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Kentucky Alcohol Addiction


The most commonly abused substance in the United States is not marijuana, heroin, cocaine, or any other illegal drug. The most abused substance is alcohol, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD). Kentucky alcohol addiction in Kentucky causes a person to become dependent upon alcohol on a daily basis. Without it, a person will experience severe and sometimes deadly withdrawal symptoms. However, chronic abuse will cause a person to lose control of his or her drinking and build up a tolerance that requires drinking more and more to achieve a similar effect.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an estimated 186,000 individuals in Kentucky are dependent on or abuse alcohol. This number represents an average of data collected between 2009 and 2013. From 2012 to 2013, an estimated 5.9 percent of the state’s residents struggled with some type of alcohol problem. This number is slightly lower than the national average for alcohol use, which totals 6.7 percent.

Kentucky has a low prevalence of excessive drinking when compared to other states, according to the United Health Foundation. In 2013, about 16 percent of the population reported binge drinking in the past month. This is defined as drinking four or more alcohol beverages for women or five or more for men on at least one occasion.

While the alcohol abuse statistics for Kentucky may be less than national averages, this does not mean Kentucky alcohol addiction is not a problem. According to the National Alcoholism Center, more than 200 people lose their lives on a yearly basis as the result of an alcohol-related traffic accident.

What Does Exposure to Alcohol Do to the Body?

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, which means it slows the workings of the brain’s neurotransmitters. This can induce feelings of sleepiness and relaxation in a person. Long-term and heavy drinking can actually change the brain’s physical structure, including distorting the brain cells.

One of the difficulties for those who struggle with alcohol abuse is knowing his or her limits. For example, a person may think he or she is drinking one drink when in fact the standard serving size is much smaller. According to the National Institutes of Health, the following are standard servings for different alcohol types:

  • 12 ounces of beer, which contains 5 percent alcohol on average
  • 8 to 9 ounces of malt liquor, which contains 7 percent alcohol on average
  • 5 fluid ounces of table wine, which contains 12 percent alcohol on average
  • 5 fluid ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits, which contains 40 percent alcohol on average

Most recommendations suggest women drink no more than one drink per day and men drink no more than one to two drinks per day.

Why Is Alcohol Abuse Dangerous?

Alcohol abuse is dangerous due to its effects on a person’s health and overall well-being. In the short-term, alcohol impairs a person’s judgment and can increase the risks for accidents, including traffic accidents. There are numerous long-term effects associated with alcohol abuse, which include:

  • cardiac problems, including heart attacks, enlarged heart, high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation
  • dementia
  • depression
  • gastritis
  • increased cancer risk, including those of the mouth, throat, liver and esophagus
  • liver disease
  • pancreatitis
  • stroke

With continued long-term abuse, these and other medical conditions can take hold.

Why Is Treatment Necessary for Those Who Suffer from Alcohol Abuse?

Alcohol abuse requires treatment because of the multiple effects it has on a person’s body. Drinking alcohol can affect almost every body system and withdrawals for a person who is highly dependent upon the substance can prove deadly if professional medical help is not nearby.

Withdrawals from alcohol can cause a series of symptoms known as the delirium tremens or DTs, which include tremors, seizures, confusion, hallucinations, high body temperatures and other potentially life-threatening effects. According to WebMD, the DTs can cause death in 10 percent of people who do not seek treatment. Many people may try to quit drinking on their own, yet find they experience such significant symptoms that they return to alcohol abuse.

Alcohol abuse in Kentucky is such a significant and life-threatening disorder the seeking professional attention is vital to helping a person beat his or her addiction to alcohol once and for all.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse

Signs and symptoms that a person may have a drinking problem include the following:

  • building up a tolerance to drinking alcohol
  • continuing to drink even though you know alcohol is causing problems in your life
  • craving alcohol when not drinking it
  • experiencing “black outs” or episodes of memory loss related to a night out of drinking
  • experiencing legal problems as a result of your drinking
  • experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not drinking
  • feeling as if you can only relax if you have a drink
  • lying to others about a drinking habit


Treatment Options for Alcohol Abuse


The treatment options for alcohol abuse often begin with the detoxification process. This involves a person “drying out” from alcohol abuse. A professional alcohol treatment facility may administer medications to reduce side effects, which could include anti-seizure medications and medications to promote sleep, such as sedatives. The degree of withdrawal symptoms can depend upon a person’s unique body systems, history of alcohol abuse and amount consumed on a regular basis.


Once a person is in recovery, a drug treatment center can prescribe various medications to reduce the likelihood a person will return to alcohol abuse. One example is disulfiram (Antabuse), which can make a person feel very ill if he or she drinks alcohol again. Another is naltrexone, which can have the effects of reducing alcohol cravings.


In addition to these medications, counseling, group therapy, family therapy and other approaches to the mental side of addiction can also help a person struggling with alcohol abuse become sober once and for all.


If you or a loved one struggles with Kentucky alcohol addiction and/or abuse, you do not have to struggle alone. With alcohol rehabilitation treatment and support, you can turn your life around and break free from this addiction. Contact an addiction specialist today and get your life back.