Alcoholism In the Young Adult

Alcoholism in the young adult is possible no matter what kind of background they come from– rich, poor, abusive, not abusive, functional, dysfunctional, it doesn’t matter. The disease of alcoholism is a disease of the mind which can be genetic. Alcoholism in the young adult is very difficult to deal with, especially for the families. It is also hard for the young adult to identify as an alcoholic. Most of their peers are drinking and the behavior of an alcoholic, such as drinking until you pass out, throwing up or falling over while drunk seems somewhat socially acceptable as this behavior is commonly exhibited by most young adults when they happen to abuse alcohol. Usually alcoholism in the young adult begins with the typical teenage partying stage.  While most people grow up and move into the next phase of life, the young alcoholic will remain in a stage of perpetual partying (if they are lucky and don’t end up dying or going to jail.)  Often, the young alcoholic won’t mature properly, and instead retains childish behavior patterns and a stunted state of mind because their disease (drinking) prevents them from achieving proper emotional growth. They discovered alcohol makes them feel better equipped when encountering uncomfortable situations such as social anxieties, depression, stress, etc.

Drinking becomes a learned behavior and the solution to problems. The young alcoholic becomes dependent on alcohol, usually as a means of coping with life’s difficulties, including those which can appear insurmountable to the young adult who is not chemically dependent.

One of the major reinforcements surrounding alcoholism in the young adult is the enabling behavior exhibited by their families.  Oftentimes family members unwittingly enable alcoholism in the young adult without even being aware. No matter how much a parent or guardian loves their child they still might be enabling. Young alcoholics tend to be very manipulative. It is very hard dealing with a alcoholism in the young adult and it is common for parents to blame themselves and internally ask what they might have done differently in the child’s life in order to have prevented the alcoholism.  No matter what decisions a parent makes for raising their child, it’s unlikely they could have prevented alcoholism in the young adult. It is common for the young adult and parent to think that their child will grow out of the drinking phase; ergo family members unknowingly continue to enable them. It is also common for a parent to be in denial of alcoholism in the young adult, which also leads to enabling. Unfortunately, the disease only progresses while further detrimental consequences (i.e. car accidents, D.U.I.s, death, rape, injuries, and assaults) ensue.

Although all of these things sound like a nightmare, the young adult alcoholic will still not be able to stop drinking on their own, no matter how hard they try or want to. Emotionally, alcoholism in the young adult causes has poor self-esteem and will ask themselves, “Why can’t I stop when I know all of these dreadful consequences can happen”?  The problem lies in that the alcoholic young adult cannot stop drinking on their own volition. The alcoholic brain’s function renders it virtually impossible to quit unless they surrender and agree to receive help.  The following personal story illustrates the onset of alcoholism in the young adult, culminating in a triumphant end revealing tools and solutions for managing the chronic illness.

A personal Testimony

I was born December 29th 1987 in Sacramento California. I was the third child and I had two older sisters. Two years later my little brother was born.  I lived in a nice neighborhood and I had wonderful parents. I was a somewhat sneaky kid who was ‘always up to something’ as my dad would say. I also ate a ton of candy and I remember shoplifting candy as a really young kid. I had strange behavior from day 1.  I started taking ballet when I was three and I loved it. We all went to a private school and I remember enjoying school because I had a lot of friends, but this was also where my first insecurities began. I struggled in reading and I remember that reading did not come as easy to me as it did to the rest of the kids in my class. As the years went on I continued to do ballet and in the second grade I was diagnosed with a learning disability. I remember feeling really weird about going to the psychologist’s office and having to take all these strange tests. I felt like I was different from everyone else. With each new school year I had to present my teachers with a letter outlining the diagnosis of my learning disability. It made me feel really weird, but I knew giving that letter would help the teacher understand me better. I always felt as if I wasn’t smart or capable of much when it came to schoolwork. Although studies weren’t my forte, I was talented in ballet; being in ballet class boosted my self-esteem because I felt like I was good at something and it was incredibly fun. I had a lot of familial support when it came to my struggles in school. I was very close with my family and I had a good deal of fun growing up with my siblings.  I was very blessed to have such an idyllic childhood. My family and I moved to Carmichael, a suburb of Sacramento, because we built a brand new house there on the American River. By that time I was just about to start 7th grade.

My next-door neighbor, who was like a brother to me, was going to start middle school at a public school in the neighborhood. I told my mom I wished to go to public school because I was tired of how hard private school was for me. I figured public schoolwork would be easier. In the fall, I decided to quit ballet after 9 years. Pretty much from here it all went down hill. I remember starting public school and I only knew my neighbor. I remember feeling incredibly scared and I didn’t quite know how to make friends yet. I just remember those first few weeks of 7th grade hating it a lot. Eventually I starting making friends and became pretty well known in the school. The kids admired my nice clothing so I became well known for being ‘rich.’ The guys showed interest in me and I enjoyed that attention even though it wasn’t healthy attention. I remember loving, but at the same time hating, middle school because it was just a really awkward phase.  I got bad grades, was suspended a lot and forced to attend Saturday schools. I was in detention at least 3 days a week. I remember being really curious about weed so I bought some at school one day. I tried smoking it with some friends, but I didn’t do it right so I didn’t really get high.

I started high school and I went to the school that all the kids from my middle school went to. It was known as a big party school and that sounded great to me. The same behavior went on for me only it went to the next level because I started smoking weed almost everyday after school or I would leave school with older kids at lunch and get high. I became absolutely obsessed with pot. I became extremely close with my oldest sister and we began smoking pot together a lot. We became partners in crime. I started to become really curious what it was like to be drunk. My first drink was when I was 15 after a dance. I remember leaving the dance early because I wasn’t having fun since I didn’t like my date. I remember really wanting to drink because I was frustrated and felt like I needed to have some fun. I started chugging some alcohol and the feeling started to kick in.

