How Alcohol Affects the Brain
The brain is a very delicate organ in our body that relies on millions of tiny chemical interactions and neurological activity to work correctly. This process is a delicate balance of physical processes, brain chemistry, neurotransmitters, and other activities that can easily be thrown out of whack by introducing new substances into the bloodstream, including heavy alcohol use.
Even though alcohol may give a temporary feeling of warmth and relaxation, drinking heavily once or more a week can interfere with the chemicals in the brain that are needed for good mental health. Thoughts, feelings, and actions, along with long-term mental health, may be negatively affected.
The Vicious Cycle of Alcohol and Mental Health
There is a vicious cycle of alcohol misuse associated with mental health. Alcohol abuse can:
- Impact brain functions
- Make stress harder to deal with
- Enhance anxiety and depression
- Increased risk of acting impulsively and recklessly
- Cause psychosis
- Lead to self-harm or even suicidal tendencies
- Result in alcohol dependence and alcoholism
A person who has a physical alcohol dependence may believe that they need to drink more to relieve common mental effects like stress, anxiety, and depression, thereby making these issues worse and creating an unending cycle of abuse.
Find out why alcohol makes some people angry here:
Alcohol and Depression
Alcohol causes many chemical reactions in the brain that lead to depression, especially in people who regularly drink and are prone to issues with mood regulation. Heavy drinking is linked to depression, and quitting drinking can improve overall mood. It is also not safe to drink alcohol while on medications for depression, and in some cases, they can increase the risk of relapse in a person who has quit drinking or is trying to cut back.
Alcohol and Anxiety
A person with an anxiety disorder may turn to drink to “relax” them, but this is only a temporary fix to a long-term underlying issue. Drinking masks the anxiety and causes the person to rely on drinking to make it go away, which will, over time, lead to their developing a physical dependence on alcohol which can lead to addiction.
Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder at WhiteSands
The best way to break the cycle of abuse and end alcohol use disorder is by entering a professional rehab facility. You should not suddenly stop drinking cold turkey, especially if the alcohol is combined with drug abuse, as the withdrawal effects can become dangerous.
WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab has a safe medical detox program for alcoholism in our comfortable residential detox center, providing full-time medical oversight, medications to help you deal with uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, therapy, and counseling. You may also join group therapy as you detox if you wish, but this is not required.
Our detox treatment programs are followed by inpatient and outpatient rehab, treating alcohol addiction using holistic, whole-person methodologies that focus on the physical symptoms of addiction and employ mental treatments, including dual diagnosis and cognitive behavioral therapy.
You will learn new recovery skills to help you deal with the psychological effects of addiction and substance abuse. These will last you a lifetime as you gain a new outlook on life, digging deep to find and heal the underlying causes of your addiction.
There is also the option of outpatient rehab for WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab patients. Outpatient rehab is recommended to many people who either:
- Cannot leave their home for a full 30 to 90-day residential program and have a stable, sober place to live with strong support and strong motivation in recovery
- Have completed an inpatient rehab program and would like continued professional support from our team as they transition back to their everyday life
Our outpatient rehab programs for addiction treatment include our:
- Partial hospitalization program: the PHP is a day/night program of full days of treatment 5-6 days/week for 10 to 20 days while living within our residences or at home
- Intensive outpatient program: the IOP is three hours of groups three days/evenings per week for 30 to 90 days, with daily check-ins from a life coach for 90 days, and the option to meet with a one-on-one therapist or other treatment as needed
- Outpatient program: flexible scheduled follow-up appointments, medical appointments, and therapy appointments, with the option of attending groups
Our rehab programs at WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab are tailored to best suit your needs as you rehabilitate from alcohol consumption. These programs help heal the brain, improve your health and well-being, allow patients to control psychiatric disorders, and deal with depressive disorder and negative emotions. We will help you decide which program is right for you, and we will always be there for you with support and a sober community you can lean on. Contact us today to learn more about our luxury inpatient treatments and flexible outpatient treatments for alcohol use disorder. We can help you quit and be there for you as long as you need us.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.