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Alcohol Addiction in Mississippi

Alcohol addiction is Mississippi has been steadily increasing over the past few years leading to over 4000 residents seeking professional help for their addiction each year.  Alcohol addiction is the physical, mental or emotional dependence on alcohol in order to function normally on a day-to-day basis. Addiction should not be confused with alcohol abuse where a person will occasionally drink more than they intend or binge drink while at social events or on weekends. Alcohol addiction, or alcoholism, refers to a condition where the person requires alcohol every day to prevent withdrawal symptoms, and the individual cannot stop drinking even though doing so has negative consequences.  Alcohol addiction in Mississippi is a growing problem, and underage drinking is becoming a particular concern.

Addiction is classed as a chronic disease that alters a person’s brain chemistry causing them to engage in drug or alcohol-seeking behavior that may seem unusual or out of character. Many addicts report uncontrollable cravings for addictive substances that often take priority over family or work responsibilities. Even after an alcoholic makes the decision to become sober, he cannot simply stop drinking as this could lead to a potentially life-threatening condition known as alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Professional rehabilitation treatment that begins with a supervised detox is the safest and most effective method of overcoming alcohol addiction.

 

How Does Alcohol Addition Develop?

Most people that consume alcohol do not intend to become addicted. Experimentation with alcohol often happens during adolescence either due to peer pressure or curiosity. This can then evolve into regular use where a person will drink at social events, on weekends, or at home during mealtimes. The vast majority of people will continue to regularly use alcohol without any problems or complications. However, a minority will engage in what is referred to as alcohol abuse or problem use where they drink large amounts of alcohol and become extremely intoxicated. Those that abuse alcohol often feel shame or embarrassment regarding their drinking and will engage in risky or harmful behavior when drunk. They may also experience ‘blackouts’ where they do not remember what they did while intoxicated. Regular abuse of alcohol can quickly lead to addiction if some sort of intervention does not take place.

Signs of Alcohol Addiction

Being able to recognize the signs of alcohol addiction is important in order to know when professional help is needed to stop drinking. The main signs of alcohol addiction include:

  • Being unable to stop drinking even if the person wants to
  • An inability to control the amount of alcohol consumed
  • Developing a tolerance and having to consume larger amounts of alcohol in order to feel an effect
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit such as shaking, sweating, anxiety, nausea, irritability and hallucinations
  • Putting alcohol consumption above other responsibilities such as work, family, friends, social activities
  • Avoiding places where alcohol cannot be consumed
  • Engaging in dangerous behavior such as driving a car, taking care of children or operating machinery while drunk

Alcohol Content Of Different Beverages

The National Institute on Drug Abuse recommends that women should consume no more than one standard drink per day and men should limit themselves to only two. However, there is often a lot of confusion over what constitutes a standard drink. The alcoholic content of certain beers or wines can vary dramatically, and the amount of liquid in the glass does not necessarily correspond to the amount of alcohol it contains. A few examples of a standard drink include:

  • 12oz of regular strength beer such as Heineken, Coors or Budweiser
  • 5oz of wine containing 12% alcohol such as sauvignon blanc or red Bordeaux
  • 1.5oz of a spirit such as vodka, gin, whiskey or rum

 

It is important to pay attention to the alcoholic content of certain beverages such as malt liquor or dessert wines as they are often higher than standard drinks.

Alcohol Addiction In Mississippi

Widespread poverty combined with a thriving university culture have contributed to alcohol addiction in Mississippi. According to Mississippi Department of Mental Health, 36.4% of addiction treatment admissions were for alcoholism. The Behavioral Surveillance Risk Factor System reports that 4.9% of men class themselves as heavy drinkers compared to 2.35% of women. Underage drinking is extremely common in Mississippi with 14.2% of students reporting having engaged in binge drinking sometime in the last year according to the Mississippi Department of Mental Health Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

Why Is Alcohol Addiction Dangerous?

Long-term addiction to alcohol can lead to anemia, heart disease, cirrhosis of the liver, dementia and increased risk of stroke. Even short-term drinking can increase a person’s chances of depression and high blood pressure. Alcohol also suppresses the immune system leaving a person vulnerable to infectious diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and HIV. Those that have consumed a large amount of alcohol are also more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as drunk driving, unprotected sex or physical altercations. Acute alcohol poisoning can occur after a person has consumed a large amount of alcohol that the body is unable to cope with. Alcohol poisoning can lead to dehydration, brain damage, hypothermia, seizures and even death.

What Happens During Alcohol Addiction Treatment?

Rehabilitation for alcohol addiction in Mississippi begins with a medically supervised detox to help patients safely detox from alcohol. A physician may prescribe certain medications to make withdrawal symptoms easier to manage, and patients will be under 24-hour supervision to ensure they are not at risk of suffering a seizure or other serious health complications. After safely withdrawing from alcohol, patients undergo intensive counselling and therapy sessions to learn how to deal with cravings. An aftercare plan that includes local support groups such as AA is also an essential part of addiction treatment to avoid future relapse.

If you are worried about your alcohol consumption or believe that you may have an addiction, then it is important to contact your nearest drug and alcohol treatment center as soon as possible. Attempting to quit alcohol without professional help can be dangerous and increases the likelihood of relapse. Professional rehabilitation treatment for alcohol addiction in Mississippi can help you reclaim your life and learn how to function without the use of harmful and addictive substances.