Alcohol use disorder is a chronic illness marked by a psychological and physical dependence on alcohol. People who struggle with alcohol may drink excessively and uncontrollably, typically continuing to drink despite serious negative consequences.
Before a treatment plan is established at Cumberland Heights, each patient goes through a comprehensive assessment. The evaluation will look deep into each patient’s unique history, symptomatology and current resources. No one treatment fits every patient. Our multidisciplinary treatment teams take all the information gathered to develop a treatment course that fits that individual’s needs. We believe that by addressing each patient’s unique circumstances, we are equipping them with the tools needed for life-long recovery1. Our work doesn’t stop when a patient completes the program. Every individual is provided support from a certified peer recovery support specialist for up to one-year post discharge. These staff members help support each patient as they transition back into day-to-day life, guiding them to success through recovery management, social support, community education, and peer support)2.
To determine if you or a loved one has a drinking problem, we encourage you to learn more below.
Alcohol use disorder is a chronic illness marked by a psychological and physical dependence on alcohol. People who struggle with alcohol may drink excessively and uncontrollably, typically continuing to drink despite serious negative consequences. Alcohol use disorder typically emerges slowly over time, beginning with regular drinking and progressing to a point where the affected individual feels they can no longer function without alcohol.
Four common symptoms mark the difference between problematic and normal alcohol use:
- Loss of control
Alcohol is the most common substance of use in the United States, nearly twice as many people have an alcohol use disorder than all other substance use disorders combined — according to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 14.8 million people over the age of 12 had an alcohol use disorder3.
Although current academic scholarship suggests that anyone can experience a substance use disorder, there are some primary factors that help increase our understanding of the cause of addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, both biological and environmental risk factors contribute to the development and progression of substance use disorders4.
Genetics: Current academic scholarship posits that genes can account for 40-60% of the risk for the development of addiction.
Environment: There are many contextual factors that can contribute to the development of addiction. For example, individuals can be at increased risk to develop problematic drinking patterns if friends and family are heavy drinkers, many of the activities you participate in involve drinking, or if you started drinking at an early age. Additionally, our environment can include those rules, roles, and cultural narratives that are constructed within our lives.
If you are worried about yourself or a loved one, consider the following signs and reach out to a medical professional for further help.
Some questions to consider:
- Have you ever felt or been told that you should cut down on your drinking?
- Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
- Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?
- Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover?
Common signs of problematic alcohol use:
- Drinking frequently — every day, or multiple times per day
- Drinking alone or at inappropriate times (e.g. in the morning or at work)
- Often drinking to the point of intoxication or “blacking out”
- Spending too much money on alcohol
- Allowing their alcohol use to interfere with important things like work, school or family
- Experiencing significant mood swings
- Continuing to drink despite negative consequences (e.g. losing a job or getting in legal trouble)
Whether you’re worried about yourself or someone else, you should consult your healthcare provider or contact the recovery experts at Cumberland Heights. We can help determine whether you have a drinking problem and, if so, recommend the best course of action for recovery.
Within psychology treatment contexts, “Evidenced Based” treatment refers to treatment that has been examined across several populations and has been intensely researched. There are many resources available to what guidelines need to be met to determine if a treatment is evidence-based5, 6.
The following evidenced based practices are utilized across our health system.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Systems Theory (e.g. Family Therapy)
- Twelve-Step Facilitation
- Motivational Interviewing (MI)
- Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)
Recovery from a substance use disorder can be defined as a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life and strive to reach their full potential7. The recovery process takes time and often is not linear (i.e. sometimes an individual could experience a relapse or series of personal setbacks). However, we have found many of those in long-term recovery take an active role in support communities, follow continuing care recommendations and reach out for help.
Here at Cumberland Heights, our multidisciplinary team of behavioral health professionals are dedicated to supporting individuals and families find their path to recovery and live a life free from addiction.
Today in the U.S., approximately 22 million people live in recovery from substance use disorders8. Their stories continue to inspire our work, patients and communities. Recovery is possible.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). (2018). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition). National Institute on Drug Abuse website. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition.
- White, W. L. (2009). Peer-based Addiction Recovery Support. History, Theory, Practice, and Scientific Evaluation.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). (2019). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication PEP19-5068, NSDUH Series H-54). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved from https://www. samhsa.gov/data/
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). (2018). Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction
- EPC Evidence-Based Reports. (2018). Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. Retrieved from https://www.ahrq.gov/research/findings/evidence-based-reports/index.html
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA). (2017). National Registry of Evidence Based Practices and Protocols. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/ebp-resource-center
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA). (2011). Recovery and Recovery Support. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/recovery
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Surgeon General (2016). Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health. Washington, DC: HHS.
If you or someone you love needs help to break free of the cycle of alcohol addiction, please call 800-646-9998 to speak with one of our representatives.