I can’t even describe in words how much I loved how it made me feel. I couldn’t stop smiling. I just remember repeating, over and over, “I love this I love this I love this” It made me not care about anything in life and it completely relaxed me. It turned off all of those thoughts that I don’t like thinking in my head and just made me feel free. I ended up drinking till I blacked out and my friends came and picked me up. I remember throwing up but luckily my friends took care of me. From that day forward alcohol was my obsession. I started drinking and partying every weekend with my sister. I met my first boyfriend, Joey, at one of the house parties my sister and I threw. He was four years older than me and he and I became inseparable. He loved to drink as much as I did and we would get drunk together all the time, even during the day.  My drinking just got worse and worse and my dad and I were always fighting.

In 11th grade I unintentionally lost 15 pounds. I didn’t even realize it until my mom noticed and put me on the scale. I was always a thin girl so 15 pounds was very noticeable. I was about 100 pounds and I am 5’6”. I remember getting lots of attention about my weight and I liked it. My mom took me to the doctor and I had tests done. I was even put under anesthesia for a colonoscopy and a tube down my throat, but everything came back normal. I remember the day I came out of the hospital I begged my dad to let me go out that night. He wouldn’t let me because I was still recovering from being put under anesthesia, but I needed to drink so badly that I begged and begged. He said, “No” and I remember being extremely frustrated. I was still very pale and weak, but I didn’t care; I wanted to go out drinking. At the time it made no sense to me that my dad wouldn’t let me, but now I look back and realize how bad my disease of alcoholism was. Later on I became curious about cocaine. My sister came home to visit from college and I did my first line with her. I fell in love.

My drinking really progressed because alcohol and cocaine together felt amazing. One night my parents thought I was at a tutoring session, but really I was out snorting cocaine with some friends on a school night!  Later that night we all went home and the next morning I found out that the guy I was driving around and doing coke with had crashed his car into a tree on his way home and died. I didn’t talk to anyone when I heard because I thought I could get in trouble. I pretended for a long time that his death didn’t bother me but it did. My drinking got worse and a few weekends later a friend and I were pulled over by the cops because we were both drunk.  The cops said we were swerving into incoming traffic and she was arrested for DUI. My parents came and picked me up and got me out of any legal charges. I got lucky. I still couldn’t stop drinking even after seeing my friend die from it a few weeks before. That made me feel really bad about myself because I didn’t realize how sick I was.

Summer came and I was on cocaine every single day. I didn’t want to be with Joey anymore because all I cared about was coke and alcohol. I broke up with him and it was hard but I didn’t feel the pain of the break up because I was always drunk. I lost even more weight and I gained the reputation of a cokehead at school. I used to pretend it didn’t bother me, but deep down I knew it did. Cocaine brought my drinking to the next level. I loved how I could drink more if I snorted coke. That fall I was working for my dad at his office part-time after school so I had lots of money to support my habit. I woke up, did lines, and went to school; I remember doing lines and taking shots of vodka in the bathroom.

I knew I had a problem and I also suspected I was an alcoholic because ever since the first drink that I had, I loved it too much. I knew I would have to deal with it someday, but I wasn’t yet ready.  Senior year I was drunk or high everyday and I was fighting with my dad every weekend about being able to go out. I remember humiliating myself every weekend, being drunk at parties, having unprotected sex, losing my wallet or purse, and getting really sick the next day. It wasn’t just a normal hangover, it was like having the flu because of the amount of liquor I would drink. I still couldn’t stop drinking despite all the horrible things that were happening. Again, this made me feel really bad about myself because I thought it was my fault. Somehow I was barely able to graduate; I even remember drinking before the ceremony by myself.  Most of my drinking at this point was by myself.

That summer my parents decided I should move down to Irvine and move in with my sister and go to community college there. They thought if I stayed in Sacramento my life would only get worse. I thought it would be fun, but it wasn’t. My drinking progressed; I was buying big bottles of vodka and drinking them by myself in my room and at this point I wasn’t even going out partying. On Halloween weekend I decided to drive to Santa Barbara with one of my friends who lived in LA. Naturally, I got really drunk and I ended up waking up completely naked in a room full of guys I didn’t know. I got dressed and ran out of the house and tried to forget about it. I didn’t tell anyone about it because I thought it was my fault for getting so drunk.  I couldn’t remember anything at all and it was the worst black-out experience I’d ever had. I went out, intoxicated, one night a few weeks later and ended up hitting a pole and denting my car.

My drinking got worse and I ended up moving back to Sacramento because I was having panic attacks. I saw a psychiatrist, was diagnosed with panic disorder and my doctor was prescribed me Xanax. I was taking 5-10 Xanax a day and drinking. I couldn’t stop drinking and I started to go on 3 day drinking binges. My mom sent me to a drug and alcohol doctor and I was put into an outpatient rehab center. I didn’t take it seriously and I still drank. I lied to my family and told them I was sober. After I got really tired of everything and I was able to give up alcohol for 5 months, I was telling everyone I was “sober” but I was popping Xanax,Vicodin and Percocets. I hit a bad depression to where I couldn’t get out of bed or eat. I weighed 93 pounds so my doctor put me back on antidepressants. I started to feel better, but still not right.

I started drinking again and taking lots of prescription drugs. I was going on the 3 day drinking binges and that time of my life is like a blur to me. I just remember feeling like a walking zombie. My sister Nora came home from college that spring and I happened to be on one of my 3 day drinking binges and my family couldn’t find me. Once I got home I remember being so sick and my mom and sister had to carry me to my bed. I spent the next couple of days throwing up and my sister got on the phone with the Betty Ford Center; my parents and I flew down and checked me in. The Betty Ford Center was amazing, although kind of a blur to me. It took me a while to finally open up to my counselors there and I finally talked about being raped in Santa Barbara. I stayed 30 days and then went to Safe Harbor for aftercare. I wanted to go home, but I was willing to do whatever was suggested. Safe Harbor really saved my life. I met a myriad of young girls just like me who are the greatest friends I have ever had.

