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Alcohol Addiction and Treatment Services In Canada

Alcoholism is not an easy problem to solve; in fact, alcohol addiction is one of the hardest dependencies to treat. It creates a lot of damage physically, mentally and socially. Alcoholics have been around for thousands of years and have been creating a lot of problems in present and past societies. Alcoholism is the most spread addiction in Canada, after tobacco. What's making it worse than other substances is the fact that it is legal and socially accepted compared to street drugs which are illegal.

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Alcohol Information

Drug: Alcohol (Ethyl Alcohol), ethanol.

Alcohol Street Name: Booze, bevvy, vino, happy juice.

Alcohol Effects: relaxant, loss of inhibitions, mood alteration — promotes sociability, increases self-confidence, dehydrating effect.

If alcohol is taken in excess, the effects are slurred speech, staggering, loss of balance and vomiting. The effects are dependent on the amount and frequency taken, the setting in which taken, alcohol addiction, along with psychological mood. In some users, alcohol can promote verbal or physical aggressiveness and violence.

Alcohol Description: alcohol comes in a liquid form in varying colors and consistencies depending on the drink. Some are naturally carbonated while others are still.

Alcohol Street Use: Swallowed.

Alcohol Dependency: Yes.

Alcohol Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms: Hangover, depression, dehydration, hand tremors, sickness, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, anxiety, hallucinations.

Alcohol Long-Term Use: increased blood pressure, mental health problems, liver cirrhosis Definition of the word cirrhosis , brain damage, hepatitis Definition of the word hepatitis , fatty liver, diabetes, cancer, dependence, impaired kidney function, heart disease, tremor, sexual impotence (men), pancreatitis, stroke.

Alcohol Overdose Risk: Blood-alcohol levels can be raised to a lethal point if a large quantity of alcoholic drink is consumed within a short period. If large amounts of Alcohol are consumed too quickly, vomiting can occur while semiconscious. This increases the risk of death through asphyxiation as vomit can be aspirated or swallowed blocking air passages to the lungs. Overdose risks increase if alcohol is mixed with other drugs such as opiates or barbiturates. Alcohol addiction plays a major part in accidents, violence, crime and other social disorders where an alcohol-related consequence can result in death.

Alcohol Legal status: It is legal to drink alcohol over the age of 18 years. It is illegal to drink to excess and drive.

Our philosophy on Alcoholism

There are different philosophies regarding alcoholism that differ completely from one to another. You have the philosophy that alcoholism is a disease and that it cannot be cured—a person will relapse and fight all of his life with his alcohol problem or that the person is powerless and should turn over his life to the care of God. This type of attitude and treatment has been the norm over the last century and has supported millions of people of the years. We are not diminishing the good intention and willingness that these people bring because they want to help which is the most valuable intention someone can have.

Our philosophy on alcoholism is pretty much the opposite. The first thing you need to ask is: why do people become alcoholics? The answer is simply that alcohol addiction is an inability to cope with one or more aspects of life and this inability overwhelms the person. Let me give you a very common example. Someone has a hard time to communicate and is very shy. He would like to have a girlfriend but these inhibitions control him. Maybe he wants a raise at his job but cannot "sell" how good he is to his boss in order to justify more money. Then his wife is not happy because they do not have enough money to survive. He sees his child going through problems in life but cannot help or comfort his child to feel better. The person meets a good salesman but cannot say no and buys stuff that he does not need. We can go on and on with common examples.

Now one day, the person has a beer or more and he starts to "talk" even though what he says does not make sense and is totally ridiculous. He starts to feel that overwhelming feeling go away.  It is a "solution". It becomes his solution to communicate. Now he will drink more and more, he will bring less money, spend more, get more in trouble with his wife. He takes less care of his child and then gets a divorce, gets arrested for DUI, etc. While this appears to be a cliché, we can all easily find a person to which this has happened.

Alcoholism is a way to overcome an overwhelming feeling in life. You lose a girlfriend and you get drunk. It starts to feel better every time you drink until, of course, you sober up. You cannot deal with your husband or wife, stay at a job you hate, deal with someone in your environment you cannot stand. All these situations overwhelm people. Alcoholism is a sort of auto-medication. I am not saying that psychological medications are good. It is the contrary. When you have a hard time to cope with life, alcohol and any other street or legal drugs will not solve the problem. Usually, it will make you numb about the problem. It is like putting on a band-aid. What is needed to get in control of your life is counseling, life skills improvement, and a change of environment, being coached by someone exterior to the scene and competent. Alcohol, other types of drugs and medication do not help you solve the reason why it got you addicted to alcohol but brings more short to long term side effects problems, both physical and psychological.

