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Articles of Interest

Understanding Alcohol Abuse

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Services Administration (SAMHSA), alcohol is the most commonly used and misused substance in the United States. More than 15 million Americans struggle with an alcohol use disorder.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines alcohol use disorder as “a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using.”

The exact cause of alcohol use disorder is unknown, but there are risk factors that may increase the likelihood that someone could develop this disease. Known risk factors include having:

  • More than 15 drinks per week if you’re male
  • More than 12 drinks per week if you’re female
  • More than 5 drinks per day at least once a week (binge drinking)
  • A parent with an alcohol use disorder
  • A mental health issue

An individual may be at a greater risk for alcohol use disorder if he/she:

  • Is a young adult experiencing peer pressure
  • Has low self-esteem
  • Experiences a high level of stress
  • Lives in a family or culture where alcohol use is common and accepted
  • Has a close relative with an alcohol use disorder

Alcohol use disorder manifests itself in a variety of ways. Some of the symptoms of alcohol abuse include:

  • Being unable to control one’s level of alcohol use
  • Declining to engage in social activities or hobbies that used to be of interest
  • Wanting to stop or decrease drinking but not being able to
  • Devoting a significant amount of time and/or resources to drinking
  • Developing a tolerance for alcohol
  • Experiencing alcohol cravings when not drinking
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not drinking
  • Facing problems at work, home, or school because of alcohol use
  • Having to drink to address withdrawal symptoms
  • Continuing to use alcohol despite issues it causes in different areas of life

While some people are able to recognize the signs of their alcohol use disorder and recover without formal treatment, this is generally not the case. If you or a loved one are drinking too much alcohol or drinking is causing you or them problems, it is time to seek treatment for alcohol use disorder.

For more than 30 years, Penn Foundation has partnered with individuals and families to break the devastating cycle of alcohol addiction. Our Recovery Center offers comprehensive, forward-thinking treatment that is individualized to each client’s situation. We offer inpatient treatment options for those who need a safe, supportive environment to recover from their alcohol dependence. Through our outpatient services, which can include individual, group, and/or family counseling, we seek to foster changes in attitude and lifestyle that minimize the risk of relapse..

Recently, we have been able to expand our treatment options with the opening of the L. Ruby Horwood Center in Sellersville. We are now offering specialized alcohol use treatment services, including outpatient counseling and intensive outpatient services.

“By developing an alcohol-specific treatment program, we are able to offer distinct services designed to address the unique needs of this population, which are usually very different than those struggling with an opioid addiction,” says Dr. Chris Squillaro, Penn Foundation’s Medical Director. “This will result in a better experience, and better outcomes, for both populations.”

If you believe that you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol use disorder, take the first step toward recovery and contact us at 215-257-9999 or rchelp@pennfoundation.org.