Alcoholism is a disease. The American Medical Association called alcoholism a disease in 1956, and nothing has changed.
Alcoholism is an especially dangerous disease, because the signs of it are often hidden in plain sight.
Unlike many forms of substance abuse, there is no law against alcohol, at least not since Prohibition.
If you see somebody doing meth, cocaine, or heroin, you immediately sense a problem, regardless of who or what the circumstance. If you see someone drinking a beer, wine, or liquor, would you see alcoholism, or just someone having a drink? This is part of the problem with sensing alcohol addiction - it's a problem that sometimes is confused with simple recreational alcohol consumption.
More than heroin, more than meth, more than even prescription drugs, alcohol withdrawal is exponentially more deadly than withdrawal from opiates.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that excessive alcohol consumption has caused around 88,000 preventable deaths across the U.S. every single year from 2006 to 2010.
For adults aged 20 to 64, excessive alcohol consumption killed an average of 1 in 10 individuals in this age group.
What's more, every single day an average of 28 people die in an auto accident caused by a drunk driver – that's more than one death each hour. Below are a few more drunk driving stats from the CDC that show how deadly this problem has become.
Almost one third of all traffic-related deaths in the U.S. (or 10,265 deaths) were caused by alcohol-impaired drivers in 2015
16% of the traffic deaths among children (0 to 14 years) in 2015 were attributable to an alcohol-impaired driver.
1.1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence in 2015. That's around 1% of the 111 million self-reported instances of impaired driving that happen each year.
Despite its legality, then, alcohol is actually one of the most destructive drugs available today.
It's clear that America has an alcohol problem on the whole, but what about Washington and Bellevue in particular?
Unfortunately, alcohol abuse isn't any less common locally than it is nationally. More than one fifth of King County adults reported excessive alcohol abuse in 2015 according to the King County Department of Community and Human Services.
Among youths in the area, 18% reported drinking in the past 30 days while 13% reported excessive alcohol consumption in 2012. By 2013, binge drinking among 12 to 20 year olds had risen to 14.4%.
Washington as a whole also has a higher than average number of heavy alcohol users as well with 6.9% of the total adult population per year from 2010 to 2014 reporting that they had used alcohol excessively within the past month.
To make matters worse, the overwhelming majority of individuals who showed signs of needing clinical treatment for their alcohol abuse were in so much denial that they didn't recognize it as a problem at all. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration points out that in Washington, only 9.4% of alcoholics actually sought treatment.
That means more than 404,000 Washington residents simply could not come to terms with their alcoholism enough to seek out help from an alcohol rehab in Bellevue or any other city for that matter.
Denial, it seems, is one of the most substantial barriers for an alcoholic getting the treatment that they need in Washington.
Drunk driving apparently isn't any less of a threat for Washington State citizens either.
From 2003 to 2012, 1921 drivers have been killed due to an alcohol-impaired accident. And while this averages out to less than the national rate, more Washington residents actually report driving after drinking too much compared to the rest of the U.S.
Plus, the number of DUI-related deaths are actually on the rise. In 2015, the number of these fatalities actually reached an all-time high.
According to the 2016 Washington State Traffic Safety Annual Report from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, almost one in five serious injuries from a traffic accident were caused by a drunk driver from 2010 to 2015. Beyond that, nearly half of all auto fatalities involved an alcohol-impaired vehicle operator.
Clearly, drunk driving in Washington is a serious problem.
And within King County in particular, it's even worse.
In 2016, 1999 drivers were arrested for driving under the influence through the end of November in King County. In 2017, that number jumped up to 2565 DUI arrests during the same period. That's a startling 22% increase.
For King County residents, then, alcohol is becoming ever more dangerous with each passing year.
It's an uphill battle trying to beat addiction if you don't understand what it is and how it works. Like any disease, alcoholism comes with risk factors that make you more susceptible to it. Family history, medical problems, and mental illness can all make you more prone to alcoholism, but that doesn't mean you're immune if you're free of those risk factors. Addiction, especially alcohol addiction, can strike basically anywhere, anytime.
Often times people fall into alcoholism just because they're part of a social group that frequently drinks, and so they simply associate heavy drinking with having fun with friends. It doesn't have to be a cascade series of problems for addiction to arise. Sometimes the path to alcoholism feels like an absolute blast before it starts getting bumpy and difficult.
