Alcoholics can cause severe damage to their bodies before they ever think about going to an alcohol rehab. Particularly in the case of alcoholism, continuous substance abuse over a prolonged period of time—several years or even decades—has been implicated in a number of severe, chronic, and dangerous physical and mental health conditions.
In fact, alcoholism is sometimes cited as one of the most severe and potentially dangerous forms of addiction. For individuals who suffer from severe alcoholism or who have been dependent on alcohol for an extended period of time, it may be unsafe for them to simply cease consumption of alcohol.
Identifying Health Problems Caused by Alcoholism
Unfortunately, the bodies of such individuals have become so dependent on alcohol that ceasing intake of alcohol could result in many bodily systems or organs shutting down. Continued alcohol abuse can result in the accumulation of additional mental and physical health problems, leaving such individuals with no choice but to seek treatment at an alcohol rehab and recovery facility.
Many individuals who suffer from addiction are hesitant or resistant to the recovery process. In some cases, they may be experiencing fear of withdrawal symptoms, which is an inevitable part of the recovery process. Other individuals may resist recovery due to the intake and evaluation process, during which time the individual is screened for any potential health conditions that have developed as a result of alcohol abuse.
Individuals may be experiencing fear that the intake coordinators will inform them that their alcoholism has resulted in the development of a serious mental or physical health problem. Due to feeling unable to handle another diagnosis, individuals might also feel that their mental and physical health needs won’t adequately be addressed in a program with the sole purpose of helping them get sober.
These individuals are often unaware that the treatment programs offered at alcohol rehabs and even drug rehabs will almost always address clients’ other mental and physical health conditions as part of the recovery process, especially when those conditions developed as a result of substance abuse.
Mental Health Problems Treated at Alcohol Rehab Centers
While an individual’s body becomes physically dependent on alcohol, his or her mind also experiences a form of dependency as well, compounding the severity of the disease as well as its potential effects. In terms of mental health problems, alcoholism has a high rate of comorbidity with mental health disorders.
According to a study, it’s estimated that more than 29 percent of individuals show signs of a mood disorder after one year of being chemically dependent on alcohol, which is very high considering only 12.3 percent of individuals who are characterized as alcohol abusers—indicating that they have not become dependent on alcohol—show symptoms of a mental health condition after one year of alcohol abuse.
However, anxiety seems to be the most common result of alcoholism with more than 36 percent of alcohol-dependent individuals showing symptoms of an anxiety disorder after one year of dependency. There have also been some studies to suggest alcoholism may be responsible for as much as 10 percent of dementia diagnoses, which has resulted in many dual-diagnosis alcoholics needing treatment for dementia and similar memory disorders.
Moreover, alcoholism has been found to damage areas of the brain that are involved in socialization, particularly the prefrontal cortex, making it necessary for many recovering alcoholics to relearn social and communication skills as part of their recoveries.
Physical Health Problems Treated at Alcohol Rehab Centers
According to the sample population in a study on alcoholism, at least 79 percent of alcoholics also suffer from at least one physical health problem, which must often be addressed as part of an individual’s recovery treatment. Cirrhosis of the liver is a common diagnosis among individuals who suffer from a drinking problem with an estimated one-in-five alcoholics developing cirrhosis after a decade of active alcoholism. Moreover, prolonged alcohol abuse has been confirmed to irreversibly damage the pancreatic gland, which can cause episodes of severe abdominal pain or even pancreatitis.
Alcoholic neuropathy is a condition caused by long-term alcohol abuse—typically about 10 years of active alcoholism—as well as poor nutrition, resulting in one’s nervous system actually being damaged by alcohol and causing symptoms like numbness or tingling sensations in the limbs, muscle weakness or pain, loss of coordination, and in more severe cases, difficulty swallowing and muscle atrophy.
Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is a brain disorder caused by a severe vitamin B1 deficiency that’s common in alcoholics. As a form of brain damage, the symptoms include confusion, loss of mental activity or cognitive capacity, abnormal eye movements, double vision, memory loss, confused speech, hallucinations, or even coma. Due to the severity of some physical conditions caused by alcoholism, individuals may be referred to a specialist in order to receive sufficient treatment.
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The long-term abuse of alcohol has been implicated in a number of serious mental and physical health conditions. While many can be treated as part of a dual-diagnosis treatment plan, some conditions require the expertise and experience of a specialist.
If you or someone you love would benefit from learning more about quality treatments for alcoholism or drug addiction, call Drug Treatment Center Finder today. Our recovery specialists and intake coordinators are available to help individuals find the treatments and programs they need to return to a state of health and happiness. Don’t wait. Call us right now at (855) 619-8070 and learn how you can enroll in an alcohol rehab today.