Safe Harbor taught me how to live in the real world sober and how to live and be a productive member of society. I was diagnosed Bipolar 2 disorder 6 months into my sobriety. I see an incredible psychiatrist and I’m properly medicated now. Now I’m a student at Orange Coast College and I’m living with sober friends. I now have goals and interests.  I never thought I would be where I am today or believe in myself but each day I stay sober the happier I get and the more comfortable I become in my own skin. It’s not always easy, but I know what to do when I am having a hard time and I can walk through my fears. I can now live a life beyond my wildest dreams and live up to my full potential in life! What a gift!

Signs of Alcoholism in Women

As alcoholics hardly ever admit their problem with alcohol and the signs of alcoholism in women can often be difficult to find, the disease of alcoholism can go untreated and multiple health problems can occur. Extreme alcohol use can cause exhaustion and short-term memory loss, as well as weakness and paralysis of the eye muscles. More seriously, however, are liver disorders, such as cirrhosis, which is the irreversible and progressive annihilation of liver tissue.

During college years it is very common if not habitual for students to consume alcohol on the weekends and sometimes during the week. Because alcohol is readily available and usually present at every college party, drinking can become the norm. Social drinking on the weekends is one thing, but many take it much farther than this. Some students look forward to these events to get belligerently intoxicated. When students get into the habit of abusing alcohol to get drunk on a consistent basis, a problem begins, and the signs of alcoholism in women can be seen.

Alcoholism can be defined as an addiction to the consumption to alcoholic beverages or the mental illness and compulsive behavior resulting from physical dependence of alcohol ( As there is a physical dependence in addiction to the compulsion within the brain, the signs of alcoholism in women can be difficult to see. What ultimately triggers the onset of alcoholism in the brain is debated; the fact of the matter is alcoholism is onset in terms of the drinker’s relationship with alcohol.

Signs of alcoholism in women can begin with the heavy use and abuse and dependence are the general labels used to explain consumption practices. Problems with drinking suggest the use of alcohol beyond the point where it causes physical, social or moral impairment and destruction to the individual. Abuse and dependence are defined as a preoccupation with the consumption of alcohol and a physical desire to consume alcohol. In addition to these signs of alcoholism in women and alcohol abuse in women, there are four specific symptoms:
1.    Craving: A strong need or urge to drink and a loss of control
2.    Physical Dependence: not being able to stop drinking once drinking has begun
3.    Withdrawal Symptoms: Nausea, sweating, shakiness or anxiety after stopped drinking
4.    Tolerance: the need to drink greater amounts of alcohol to feel drunk.
An alcoholics craving to consume alcohol can be as strong as a need like hunger, another sign of alcoholism in women. Because of this need, an alcoholic woman will continue to drink despite serious health and legal problems which can also be signs of alcoholism in women.

The signs of alcoholism in women listed above can also be applied to alcohol abuse in women, but abuse can lead to dependence and criteria set up by the CAGE questionnaire; a method to show the signs of alcoholism is women which can determine if an abuser is actually an alcoholic.

The physical and health signs of alcoholism in women are extensive and can be visible to friends and family, but most are detected by physicians. Because the signs of alcoholism in women and their symptoms are mainly overt, they can be easily recognized. Gastrointestinal problems are also cause by chronic alcohol abuse. Such problems include gastritis, which is damage to the stomach lining; pancreatic damage, which reduces the hormones hat regulate metabolism. Excessive drinking can lead to high blood pressure and damage the heart increasing the risk of heart failure or stroke. Alcohol is an addictive substance and it can be extremely difficult to break an addiction. However, there are treatment centers, such as Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women, set up to do just that.

Signs of alcoholism in women can include drinking more than 15 drinks a week for men or 12 drinks a week for women. Drinking alone is a single risk factor that can contribute to alcoholism. Other factors include the following:
1.    Age: People who start drinking in their teens are at a higher risk of alcoholism and alcohol abuse.
2.    Genetics and Family History: A person is more likely to develop alcoholism if their parents are alcoholic or abused alcohol.
3.    Emotional Disorders: Being severely depressed or having anxiety places one at a greater risk of abusing alcohol. Also, adults with ADHD may be more likely to become dependent or abusive.
Similar to the causes and signs of alcoholism in women, it is hard for doctors to decide which patients to monitor and test for alcoholism as some of the signs and symptoms could be because of other illnesses and it is rare that an alcoholic will be honest about how much alcohol they are actually consuming. Doctors may ask a series of questions about drinking habits in order to get an indication of amount of drinking. Blood tests that measure the size of red blood cells, which increase with long-term alcohol abuse.  Tests that show liver damage can also assist in diagnosing a patient with alcohol abuse. Because the signs of alcoholism in women cannot be easily discovered by medical tests, doctors often speak with family members or friends about the alcoholics drinking habits. The doctor needs to as others because alcoholics often deny the extent of their drinking.

The probability of addiction depends on the authority of parents, friends and other role models and at what age they began drinking alcohol.  A few tests that a person can perform are trying to avoid drinking out of habit and while bored and setting limitations on drinking before the day begin. It is important to establish activities separate from drinking as drinking with friends and drinking heavily can encourage alcohol abuse. According to Alcoholics Anonymous, there are different treatments available to help women with alcohol troubles and have the signs of alcoholism in women. Treatment includes assessment, intervention, an outpatient series or therapy and possibly an inpatient stay if the patient is a danger to herself. A housing treatment begins with detoxification and withdrawal. This period can last for to seven days and delirium tremens (DT’s) or withdrawal seizures may occur. After detox, emotional support is given. This consists of individual therapy and counseling, support from respective recovery groups, helping to combat active addiction and alcoholism. Most importantly, acceptance of the fact that one is addicted and unable to control their drinking is necessary for effective treatment. Support groups, therapy, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings can help women abstain from drinking and continue their lives sober. It is important to recognize the signs of alcoholism in women as soon as possible because of the possible mental and health complications so they can achieve treatment.

Causes of Alcoholism in Women

Society has a hard time understanding the causes of alcoholism in women and why women become addicted to drugs and how they affect the brain to necessitate obsessive-compulsive abuse. Society can view the causes of alcoholism in women in addiction as being morally deficient as drug and alcohol abuse is often seen as a social problem. Women often hear their friends and family members saying, “if they would just stop using drugs and drinking, their life will get better”… if only it were that easy for a woman active in her disease of addiction!

