dose is capable of damaging the heart, including causing arrhythmia and stroke. Fatal alcohol overdose is relatively rare, but becomes much more likely when it is combined with depressant drugs, such as opiate painkillers and sedatives.

Long-term alcohol abusers experience a significantly elevated risk of fatty liver disease, alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis, fibrosis, and pancreatitis. They also usually have compromised immune systems and are at risk for the development of a variety of cancers — liver, breast, esophagus, mouth and throat among them.

How To Get Arkansas Alcohol Addiction Treatment

The first step in obtaining treatment is to contact a certified addiction treatment center. New patients will need to complete a medical detox, which is not offered by every facility. Staff at the facility can help patients to get set up with medical detox at a nearby hospital if they do not offer it, however. During medical detox, patients will reside at the facility for a period of several days to a week, and be monitored by medical staff at all times. This provides an opportunity for any remaining alcohol to be cleared from the system, and patients who are having strong cravings and withdrawal symptoms may be given appropriate medications to help reduce them. They will also get psychological screening and counseling to determine if there is a co-existing mental health disorder that is contributing to the alcohol abuse.

After initial detox is completed, patients then move on to either inpatient or outpatient treatment, depending on the severity of the addiction. With long-term alcohol use, an inpatient period of 30 to 120 days is common. The patient resides at the facility during this time, takes all their meals there, and makes very limited trips outside of the facility. This affords them an environment free of distractions in which to focus totally on their recovery, and provides them all of the tools they will need to do so in-house. The patient may transition from inpatient to outpatient treatment when it is appropriate.

It is important to begin the treatment process before alcohol abuse causes serious and permanent damage. Get in touch with an addiction specialist today and they can help guide you through the initial process of recovery immediately.