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The Effects of Alcohol Addiction and How to Get Help

Easily accessible, often encouraged in social settings, and promoted with sales and specials — alcohol is readily available almost everywhere we turn. But did you know that alcohol is the most used and abused substance in Canada? According to Statistics Canada, nearly one in five Canadians drinks excessively. Alcohol is part of daily life for many people, making alcohol addiction particularly challenging to overcome. Alcohol ruins lives and tears apart relationships and families, but it doesn’t have to. EHN Sandstone treatment centre in Calgary, Alberta has developed an evidence-based alcohol rehab program to help individuals and families who are suffering from the effects of alcoholism.

What are the negative effects of alcohol abuse?

Excessive and persistent drinking can lead to alcohol addiction and dependency. The long-term physical effects can include:

  • Organ damage and physiological problems
    • Alcohol abuse interferes with sleep, can damage most organs, including the heart, liver, and pancreas, and can cause gastrointestinal problems, issues with blood clotting, and poor bone health.
  • Changes in brain function
    • Because excessive drinking can interfere with your brain’s ability to release dopamine, alcohol may cause or worsen mental health problems like depression and anxiety. Heavy drinking can also negatively affect memory, learning, coordination, and problem-solving skills.
  • Impaired breathing
    • Because alcohol depresses the central nervous system, drinking in excess can slow down breathing to dangerous levels. This can result in loss of consciousness, brain damage, or even death.
  • Alcohol poisoning
    • Heavy drinking can lead to alcohol poisoning, a potentially life-threatening condition. Signs of alcohol poisoning include vomiting, loss of consciousness, slowed breathing, and slowed heart rate.

Because alcohol impairs motor skills, alcohol consumption is a leading cause of vehicle accidents. Alcohol also reduces inhibitions, making people more likely to engage in risky behaviours that can put them in harm’s way.

Alcoholism also affects the friends and family of the person suffering from the addiction. Relationships may suffer due to distrust, worry, fear, or even violence. Family members often blame themselves for a loved one’s addiction. Research shows that children of people with mental health or substance use disorders are at risk of depression and addiction themselves.

Treating alcohol addiction

At EHN Sandstone, we don’t just help our patients achieve sobriety. We treat alcohol use disorder, addiction, and any underlying mental health conditions to help our patients achieve lifelong recovery.

Our evidence-based approach includes detox, medication management, individual and group counselling with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and dialectic behavioural therapy (DBT), educational lectures, mindfulness, and physical exercise to address each patient’s physical, mental, and social wellbeing. Our highly trained team of medical experts who specialize in alcohol use and addiction – including doctors, nurses, and psychiatrists – build the foundation of each patient’s individualized therapy program. Every patient is also assigned a primary counsellor who will help them explore past traumas to uncover the root of the addiction.

We provide our patients with the support they need to stay sober long after leaving their inpatient program. We continually assess each patient’s progress and adjust our approach throughout treatment as needed. Our alcohol treatment programs are both comprehensive and immersive. While in rehab, patients learn important skills through evidence-based therapies, and heal with fellow patients in a supportive community.

When treatment has been completed, patients are provided with a home support system to help with relapse prevention. Loved ones can participate in our Family Program to learn how to help sustain the recovery progress, and aftercare is critical to a successful transition back home and into the community. Our alcohol addiction treatment program comes with one year of aftercare and includes access to group therapy sessions in person at any EHN location, or online. Our patients also have access to a thriving recovery community of EHN alumni to help them feel connected to a like minded community long after they’ve left treatment.

If you or a loved one are in need of alcohol addiction treatment, we’re here to help. Call us today at 587-350-6818.

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