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Alcohol Use Disorder

Aside from cigarette smoking, alcohol use disorder (AUD) is the most frequently encountered problem associated with addiction and severe medical/mental health problems.  Whereas excess alcohol intake can be insidious and “sneak up on you,” it can have profound effects from the toxicity of “binge” drinking (that can include death), to a dangerous withdrawal syndrome and chronic problems that impair health & wellness on a large scale. This is the reason that IAC Associates is led by a physician, who is fellowship trained in addiction medicine and family medicine. In addition, our clinical therapist and social worker collaborate with the physician to take care of the mental, emotional, and social health of the patient. Patients remain at home and work while incorporating alcohol treatment into their daily lives in the greater Memphis and Jackson TN areas.

However, people often say to themselves, “I have this drinking problem under control.”  It is not so simple to come to that conclusion.  As with other definitions of addiction or substance/alcohol use disorder (SUD), the key issue is whether consuming alcohol continues even after the individual realizes it impairs performing daily activities and those around her/him warn that function is clearly impaired.  In other words, drinking continues at a level that is harmful to the person.  Some examples that point to consumption of alcohol reaching a level that may be characterized by AUD include (adapted from NIAAA website):

  • Drinking has led to problems at work or school, or compromised care of family & friends.
  • Continued drinking led you to give up or curtail activities that were important to you.
  • Following a period of no alcohol, you experienced withdrawal symptoms like shakiness/tremors, restlessness, irritability, anxiety, sleep disturbance, nausea, sweating and these symptoms that were relieved by drinking alcohol.

Addiction creates physical dependence on the drug, creating compulsive seeking and craving when the drug is available, and agonies of withdrawal when it is not. Science has recently learned much more about the chronic disease of addiction, which changes the person’s brain chemistry in a way that he/she cannot understand or control.

Many times, people with AUD also have experimented with a range of substances and can have Substance Use Disorder (SUD) at the same time.  That is the reason why we treat all types of addiction.  This is not an unusual situation and should not dissuade you seeking alcohol treatment. The only reason NOT to enter treatment is that you do not want to change your life.  Your motivation to change behavior is the key element of any successful treatment. Only about 10% of patients with AUD who could benefit from treatment actually engage in alcohol treatment or rehab.  There are many reasons for that statistic, including lack of access to informed treatment and patients not feeling ready to undergo treatment.

“Dry January” – it’s a Trend for the New Year!  View video:  Dry January Trend 

Treatment

Just like diabetes, heart disease, and other progressive, chronic conditions, addiction must be diagnosed and treated with both a short term and long-term treatment plan. IAC is ready to help you on your journey to treatment and recovery from AUD when you are ready to start.  It begins with a visit to our Memphis TN clinic. Your team will complete an assessment of your physical and mental health, as well as social situations that may be contributing to continued alcohol consumption.  The actual treatment plan is developed collaboratively with the patient to be certain that the patient’s goals are defining short-term treatment (preventing further damage to the human body from alcohol) and long-term recovery (allowing the individual to regain control over her/his life).

Your team of medical professionals, therapists, and social workers are seasoned experts in the field of addiction medicine and will help you devise a plan for your durable recovery at home. You can remain at home and work while incorporating alcohol treatment into your daily life in the greater Memphis area.  

  • Your physicians will work with you on your physical health, withdrawal symptoms, medication assisted therapy, and manage your overall plan of care.  
  • Your therapist will work with you on behavioral treatments that may include motivational enhancement therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and contingency management, as well as family-based treatments. 
  • Your social worker will help identify social issues that interfere with your desire to change your life. These issues will be explored and a plan made to address each of them.  We especially focus of housing, workforce preparedness/job placement, family and legal issues, transportation, and benefits eligibility.
  • Your social worker will help identify and carefully select with you the appropriate peer support groups, 12-step programs, online chat rooms, and/or other approaches to help sustain a path to a durable recovery. 

Risk if Left Untreated

The complications of continued use/abuse of alcohol without treatment can be severe.  For example, alcohol-induced liver disease leads to death of many liver cells compromising the ability of the liver to detoxify substances in the bloodstream. At the end-stage, this is called cirrhosis and has implications for virtually every organ system in the body, as the liver is critical for maintaining normal functioning of a range of cells (i.e. nerve, kidney, gastrointestinal, heart).

The only factor needed to begin treatment is your motivation to want to change your situation and seize control of your future. We are here to assist you.

Located in Bartlett TN and Jackson TN, we serve the entire Memphis and Jackson areas, including Bartlett, Cordova, Lakeland, Oakland, Eads, Arlington, Raleigh, Germantown, Collierville, Millington, Munford, Atoka, Jackson, Covington, Brownsville, Somerville, Bolivar, Selmer, Henderson, Lexington, Huntingdon, McKenzie, Medina, Trenton, Humboldt, Milan, Martin, Dyersburg, Newbern, Ripley, Camden, Paris, Union City, Southaven MS, Olive Branch MS, Hernando, MS, Corinth, MS, West Memphis AR, Marion AR and all surrounding areas.

 

Please note that the information mentioned above (and elsewhere on this website) is meant to provide general education, and is not intended, and should not be used, to make treatment decision for any particular person. All therapeutic decisions should be made only after consultation with the care team at IAC or other capable providers, that will take into account the patient’s specific circumstances.  Healthcare decisions made without such consultation can be harmful or even fatal.  Any use of information on this site constitutes your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.