The causes of alcoholism in women are very complex and often underestimated, especially in women. The causes of alcoholism in women steps from the initial decision to start using drugs and drinking alcohol is voluntary, but over time the changes in the brain cause by repeated drug abuse can affect a woman’s self-control and ability to make sound decisions, and at the same time send intense impulses to take drugs an continue to drink. Because of the changes in the brain, a woman is addicted is challenged when trying to stop abusing drugs and alcohol.

There are many “so-called” causes of alcoholism in women. Psychological, social and genetic factors have been liked to the causes of alcoholism in women. The psychological argument is that many alcoholics feel a feeling of inferiority and inadequacy. Alcohol is thought to give them false courage needed to face life. They are not capable of feeling self-assured to function in real life. Another cause of alcoholism in women may include social factors. Many alcoholics start and begin moderately due to social or peer encouragement. They build up craving and requirement leading to increasing use. Eventually, the drinking advances beyond control. There is another factor to consider as a cause of alcoholism in women: genetics. According to studies, children of alcoholics tend to abuse alcohol themselves. Physiologically alcoholics are thought to be weak and predisposed and more likely to become alcoholics themselves. Children of alcoholic parents tend to be more likely to be alcoholics.

The effects of alcoholism range from direct physiological impact on the individual to a widespread effect on society. In The United States, on family in three is estimated to be affected in some way by a drinking problem. Alcoholism is an enormous public health problem. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences estimates that alcoholism and alcohol abuse in The United States cost society from $40 to $60 billion annually, due to lost production, health and medical care, motor vehicle accidents, violent crime, and social programs that respond to alcohol problems.

At Safe Harbor, the causes of alcoholism in women treatment is available that will help women overcome her powerful and destructive addictions and reclaim their life! Safe Harbor Addiction Treatment Center in California teaches women to live “life on life’s terms” without the use of a mind-altering substance.

Recovery from a substance at an addiction treatment center is a process involving a sequence of small steps where women gain control over their substance use and increase their confidence. To recover, women need to learn to believe in themselves, be prepared to struggle and be determined to reach their goals. This process of overcoming the causes of alcoholism in women takes time and support and preventing relapse or a return to substance use is the goal of our addiction treatment center. For a client to feel uncertain or hesitant about making this change is normal. Deciding to change is a big step and our addiction treatment center in California recognizes that this change and recovery is a process in overcoming the causes of alcoholism in women.

The initial exposure to an addiction treatment center to conquer the causes of alcoholism in women is an overwhelming experience for women active in addiction. Whether a woman attends an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meeting, a Detoxification facility or a psychiatric in-patient center, one unavoidable conclusion is true: Addiction is a horrible situation for any woman.

An inpatient/Residential addiction treatment center for women is a type of healing in which the patient is admitted to a facility, such as Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women, for an extended stay to treat the causes of alcoholism in women. Safe Harbor provides a structured environment for women in addiction, eliminating outside pressures and influences for the addict. Treatment includes individual and group therapy, nutritional counseling, vocational training, relapse prevention support, educational services and 12-step substance abuse programs. Women in addiction are immersed in the treatment routine of our facility reducing the incidence of patient’s access and use of drugs and alcohol. After the initial 90-day program, women may elect to enter into our sober living houses. This enables the recovering women to reintroduce themselves to mainstream society while still maintaining the structured living environment. Safe Harbor patients continue to attend a 12-step program to maintain their hard won recovery throughout their treatment.

Safe Harbor’s continuing care program is designed so that the recovering addict continues to live in a separate home outside of the treatment center, but attends treatment sessions or meetings with Safe Harbor staff. Instead of being totally removed from societal pressures and influences, clients in the continuing care program begin to be exposed to everyday stress, but learn to deal with life through numerous sessions at the facility. Drug Testing is used to ensure that clients are not continuing to use while enrolled in the continuing care program. Our successful aftercare program assists the women in recovery with everyday life situations while in early recovery, and to continue to work in relapse prevention to maintain their awareness of potential relapse trigger issues.

Relapse prevention groups focus on particular stages achieved by recovering addicts as they progress toward sobriety. The first stage is a motivational group to help participants move toward involvement with treatment and a readiness to change. The goals of this group are to help women assess involvement with substance use, consequences of previous use, motivation for change and the development o a plan to begin to change. The group’s purpose is to encourage each participant to begin self-evaluation, aided by the group leader’s active involvement in providing feedback and helping the women to interact.

Alcohol Abuse And Women

Alcohol abuse and women has many damaging results physically, mentally and socially. In truth, alcoholism and alcohol abuse and women is a sickness. Alcohol abuse and women is a very dangerous condition in that it can cause many problems in a person’s life and affect many aspects of their lifestyle. Alcoholism and/or alcohol abuse somehow have an effect on every persons life; through a friend, mother or father, brother or sister or even personal experience. Alcohol abuse and women, as a medical diagnosis, refers to a pattern of manners and actions exemplified by unnecessary alcohol use. Consumption like this could occur regularly, only on weekends or being intoxicated for at least two successive days, called binges. Characteristics of alcohol abuse and women can be troubles stopping or decreasing the quantity of alcohol and troubles in social and work-related role performance.

Alcohol and substance use disorders are complicated illnesses that present unique threats to women’s health. Medical research is showing that women who abuse alcohol, tobacco and other drugs may develop addictions and substance-related health problems faster than men. Alcohol abuse and women is most common between the ages of 26 and 34. Women are more vulnerable to alcohol-related organ damage, trauma and interpersonal difficulties such as liver and brain damage, heart disease, breast cancer, violence and traffic crashes. With liver damage, women who abuse alcohol develop alcohol-induced liver disease in a shorter time period than men even if they consume less alcohol. Women are more likely to develop alcohol hepatitis and die from cirrhosis.