But that path is like driving your car on a frozen lake; no matter how much fun the ride might seem, it isn't worth the potential consequences.
What makes alcoholism so difficult to detect is that it doesn't feel like a problem when you're doing it. From the addicted person's perspective, drinking is what brings them back to "normal." It feels GOOD to drink - or so they think.
It's quite a leap to go from thinking like this to deciding you need rehab. The first step of admitting the problem is especially difficult for alcoholics, because alcohol use is normalized and legal, unlike the use of hard drugs. Why would you incur the alcohol rehab cost when it doesn't even feel like you have a problem?
It fact, the feeling that you don't have a problem when you drink could actually be the biggest part of your problem. A few of the common signs of alcoholism are:
Since denial is such a big part of alcoholism, an alcoholic might start drinking in secret to make it not seem like as big a deal. And of course, hiding it to make it not seem like a big deal is basically the same as admitting that it is a big deal.
You might have a drink or two after work on a Friday night to unwind, and that's fine. But do you find yourself having drinks on a Tuesday morning before work, when you have to drive yourself? Finding time to drink in seemingly inopportune moments is a good sign that you've become dependent.
Alcoholism isn't just about how often you drink, it's about how much, as well. If you have a glass of wine with dinner every night, that hardly makes you alcoholic. If you have that glass of wine, and you can't seem to stop until you've polished off two bottles, that's much more likely to be a problem.
This one's a little fuzzy. Plenty of people have a drink to loosen up a little, particularly after a long day. That isn't really a problem... unless you need it. It's fine if having a drink helps you relax. What isn't fine is if you can't think of anything to relax you other than a drink. If you can't forego a drink and instead relax with a book, a bubble bath, or your favorite hobby, ask yourself why that is.
Do you drink to have fun? Okay, fine. Lots of people drink at parties or with friends. But do you frequently find yourself drinking to the point of passing out and not remembering what happened? Sure, it happens to people once in a while when they don't heed their limits, but then they learn their lesson and make sure to stop earlier the next time. If you keep plowing past your limits and blacking out, that's a serious problem. And you might find it requires more and more alcohol to get there in the future - increased alcohol tolerance is also a sign of alcoholism.
There are studies about "binge" drinking - the general term for heavier, potentially habit-forming levels of drinking. The threshold varies by study, but the most common definition of "binge drinking" is consuming 5 drinks or more (for men, it's 4 or more for women) during the same drinking occasion, or within a two-hour period.
Of course, binge drinking isn't the same thing as addiction. A binge is a one-time thing, and while dangerous, one instance of binge drinking does not necessarily equal a drinking habit.. Addiction is sneaky. It hides itself deep inside and chips away at your life slowly from the inside out.
Alcohol has an ability to dramatically alter how you feel both physically and mentally. But if coping with strong emotions is the main reason why you use alcohol, it's important to realize that this might be a sign of alcoholism. You may even be using alcohol to cover up the shame and guilt associated with your addiction in the first place. Either way, this is not a good sign.
Despite the strange belief that a higher alcohol tolerance equates to being more resilient or having a stronger willpower, an abnormally high tolerance may in fact indicate that you are actually struggling with an alcohol abuse problem. So if you find yourself taking pride in how much you can drink before you start feeling dizzy, you should realize that building up a tolerance is actually one of the signs of a physical dependency.
While tolerance is one sign of a physical dependency, going through withdrawals after it's been too long since your last drink is another sign that your body has gotten a bit too used to consistently being flooded with alcohol. Feeling symptoms like tremors, agitation, fuzzy thinking, or headaches after not drinking for an extended period is one of the most clear-cut signs of an alcoholic out there.
Alcohol consumption leads to a dramatic drop in your ability to accurately judge a situation. As a result, you may find that you're putting yourself at risk consistently when drinking by driving drunk, getting into fights, engaging in unprotected sex, etc. If you acknowledge the danger you tend to put yourself in after a drink and yet still continue to do it, you're likely dealing with an addiction and you may need to check into an alcohol rehab in Bellevue, WA State.