What is Alcohol Addiction?

Alcohol addiction is a very distinctive problem which can easily be understood. It sometimes starts by social and occasional drinking as in parties, dinners and other such activities. It can also start with someone's idea that consuming alcohol will help them overcome their problems. In some cases, alcoholism is a person’s way to escape a physical or mental condition. However, none of their problems will be resolved with alcohol consumption but will instead create additional problems with its devastating effects.

According to a study, 4.1 percent of the population in Canada is suffering from alcohol addiction. This statistic includes adolescents starting at the age of fifteen. While this study was done in 1994, alcoholism has been quite stable over the last years. Alcohol addiction is often present in the age bracket of 20 to 24 years old. Over 20 percent of the people surveyed said that their addiction affected, their work, their finances, their personal life, in a very bad way.

The provinces of Canada with the worst rate of alcoholism are Quebec, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. Those provinces have seen a lot of people with alcohol addiction not get the help they needed. They often weren’t fully aware of the problem they had neither known which detox nor Drug Rehab Centers to choose to help them out.

Alcoholic beverages are consumed in almost every nation and country across the globe. An alcoholic beverage is a drink that contains ethanol. The production and consumption of alcohol occur throughout most cultures around the world and is accepted by most of them if not all. The content of alcohol in a beverage is usually stated by volume or proof. Ordinary distillation cannot produce alcohol stronger than 95% proof. Alcohol in its purest form is commonly called a natural grain spirit. Most yeasts cannot create alcohol higher than 18%.

Long-Term Effects

Heavy use of alcohol over a long period of time can cause damage to several parts of the body. Impairment of brain and liver functions can be permanent. If the individual’s diet is also inadequate, this can further affect their health. Emotional difficulties, like depression and relationship issues, are also likely.

Other possible long-term effects are cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, lips, liver, brain injury, loss of memory, confusion, hallucinations, elevated blood pressure, irregular pulse, enlarged heart and changes in red blood cells, weakness and loss of muscle tissue, sweating, flushing and bruising of the skin, inflamed stomach lining, bleeding and stomach ulcers, increased risk of lung infections, major swelling of the liver, hepatitis and cirrhosis, inflamed pancreas, tingling and loss of sensation in hands and feet.

For males, impotence, shrinking of testicles and damaged and decreased sperm are also some long-term effects of alcohol abuse. For females are at greater risk of gynecological issues.

Family Abuse

Excessive use of alcohol is frequently cited as a cause for difficulties within a family or within a marriage such as drunken violence directed toward a spouse or children, financial issues caused by the compulsive purchase of alcohol or otherwise related to that.

It is hard to over-emphasize just how much stress an individual who has alcohol addiction may cause within his or her immediate family. If someone still abuses alcohol over a period of time, his or her behavior is likely to cause bitterness and resentment among relatives. While family members may love the alcohol user, they are most likely despite his or her behavior.
Eventually - the love dies.

Alcohol Recovery in Canada

Alcohol recovery is often mistaken or believed to be the same thing as alcohol addiction treatment. However, they are two different things. Take it this way, one is the means and the other one is the goal. Actually, most people have the goal of alcohol recovery. They will try to achieve that by attending an alcohol treatment program. It is often said that a person who is in treatment is on the road to alcohol recovery, it is true. But, what is the definition of alcohol recovery? In order to take away all the confusion surrounding this term, the Journal of Substance Abuse came up with a definition that suits the meaning of this word. The definition is "a voluntarily maintained lifestyle characterized by sobriety, personal health, and citizenship." So one can see that sobriety is not all that there is to alcohol recovery. It is true that the first step one has to take is to stop all of his alcohol consumption. And then there is treatment in order to address the issues underlying their addiction to alcohol. One also has to come to a point where he is voluntarily staying away from alcohol, as it not always what he would want in the beginning. And then once the person handles these different things; he also has to confront the people that he wronged when he was an alcoholic and make it up. He has, in other words, to become an upstanding citizen in order for him to be in recovery. There are many people who have as a goal of alcohol recovery. Alcohol recovery is not just getting them to stop drinking alcohol, but it means that they need to improve their lives. They actually need to improve their lives, and it starts with them. This is why alcohol treatments that are very complete will also address what the person needs to address in order to be able to get control back over their lives. A lot of support is given to people after they have attended a detox and rehab treatment for their alcohol addiction. This way, they can actually reach recovery and make sure that they stay on that path. Anybody with the willingness to achieve alcohol recovery can be given the help they need to get there.