One of the common misconceptions is that alcoholics are people who drink often or drink daily. In actuality, a woman is an alcoholic when they can no longer control their drinking. There are also different types of alcoholism. Alcohol abuse and women may look like a woman drinking everyday as they think it makes them feel better and/or they use it to deal with everyday problems. In contrast, alcohol abuse and women may be alcoholics that drink periodically can be sober for long periods of time and are then enticed by alcohol and drinking which turns into an obsession. Once this temptation sets in, the alcoholic does not know how to personally control their drinking or stop themselves from drinking.

There are many communities that do not consider alcohol a drug, although it many, many was, it is. Like may other drug addicts, alcoholics can build a tolerance to their drug, alcohol, which makes them need more and more of their substance in order to get “high”. Alcohol abuse and women alcoholics build a tolerance to their drug, meaning that it takes increasingly greater amounts of alcohol to create the same feeling of euphoria. Alcohol abuse and women alcoholics can become physically and psychologically dependent. As it is stated, “Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic” and is a terminal disease. This disease of alcoholism is not something that a persona suffering from can easily wish away or just get rid of. An alcoholic who is in recovery can successfully sober up, but may always be tempted by alcohol. To refrain from alcohol is the first step to maintaining sobriety and is not easily done.

Many people who suffer from alcoholism and alcohol abuse and women may have family members who are also suffering from the disease of alcoholism. If a woman has parents that are alcoholics, the unfortunate truth is that woman is predisposed to becoming an alcoholic than a person who does not have alcoholism in their immediate family. For that reason, alcoholism is often described as a recessive trait and scientists are currently examining whether or not there is some type of an alcoholic gene that can cause some people to become alcoholics and others not.

In the early stages of drinking and alcohol abuse and women there are often signs of liver damage as chronic alcohol abuse can lead to alcoholism thus exacerbating the toll on the body. Young female alcoholics put their unborn children at risk for fetal alcohol syndrome and drinking alcohol before or during a person’s puberty can greatly upset the hormonal balance that is needed to develop bones, muscles and organs.

Alcohol is the most abused substance in The United States, whether the user is at the legal age or not. Alcohol is the third leading cause of death nationwide and would be first if alcohol-induced motor-vehicle deaths were included. One in every 13 adults abuse alcohol which computes into roughly 14 million Americans who combat some type of alcohol abuse (7% of these are labeled alcoholics). Alcohol abuse and women and an alcoholic is someone whose physical and/or emotional dependence on alcohol prevents them from leading a normal life. There are four phases of alcoholism. In the pre-alcoholic phase a person may seek out alcohol in social situations and feel the need to relax before anxiety provoking events. That person may soon display the signs of alcoholism in women. The person may drink alone, experience memory lapses or blackouts, gulp drinks and generally feel guilty about their drinking. The third phase is where a person looses control of their drinking. Friends, work, school and family come second to alcohol. The person is physically dependent on alcohol and need alcohol to function normally. It is at this phase that a person could be diagnosed an alcoholic. The fourth stage is a chronic phase is which drinking starts early in the day, and the person is usually seen in a drunken state. A certain tolerance to alcohol may become noticeable.

Fortunately there are things being done for those suffering from alcoholism and alcohol abuse. Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA, is a philosophically based organization with a strong emphasis on the idea that alcoholism is genetically based and that total alcohol abstinence is required for recovering alcoholics. Although AA is a program based on life-long commitment only 12% of participants remain in the program longer than three years. As well as AA, many hospitals now offer addiction medicine specialists who are available for teaching as well as consultations. Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women, located in Southern California, is an established place of treatment for women suffering from alcoholism, drug addiction and eating disorders.

Women Drug and Alcohol

Addicted Women: Drug and Alcohol Dependence and Treatment

What is addiction?

Addiction is a disease of the mind and body that causes an individual to use drugs and alcohol excessively, persisting even when the results are detrimental to this individual’s life.  The disease of addiction is characterized by obsession with alcohol or drug use, a preoccupation which causes an addict to resort to any means to get high, even those illegal and immoral.

Alcoholism and drug addiction are two forms of the same chronic disease, a disease which plagues 8% of American men and women.  Drug and alcohol dependence infects both the body and the psyche, making it a complex affliction.  Physically, addiction manifests as the body growing accustomed to the presence of drugs or alcohol, thus redefining its baseline to include being under the influence.  Once the body comes to associate its drugged state with normalcy, it requires more than the usual quantity of drugs to achieve a “high,” a phenomenon usually described as an increasing tolerance.  When the body becomes accustomed to the presence of a drug, it is also in danger of experiencing withdrawal symptoms if the drug ceases to be ingested.  These symptoms can vary from mild to extremely severe depending on the substance in question.

The psychological aspect of the disease is just as real as the physical component for addicted men and women.  Drug and alcohol dependency causes a process to occur in the brain that is similar to the one which occurs in the body.  The mind grows accustomed to the presence of a drug, which alters the way it processes information and functions.  For most addicts, the altered state of consciousness achieved through drug use feels like a quick fix for deeper mental and emotional problems.  Getting high and drunk may numb these mental and emotional pains temporarily, but it does not cure them.  Once the brain becomes accustomed to the presence of drugs and alcohol, these substances are not as efficient as numbing agents, thus prompting increased drug use to achieve the same effect.  When use is stopped entirely, the addict is bombarded with painful thoughts and emotions that have been waiting on the back burner for years, sometimes decades.

How is addiction different for women than it is for men?

For roughly 2.7 million American women, drug and alcohol abuse is routine, making women the fastest-growing group of substance abusers in the country.  Though the disease of addiction has an equally severe effect on men and women, drug and alcohol dependence affects women in physically, mentally, and circumstantially grave manners that men tend to escape.