While there are undoubtedly more expensive substances to be addicted to (especially because this one is actually legal), being an alcoholic isn't exactly easy on the wallet. This goes double if you end up doing most of your drinking at the bar. As a result, you may find yourself neglecting other financial obligations (e.g. mortgage, credit card, insurance) just to keep on drinking. And that points to a serious problem.
If these signs sound like you, you just might be struggling with an alcohol use disorder. To dive in a little bit deeper, try taking a short online alcoholism quiz to get a better idea of your level of addiction. It doesn't take too long to complete, and it could end up being instrumental in giving you the objective evaluation you need to see the truth of your addiction.
Or you could also call a professional alcohol rehab in Bellevue, Washington for a free addiction phone assessment. It only takes about 20 to 30 minutes, is 100% confidential, and of course is absolutely no obligation. This consultation can give you the personalized advice you need as well as answer any questions you might have.
These assessments will help you truly acknowledge your alcoholism and break through the denial that's so common with addiction.Free Addiction Assessment
Most of the time, you're the last one to realize you have a problem. This is why interventions are so common - often the denial is so strong it takes a collection of the closest people to you all together to break through and help you see what the drink is doing to you and your loved ones.
You may recognize the signs of alcoholism above but feel that somehow, you're different. Maybe you are able to hold down a job, maintain a happy family, and avoid run-ins with the law while still abusing alcohol far more than you should. And since you're able to hold onto some semblance of a "normal" life, you think that you can still coexist with your addiction.
Eventually, your addiction is going to catch up with you. It may be a DUI, a destroyed liver, or even a few untruthful words, but eventually, alcohol will likely end up ruining your life in one way or another.
One characteristic to remember is that addiction by its very nature tends to require more. More booze, more drugs, more anything – it depends on the dependency. But as your body gets more and more acclimated to your substance abuse, it builds up a tolerance. And that means you have to start drinking more in order to feel the same high.
Eventually, your body, your mind, your job, or your relationship will end up reaching a tipping point. And when that happens, you'll have to make the choice: your drinking, or your life?
So, don't believe in the myth of the high functioning alcoholic. Because just like any other addiction, it's only a matter of time before it all comes crashing down.
If you think your friend or family member is struggling with an alcohol addiction, it's important to realize that the very best chance at their recovery is by getting them to check into an alcohol rehab in Bellevue, Washington State.
A rehabilitation program will not only ensure that they stay safe and sober during the detoxification phase (which can be both unbearable and deadly when performed without expert guidance), it will also give them the relapse prevention tools and strategies they need to overcome their addictive behaviors.
But, getting them to check into rehab is often easier said than done. So, the question is, what can you do to help them on their path to recovery? Below are a few tips on what you can do to help them, and what you need to realize you can't do to help them.
First thing's first, stop enabling your loved one with enabling and co-dependent behaviors. Do you constantly make excuses for your loved one's behaviors? Are you supporting their habit financially? Do you continue to believe they will change on their own, despite the fact that they never do?
If this sounds familiar, you're likely enabling your loved one's addiction. And rather than it making the situation any better, it's actually just giving them an excuse to maintain their addiction. So, if you are enabling them, it needs to stop immediately, hard as it might be.
First and foremost, don't approach your loved one about getting help when they're intoxicated. You've likely noticed that they turn into a different person when they're drunk. And if you actually get them to agree to treatment now, they may not hold to their word once the booze has worn off.
They might also lash out more violently when they're drunk or be especially defensive, making it both difficult and dangerous to convince them to seek treatment. Instead, you want to approach them on the subject when they're calm and in a rational state of mind.
Approaching your loved one about their alcoholism is bound to become an emotionally charged situation. But if you truly want to convince them that they have a problem and do in fact need help, you need to be sure to keep your cool.
Point to specific examples of what they've done in the past. Be clear and deliberate with what you say. And as hard as it might be, try to keep your emotions under control. If that sounds impossible to you, consider holding a professional intervention.
Above everything else, be sure to convey the message that you are concerned about them and that you are only doing this out of a sense of love for them. And in order to do that, it's crucial that you withhold judgments when you approach them. Otherwise their defensiveness may make it impossible for them to listen to reason.
If you're unsure of what to do, don't worry. You can call and consult with us if you think you or someone close to you has a problem. Alcohol rehab in Bellevue just may be the solution.
Every rehab facility has a slightly different approach to the same problem. Of course we want you to choose Evergreen for your recovery - we think we're the absolute best at what we do, and we want to prove it.
