No matter where you are in the U.S., an alcoholic drink is likely within reach, and that reality doesn’t help people who are struggling with controlling their drinking. In South Florida, this is especially the case. The region’s bars, restaurants, parties, and other get-togethers, either in public or at home, invite people to kick back and unwind with wine, beer, cocktails, and harder liquors nearly any time of day.
For some, enjoying life with an adult beverage in hand will not be a problem. Many people will abide by limits that work for them, but others will not be as fortunate. Excessive alcohol use will come to disrupt their lives, making it hard to keep a daily routine, a sleep schedule, and healthy relationships.
If you are experiencing life changes as a result of becoming dependent on alcohol, rehab options in the South Florida area can help you get on the road to sobriety.
It is easy not to notice when heavy or frequent drinking has become a problem. People who drink can hide their addiction, as buying and drinking alcohol turn very few heads. This is a testament to how common the substance is in society. Even regularly getting drunk and passing out won’t make some people stop and wonder if the person who does this has a problem. Still, a failure to control one’s alcohol intake likely will become apparent over time and become harder to ignore.
Excessive drinking usually leads to alcoholism, also known as “alcohol use disorder” or AUD. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reports that an estimated 16 million people in the U.S. have AUD.
A medical professional may diagnose AUD after consulting with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM–5). The manual says the condition is characterized by an established, repeated pattern of problematic drinking of alcohol that causes distress or injury within one year. AUD can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on how many criteria apply.
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South Florida is not unique in its challenges of addressing alcoholism and those who struggle with it. Access to alcohol is widespread, making it easy for people to get it whenever they want it. Alcohol use is an issue statewide in Florida.
Underage drinking remains a priority, as alcohol often ends up in the hands of minors who are legally too young to drink. However, being old enough to drink doesn’t equate to responsible alcohol use. Police and other law enforcement authorities stay busy with keeping the streets free of motorists who drive under the influence. It is illegal to drive in Florida with a blood-alcohol or breath-alcohol level of .08 or above.
Florida authorities have also found that alcohol is abused not only by itself but with other substances, including dangerous combinations of legal and illegal drugs. The Florida Medical Examiners Commission’s report listed alcohol as the most detected substance in deaths brought on by drug use in 2018. Data shows that the frequency in occurrence was 18.5 percent.
Alcohol is often among the substances used when people mix their drugs, either on purpose or by accident, to boost or decrease their effects.
The starting point of an alcohol use disorder differs, depending on the person and their unique situation. Some people can trace their alcohol addiction back to their binge drinking habit, which is when they would consume too much alcohol is a short period, usually within two hours.
Binge drinking can take place while alone or with others. The practice is fairly common, as a 2018 survey reported that more than 26 percent of U.S. adults said they had engaged in binge drinking in the past month during that year.
The recent coronavirus pandemic has also brought on a wave of binge drinking as people turn to alcohol to cope with stress, depression, anxiety, and uncertainty. Some employees are drinking during work hours while working remotely, according to a recent Alcohol.org survey. Also, data shows alcohol sales are up as people are buying more alcohol to drink either with others or alone as they isolate themselves indoors.
Unfortunately, some who overdrink may find themselves joining an alcohol rehab program to avoid becoming a hazard to themselves and others. Drinking too much is not without its dangers.
The NIAAA shares that nearly 88,000 people in the United States die in motor accidents linked to excessive alcohol use.
DUI accidents involving alcohol have ended many lives and ruined others, and overdrinking can create many problems, including:
Not being able to control one’s drinking is a red flag. Slowing down is one step; getting professional help is the next, especially if staying away from alcohol is a problem.
Alcohol use disorder is a complex medical condition that can be hard to treat on one’s own. Medical help and guidance are available at a facility that treats alcohol abuse, and South Florida is home to many centers that aim to help people break free from alcohol use.
A quality alcohol rehab program aims to help clients gain clarity into why they drink, which can strengthen their resolve to stop. With the right combination of therapies, they will become aware of triggers that signal relapse and learn to use healthy responses to avoid a return to using. Treatment is also designed to help people focus on repairing themselves and any relationships in need of mending.
Addiction treatment does not look the same for everyone, so recovery could start with a medical detox before medical professionals determine the level of care a person receives. In any case, all placements should serve the individual and their unique needs to give them the best chance to recover from alcohol addiction.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (n.d.). Alcohol Use Disorder. Retrieved from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-use-disorders
“How to Spot Teen Drug Abuse.” How to Spot Teen Drug Abuse | Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition | Underage Drinking | Prescription Drugs | Drug Abuse | South Florida. Retrieved from https://www.pbcsac.org/Spot-Teen-Drug-Abuse.html
State of Florida. DUI Information. Retrieved from https://www.stateofflorida.com/dui-information/
Medical examiners Commission. (2019, November). Drugs Identified in Deceased Persons by Florida Medical Examiners. Retrieved from https://www.fdle.state.fl.us/MEC/Publications-and-Forms/Documents/Drugs-in-Deceased-Persons/2018-Interim-Drug-Report-FINAL.aspx
CDC. (2018, May 10). Alcohol and Public Health. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htm
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and alcoholism. (2020, February 18). Alcohol Facts and Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/alcohol-facts-and-statistics
Drinking Alcohol When Working from Home. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.alcohol.org/guides/work-from-home-drinking/
Pellechia, T. (2020, March 25). Nielsen Says Beverage Alcohol Retail Sales Are Soaring During The Crisis. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomaspellechia/2020/03/25/nielsen-says-beverage-alcohol-retail-sales-are-soaring-during-the-crises/
Alcohol poisoning. (2018, January 19). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alcohol-poisoning/symptoms-causes/syc-20354386
American Society of Addiction Medicine. (2017, September 15). What are the ASAM Levels of Care? Retrieved from https://www.asamcontinuum.org/knowledgebase/what-are-the-asam-levels-of-care/