In the most basic physical terms, women get drunk and high faster than men due to lower body weight.  With respect to alcohol, women are particularly disadvantaged. Because the female body produces lower levels of Alcohol Dehydrogenase, the enzyme that metabolizes alcohol, they reach a higher blood alcohol concentration than men after the consuming the same amount of alcohol (even when differences in body weight are accounted for).  Studies also show that women become addicted to alcohol and drugs more quickly than men, and that women are likely to experience alcohol-related diseases like cirrhosis of the liver at a younger age than men with comparable drinking histories.  When comparing the physical effects of addiction and alcoholism in men and women, drug and alcohol abuse undoubtedly leaves women with the short end of the stick.

Addiction also takes a psychological toll on the many women affected by the disease.  Though depression is often a side effect of addiction for both men and women, drug and alcohol abuse is more likely to cause severe depression in addicted women.  Low self esteem, a mental condition which can easily create a self-perpetuating cycle of destructive behavior, is also disproportionately experienced by female alcoholics and addicts.

Studies also report differences in the circumstances which led to alcoholism and addiction for men and women, drug and alcohol abuse presenting a welcome escape from family violence and incest for a large percentage of female addicts.  These tragic circumstances tend to repeat themselves in the adult lives of addicted women, who report extremely high incidence of physical and sexual abuse by romantic partners.

Rehabilitation for Women: Drug and Alcohol Treatment at Safe Harbor

Once alcohol and drug addicted women come to terms with the fact that they need help,  they face new obstacles in committing to treatment.  A profound social stigma against coming clean about addiction faces women, drug and alcohol abuse being viewed traditionally as a problem that affects men.  Domestic duties as wives, mothers and caregivers present barriers between women and the prospect of entering a treatment program.  It is important for these women to face the fact that they cannot live up to their responsibilities in any of these roles if they do not address their addiction first.

All of these distinct aspects of addiction as it affects women make clear the dire need for treatment geared specifically toward the female experience of addiction.  Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women in Costa Mesa, California is a rehabilitation program designed especially for women who want to leave alcohol and drugs behind them and begin a new and healthy life.

Through a multilateral treatment program, Safe Harbor works to help women heal the wounds inflicted by addiction, as well as the wounds that persist from long before the first drink or drug.  Structured therapeutic groups, individual counseling, life skills development and uplifting social activities allow women at Safe Harbor Treatment Center to subtract alcohol and drugs from their lives, while simultaneously adding new healthy and enriching elements.

For Safe Harbor’s courageous family of women, drug and alcohol dependence and the profound desire to overcome them are the fibers that hold the community together.  With alcohol and drugs out of their lives, many women who complete Safe Harbor’s 90-day treatment program choose to dedicate themselves to being of service to newly sober women in the community, making use of their natural talent as caregivers.  Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women understands the tumultuous lives that female alcoholics and addicts lead, and is dedicated to providing a safe haven in which these women can heal and rediscover themselves in sobriety.

Alcohol Rehab Los Angeles

Alcohol Rehab: Los Angeles and Orange County Rehabilitation

With an incredible stronghold of options in alcohol rehab, Los Angeles and its surrounding areas are very popular choices for rehabilitation amongst alcoholics.  The reputation LA has long held as a party city may hold true in some respects, but the counter-culture of healthy balanced living that has developed in contrast to it has given way to a vibrant recovery community.  When alcoholics begin to think about treatment options for alcohol rehab, Los Angeles and Orange Counties are often the first places they turn.

What is alcoholism?

Alcoholism can be defined as the pattern of continuing to consume alcohol even in the presence of drastic negative consequences.  Though this behavioral pattern is often presumed to be the result of poor judgement, it is actually the result of the mental aspect of the disease of alcoholism.  When coupled with the physical aspect of the disease, this mental condition motivates the alcoholic to protect his or her ability to drink above all else, even their most beloved family and friends.

Why can’t an alcoholic stop drinking?

The physical aspect of alcoholism is relatively straightforward.  When an individual consumes alcohol on a regular basis, the body becomes accustomed to its presence, adjusting its definition of normality to include the presence of alcohol.  This normalizing of intoxication is the cause of alcoholism’s two most notable physical characteristics – tolerance and withdrawal.  Increased tolerance to alcohol occurs when it is consumed regularly for a long period of time.  Essentially this means that people need to drink more and more to achieve the desired effect as their drinking careers progress.  Withdrawal is the physical shock the body of an alcoholic undergoes when alcohol abruptly ceases to be consumed.  With many alcoholics, withdrawal symptoms are severe (uncontrollable shaking is the most infamous of these symptoms).  Withdrawal from alcohol can be both painful and dangerous, and should take place in a medically supervised alcohol rehab.  Los Angeles and Orange County treatment programs begin with a medical detoxification, ensuring that alcoholics are safe and as comfortable as possible during this period.

The mental aspect of alcoholism is more complex, and less widely understood.  This component of the disease encompasses many topics, such as initial motivation to drink, desire to drink in spite of negative results, and mental consequences of prolonged alcohol consumption.  Though the psychological realm of the disease of alcoholism is much more difficult to parse out than the physical, it is the psychology of alcoholism that makes the disease truly unique.

Understanding the mental causes, symptoms and effects of alcoholism are crucial to treating it.  Any effective program of alcohol rehab (Los Angeles or elsewhere) will include psychological analysis and therapy.  Starting in childhood, alcoholics tend to be people who have a hard time coping with life.  They can usually identify feelings of insecurity, fear and anxiety over normal situations that troubled them before ever taking a drink.  In addition, they may suffer from depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder, or any number of other mental conditions.  Upon discovering alcohol, these individuals feel they have found a solution to their problem.  Alcohol seems at first to be the medicine that will make life more potable.

Unfortunately, the medicinal effects of alcohol are little more than a surface numbing of deep emotional and psychic pain.  When alcohol stops working as an anesthetic and begins to create its own wreckage, alcoholics find that their situation is worse than ever.  The pre-existing mental turmoil experienced by alcoholic individuals is compounded by the mental symptoms of alcohol abuse.  Severe depression, irrational thinking, destructive tendencies, paranoia and isolation are some of the common psychological effects of alcoholism.  These are all debilitating mental conditions that will quickly begin to lift as toxins leave system in alcohol rehab.  Los Angeles and Orange County treatment facilities assist mental rehabilitation through group and individual therapy, and calming activities like meditation and yoga.