Individual therapy is the most important aspect of drug rehab, as it gets to the root causes of your addiction and is completely customized to your unique situation. And we don't just call it individual therapy because it's administered individually. Your treatment is designed specifically with you in mind.
Addiction is different from person to person, so of course we believe treatment should be as well. Evergreen works by that mantra every day. We personalize everybody's treatment plan with evidence-based treatment that are proven to work, and therapy sessions that take your unique background, personality and situation into account.
In addition, we also offer group support in many forms. You'll get access to the informal support that comes from people who understand your suffering firsthand. When you're struggling, it helps to know you're not alone, and group support puts you around people who understand your suffering better than anyone.
Evergreen is an outpatient treatment center, which means we treat people while they continue living at home. But for alcohol recovery, detox is often a requirement, due to the dangerous effects of alcohol withdrawal. If that's the case, we will refer you out to a trusted detox clinic as part of your treatment. Find out more about alcohol detox in Bellevue here.
When people think of rehab, they often think of inpatient rehab like the Betty Ford Clinic. That's not how Evergreen does things, but for some people, it may be the best option.
Outpatient rehab is a convenient middle ground between full-time alcoholic rehab, and not getting treatment at all. That said, there are ways to get help that don't involve rehab at all.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is well-known as the progenitor of the famous 12-step recovery program. AA has helped millions of alcoholics overcome their problems since 1935, and can be a great supplement to a traditional rehab program, or even a great recovery plan on its own. AA is well-known throughout the world, even amongst people who don't drink at all. This group is particularly large and finding AA meetings near Bellevue is not difficult.
You may be wondering before you attend, what are Alcoholics Anonymous meetings like in Bellevue, WA? In general, AA's plan is largely spiritually-based, and most meetings begin and end with a prayer. A speaker may open the session with a story and then you may discuss the 12 steps and your personal story. Your first meeting may serve as an introductory session of sorts where you can ask questions and get answers.
Ultimately, AA is very open and welcoming and can provide an incredible amount of social support, connection, and motivation to stay sober for good.
SMART is a different kind of program than AA. It involves only 4 steps, not 12, and focuses on self-empowerment and reliance. It's a great alternative for those who are less receptive to AA's spiritually-based approach. There aren't quite as many meetings compared to AA, but you can still find meetings for SMART alcohol rehab in Bellevue without a problem.
AA's spiritual approach to alcohol recovery is effective for a huge number of people, but it's not right for everyone. Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS) is a 30-year-old organization that provides an alternative path to recovery. SOS isn't as big a program as AA, but they have proven success, they have local meetings, and like SMART, they check spirituality at the door. It's without a doubt one of the best options for people looking to navigate the divide between spiritual/secular alcohol rehab in Bellevue, Washington State.
Family is going to be one of the most important things you have while you're going through your recovery. But you know what? As painful as alcoholism is for the addict, their family suffers just as much, and they need support, too. Support groups like Al-Anon/Alateen of Washington work with your family and loved ones to help them better understand your addiction. Alcoholism can be confusing and upsetting to those on the outside looking in. Often times, they want to help, but don't understand your suffering well enough to know how. These groups are here to help with that. And with a variety of meeting options in the area, Al-Anon/Alateen in Bellevue is a welcome resource for anyone struggling with an addicted family member.
So we don't care where you end up going for treatment, as long as you get the help you need. We're not publicly funded, so people aren't court-ordered into our program. We want to take people who are here voluntarily to kick their addictions right in the proverbial teeth. We want you to gather all the information you need, and come to your own conclusion that we're the absolute best choice for your recovery. We want you to choose us because we're as committed to cleaning up your life as you are.
We treat you like an individual here - not a patient number, or an ailment. You're a person, and when you come to Evergreen, we're going to get to know you. We want to know about your problems, your joys, what makes you tick. We want to understand what makes you drink, so we can figure out - together - how to help you stop, and never again feel like you need it.
If you're ready to take that first step towards the rest of your life, contact us now. And if you're not sure if you're ready, contact us anyway. Let us at least discuss your situation and try to determine the best course of action for you. If you're not sure what to do next, let us help.
Schedule a Free Addiction Assessment with one of our counselors. No obligation. 100% confidential.