Research has identified differences in how the reward center of the brain responds to alcohol in heavy and light drinkers. In either group, alcohol caused the release of naturally occurring feel-good endorphins in the two brain regions linked to reward processing. Once addicted, alcohol withdrawal presents dangerous physical and psychological issues.9
As the brain matures, experiences prune excess neural connections while strengthening those that are used more often. Many scientists think that this process contributes to the steady reduction in gray matter volume seen during adolescence (depicted as the yellow to blue transition in the figure). As environmental forces help determine which connections will wither and which will thrive, the brain circuits that emerge become more efficient. However, this is a process that can cut both ways because not all tasks are desirable. The environment is like an artist who creates a sculpture by chipping away excess marble; and just like bad artists can produce bad art, environments with negative factors (like drugs, malnutrition, bullying, or sleep deprivation) can lead to efficient but potentially harmful circuits that conspire against a person's well-being. Coming KLEAN: Stories of Overcoming Addiction, The Documentary (Rated R)
Biological factors that can affect a person's risk of addiction include their genes, stage of development, and even gender or ethnicity. Scientists estimate that genes, including the effects environmental factors have on a person's gene expression, called epigenetics, account for between 40 and 60 percent of a person's risk of addiction.27 Also, teens and people with mental disorders are at greater risk of drug use and addiction than others.28
If a person is experiencing seizures and hallucinations when attempting to stop drinking, it may be due to a condition called delirium tremens (DTs). This is a serious condition that requires medical intervention to detox from alcohol. Because of the risk of DTs, a person struggling with alcoholism should never attempt to quit drinking altogether. In order to withdraw from alcohol, medical detox is required.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), patients stabilized on adequate, sustained doses of methadone or buprenorphine can keep their jobs, avoid crime and violence, and reduce their exposure to HIV and Hepatitis C by stopping or reducing injection drug use and drug-related high risk sexual behavior. Naltrexone is a long-acting opioid antagonist with few side effects. It is usually prescribed in outpatient medical conditions. Naltrexone blocks the euphoric effects of alcohol and opiates. Naltrexone cuts relapse risk during the first 3 months by about 36%. However, it is far less effective in helping patients maintain abstinence or retaining them in the drug-treatment system (retention rates average 12% at 90 days for naltrexone, average 57% at 90 days for buprenorphine, average 61% at 90 days for methadone).
Over time, most users need more and more of the same drug simply to achieve the same effects they experienced when consuming a lower dosage less frequently. Eventually, the user must have the drug simply to function and avoid feeling sick or terrible; this is one of the hallmarks of addiction. Stopping use of the drug often causes intense cravings, which is another symptom of withdrawal and addiction.
Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches (BHPB) is a comprehensive treatment center that provides mental health and trauma programs in addition to their reputable addiction program. BHPB was founded in 1997 by Dr. Donald Mullaney, a recovering addict. BHPB has some of the most talented treatment professionals in the nation who help outline specialized treatment plans for each patient. Treatment lasts a minimum of 30 days, but long-term care lasting up to 12 months is available.
Alcohol addiction treatment at Priory is delivered as part of a comprehensive Addiction Treatment Programme. Our Addiction Treatment Programmes typically last for 28 days, and consist of you staying at one of our nationwide hospital sites on a residential basis, for the duration of this time. During treatment, you will have the opportunity to undergo a medically assisted withdrawal detoxification process if this is required, before undergoing intensive individual and group addiction therapy in order to address the source of your addictive behaviours, increase your self-awareness and take steps towards recovery. Whilst 28 days is the recommended treatment time for alcohol addiction, treatment lengths at Priory can be flexible according to your unique needs, requirements and commitments. How to Quit Drugs Without Rehab - Are Drug Addiction Rehab Facilities Even Effective Long Term?