The truly bewildering mental characteristic of alcoholism is the desire to continue drinking in spite of these mental consequences and many other practical losses.  Alcoholics lose jobs, driver’s licenses, homes, custody of their children, marriages, relationships with parents and friends, and still cannot stop drinking.  No other chronic disease affects its victims in a manner that causes them to refuse to acknowledge or treat it.  Alcoholics may lose essentially everything that once mattered them in life, but eventually they will reach a point where they can go on no longer.  They are terrified of life without alcohol, but life with alcohol has become so horrific that the unknown realm of sobriety seems like the only option.  At this point, there is much to gain from enrollment in alcohol rehab.  Los Angeles and Orange County alcohol treatment programs offer top-of-the line care that will support alcoholics during the difficult initial phase of recovery.

Alcohol rehab: Los Angeles and Orange County treatment programs

When seeking out the appropriate alcohol rehab, Los Angeles and Orange County programs are a wise place to begin.  The Southern California region is home to some of the nation’s finest options in alcohol rehab, Los Angeles and Orange Counties having the added benefit of the most vibrant 12-step community in the world.

For women who are looking for help with alcoholism, gender-specific treatment programs offer a safe and intimate environment in which true self-discovery and growth can occur.  Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women, located in Orange County, offers a multilateral program of structured therapeutic groups, individual therapy and counseling, 12-step meetings, life skills development and uplifting social activities.  Through these various avenues, female alcoholics have the opportunity to leave alcohol behind them as they move forward into a healthy new way of life.

What makes Safe Harbor a truly exceptional alcohol rehab – Los Angeles and Orange Counties’ premier women’s facility – is its outstanding sense of community.  Far from feeling like an institution, Safe Harbor has the energy of a family of women supporting one another in their common pursuit of a better life.  Any alcoholic woman looking for a second chance has a home waiting for her at Safe Harbor.

Alcohol Treatment Los Angeles


For those in search of alcohol treatment Los Angeles and its surrounding areas have much to offer in the way of recovery resources. Though Southern California’s reputation is seeped in excess, a new health-conscious culture has developed in the region over the last two decades, which has brought with it a plethora of rehabilitation programs. As the area has transformed into a vibrant recovery niche, the area has become more and more suited for alcohol treatment. Los Angeles and Orange Counties in particular have risen to the occasion, developing and fine-tuning a wide variety of treatment centers geared toward different populations. Any alcoholic looking for treatment is sure to find an ideally suited program in this geographical region.


Alcoholism is complex because it is both a mental and physical disease. Physically, addiction to alcohol is fairly straightforward. With regular consumption, the body grows accustomed to the presence of alcohol, readjusting its definition of normality to include this foreign substance. The physical systems of the body become used to operating under the influence of alcohol. Because the body’s baseline has come to include alcohol, more and more alcohol is required over time to produce the same affects. For this reason, alcoholics will often be capable of consuming a tremendous volume of alcohol without showing outward signs of inebriation. When alcohol ceases to enter an alcoholic’s physical systems, problems occur. Shaking, sweating, sleeplessness, and vomiting are only some of the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.  In severe cases, alcohol withdrawal may cause seizures and even death. Because of the dangerous nature of this unavoidable part of getting sober, it is crucial that alcoholics detoxify their bodies within the confines of alcohol treatment. Los Angeles rehabilitation facilities begin their programs with a detoxification period, followed by an extended therapeutic treatment plan.

More complex than the physical addiction is the psychological component of the disease of alcoholism. Many problem drinkers have a hard time admitting to themselves that their alcohol consumption has become an issue, even when others may find this fact to be obvious. It is the mental aspect of alcoholism that causes its victims to deny that they are affected by it. Because the disease is mentally synonymous to a belief that consuming poison is maintaining one’s health, alcoholics have profound fear of sobriety and often refuse alcohol treatment.  Los Angeles rehabilitation facilities, as some of the finest in the nation, design their programs to accommodate this psychological conundrum. Effective alcohol treatment, Los Angeles or elsewhere, emphasizes the psychological aspect of alcoholism and, in turn, the psychological aspect of recovery.

Most alcoholics are people who have a difficult time coping with the stress of everyday life. Unable to deal with seemingly innocuous situations when sober, these individuals tend to be people who struggled psychologically and emotionally as children and adolescents, before they began to abuse alcohol. Upon discovering that alcohol numbed the psychological and emotional pain that plagued them, drinking became a means of self-protection. For some of these people, the numbing effects of alcohol seemed to cure serious mental illnesses like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, and others.  Alcoholics of this variety rely on drinking in order to function on a day-to-day basis.  This explains why the prospect of leaving alcohol behind forever is terrifying to those plagued by alcoholism.

Unfortunately, while alcohol may act as an anesthetic in the short-term, it only worsens preexisting mental and emotional problems in the long-term.  This is where the poison analogy comes into play. Alcoholics believe that drinking is the only thing that keeps them functional, when in reality, alcohol abuse compounds other issues, resulting in a more serious level of debilitation than they started with.  The only way to ensure that alcoholic individuals receive the physical and mental care they need in early sobriety is to utilize a program of alcohol treatment.  Los Angeles and other Southern California locales offer rehabilitation programs that approach recovery from this bi-lateral perspective.


Once alcoholics reach the point when they can no longer deny the problems drinking is creating in their lives, they are in an ideal position to begin alcohol treatment. Los Angeles and Orange County offer an impressive array of treatment options, and the added benefits of warm weather and proximity to the ocean make them even more enticing as recovery destinations. Orange County, home to the largest active 12-step community in the world, is a particularly prime treatment locale. This area hosts more around-the-clock 12-step meetings of all varieties than any other geographical location.

When choosing a facility for alcohol treatment, Los Angeles and Orange County provide the option of a gender-specific treatment program. While alcoholism is a disease that can strike any person and does not discriminate based on gender, there is no doubt that the disease affects the two sexes in distinct ways. Female and male alcoholics show different emotional and mental symptoms, and they tend to incur different types of consequences as a result of their drinking. Female alcoholics, whose drinking often produces depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and codependency, benefit greatly from an intimate and nurturing environment in alcohol treatment.  Los Angeles and Orange County’s prime rehabilitation facilities for women offer this dynamic.

Women also tend to experience more verbal, physical, and sexual abuse as a result of their alcohol-centered lifestyles than men. An all-women’s treatment facility, like Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women in Costa Mesa, California, customizes each woman’s treatment plan to accommodate past trauma she may have experienced in her years of drinking. Safe Harbor’s treatment environment, a small community of warm-hearted women, ensures that those who are coming to terms with trauma feel safe and secure. Safe Harbor’s treatment program allows women from all backgrounds to come together as they strive to leave alcohol behind and create better lives for themselves.

If you, or someone you know is looking for a second chance at life, call us today. We are here to help.

Alcohol Rehab for Women


Within the United States alone, 14 million individuals abuse alcohol or suffer from alcoholism.  That comes out to one out of every thirteen adults.

The disease of alcoholism is widespread, and the epidemic is not hindered by the plethora of evidence that the misuse of alcohol can have devastating consequences. The physical results of heavy drinking include increased risk of certain cancers, cirrhosis of the liver, immune dysfunction, and brain damage.  The situational results are increased risk of tragic events like automobile-related deaths, homicides and suicides.

If alcoholism were a matter of logic or willpower, these facts would be more than enough to inspire alcoholics to control their drinking. Unfortunately, for an individual who suffers from the chronic disease of alcoholism, moderation does not exist.

If you believe that you or someone you love may be an alcoholic, do not let shame discourage you from approaching the problem as you would any other medical situation. Alcoholism is not universally understood, and misconceptions about its validity as a disease give rise to the social stigma it bears.  Do not mistake alcoholism for a moral inadequacy in yourself or your loved one.


Though traditionally viewed as men’s problems, alcoholism and alcohol abuse affect women equally, albeit with subtle differences. Approximately 200,000 women will lose their lives to alcohol-related illnesses this year, a number which dwarfs the death toll breast cancer will take by four times.

Women suffering from this deadly disease must not lose hope. Recovery is not easy, but it is accessible with the help of an organized program of alcohol rehab for women. Alcohol treatment programs that are gender-specific, like Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women in Costa Mesa, California, employ treatment methods that are ideally suited to women, and offer a safe and nurturing environment.  In alcohol rehab for women, residents focus not only on eliminating alcohol, but also on healing and regaining control of their lives. The self-worth gained in a program of this variety in combination with a restored sense of balance form a strong foundation on which to build long-term sobriety.

The disease of alcoholism, though equally serious for both genders, tends to manifest in different ways for women than men.  Women are more likely than men to suffer from depression and low self-esteem as a result of prolonged drinking.  They also tend to lose connection with any kind of social support network as their alcoholism progresses.  Alcoholic women often come to view themselves as victims, completely losing any sense of self.  An effective alcohol rehab for women takes these patterns into account, customizing the treatment program to specifically address the female alcoholic experience.


A residential alcohol rehab for women, like Safe Harbor Treatment Center, utilizes a multidisciplinary approach to recovery.  Women are supported medically and therapeutically through the process of detoxification and withdrawal, and are then encouraged to explore co-occurring issues that they may face, for example eating disorders, sex and love addiction or post-traumatic stress disorder.  Bringing these other problems into view in a safe all-female setting can relieve some of the shame and guilt that often causes women to drink.  An effective alcohol rehab for women will also work with each client to develop an aftercare plan, which often involves continuing on to an all-women sober living home.  Safe Harbor’s program offers a year of residence at one of five sober living houses following completion of the 90-day treatment program.

The core elements of treatment in alcohol rehab for women are detoxification, therapeutic interventions, and 12-step support groups.  The first leg of the journey is the initial detoxification period.  Alcohol rehab for women is medically supervised during this stage, as withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous and painful.  Medication may or may not be used to facilitate the detoxification process.  Once the body has been rid of alcohol and had a few days to re-acclimate itself to sobriety, the client can be relocated to the residential facility where the remaining treatment will take place.

As a top-of-the-line alcohol rehab for women, Safe Harbor Treatment Center employs a variety of therapeutic techniques that help clients work through their alcoholism as well as other related issues that may contribute to their alcohol abuse.  Group counseling constitutes a large portion of the curriculum at Safe Harbor, with groups focusing on topics like relapse prevention, experiential therapy, healthy relationships, body image and eating disorders.  Though some of the topics discussed in group therapy are universally applicable to any alcoholic, many important issues that arise are exclusive to women.  By keeping the treatment program gender-specific, Safe Harbor ensures that women feel comfortable engaging in these vulnerable discussions, which helps them release repressed emotions and thoughts that compound the problems created by alcoholism.

Individual therapy is also an essential component of a successful treatment program in alcohol rehab for women.  Safe Harbor Treatment Center offers women the chance to benefit from two types of therapy.  Psychotherapy focuses on exposing and working through core issues like post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and other psychological conditions.  Cognitive-behavioral therapy aims to identify irrational thought patterns and reform them into healthy ways of thinking.  Through the combination of these two distinct types of therapy, Safe Harbor provides each woman with a unique and individualized treatment program.

Crucial for maintaining a strong support system after treatment is completed, 12-step support groups allow residents in alcohol rehab for women an opportunity to extend their sobriety network.  Safe Harbor’s treatment program is 12-step based, encouraging women to maintain strong sobriety and spiritual satisfaction through reaching out to other alcoholics in need.  Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step groups provide an opportunity for women in Safe Harbor’s treatment program to find mentors.  Once they have gathered a little more time sober, they can come to these same meetings to become mentors.


Alcohol rehab for women allows female alcoholics an opportunity to regain control of their lives.  At Safe Harbor Treatment Center, women suffering from the disease of alcoholism can plant the seeds of change and nurture them as they grow into a vibrant recovery. Make the call for help today. We are here to help.