Adverse Effects of Alcohol and Detox Centers

Alcohol detox is one of the most dangerous and deadly detoxifications a person can go through. The short-term effects are slurred speech, clumsiness, delayed reflexes, low blood sugar, and irritability. Long-term effects of alcohol can include:

  • Alcoholism
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Liver disease
  • Cancer

Because a heavy drinker can build such a strong tolerance and dependence on alcohol, a person will experience alcohol withdrawal syndromes. Unlike other drugs, alcohol withdrawal can be deadly to a person. That is why it is important to go to an alcohol detox facility. Withdrawal and detox symptoms can include:

  • Agitation
  • Panic attacks
  • Confusion
  • Delirium tremens
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Euphoria
  • Fear
  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Hallucinations
  • Hypertension
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Palpitations
  • Psychosis
  • Restlessness
  • Seizures and death
  • Tremors

It is very common for a person going through alcohol detoxification, to be medically supervised. This will entail the needed assistance to help prevent seizures and severe detox symptoms. Because of the serious and deadly nature of alcohol withdrawal, it is very important the safest steps are taken, through a detox center, to avoid any deadly complications. Once the alcohol detox is completed, the alcohol treatment should be followed.

Where Can I Find an Alcohol Addiction Treatment?

In Canada, there are several drug rehabilitation places where you can find help for alcohol addiction. There are different settings for alcohol treatments such as residential, outpatient, etc. Is a detox needed? One of our counselors can do an assessment and give you the best option for you or someone you love. Let us help you.

Residential Alcohol Treatment Programs In Canada

At first, Canada doesn't seem to have much of an alcoholism problem. The national average is a mere 7.1% which really doesn't seem like a huge problem. Just because the number doesn't seem very high, doesn't mean it should be ignored. It needs to be taken very seriously. People who are addicted to alcohol usually develop some severe problems that are directly connected to their inability not to know when they've drunk too much. The family of an alcoholic is usually unstable and broken; few alcoholics can hang onto a job, and end up living on the streets and are forced to commit petty crimes, just so they can earn enough money to get another drink. An even more pressing concern is the number of Canadians who get behind the wheel of their vehicle after consuming alcohol. It is in everyone's best interest if they work to get every alcoholic they know into an alcoholic treatment program. Without a doubt, the best alcohol treatment programs are residential. When a person is in a residential alcohol treatment program, they are removed from their native environment and placed in a facility where the only thing they have to worry about is overcoming their addiction. Most of the residential alcohol treatment programs in Canada are isolated, making it impossible for the person to sneak any alcohol while they are a patient of the facility.

The average patient is not allowed to enroll in a residential alcohol treatment facility until they have first gone through the detoxification center. Because there are not enough residential alcohol treatment facilities in Canada, there is usually a waiting list, so it is in the best interest of the patient to get on the waiting list before entering the detoxification program. While a person is enrolled in a residential program, they will go through intense counseling sessions, both individual and group, in order to learn why they drink, how it affects their lives as well as the lives of their loved ones, and what habits they need to change in order to stay sober.

There are two different types of residential alcohol treatment facilities in Canada; short-term and long term. The Canadian government prefers short term facilities because they are set up for maximum efficiency. The short term program runs for 28 days and then the patient is released back into the world. While the short-term programs are able to reach a lot of people, most experts would prefer to see them become long-term programs, which are usually the most effective. Experts feel that 28 days is barely long enough for a patient to dry out.

The long term facilities usually run from anywhere 60 days to six months. During these programs, the patients not only go through intense counseling sessions, but they are also taught life skills that they will need if they are going to stay sober once they leave the facility. Experts feel that patients who make it through a long-term residential program have a better shot at becoming a productive member of Canadian society.

30-Day Alcohol Treatment Programs in Canada

A 30-day alcohol treatment program is the type of alcohol treatment that is the most common in Canada. It can often help get a person in treatment for their alcoholism as it can fit a person’s tight schedule. And also the diversity in terms of the type of 30-day alcohol treatments that there are out there can really basically suit a lot of people’s needs. There are 30-day alcohol treatment programs that are on an outpatient basis, meaning that the person only comes for a treatment session and then goes back home. Now there are 30-day alcohol treatments in Canada, which are residential treatments. This means that the recovering addict stays at the center for the full thirty days in order to get treated. The residential 30-day alcohol treatment programs are often advised since it takes the person out of his environment and so the recovering addict is going to be less tempted to take alcohol again. Because it is a known fact that one has to stop any consumption of alcohol in order for the treatment to really be effective.

Now as far as the treatment itself goes, a lot of those 30-day alcohol treatments are based on the twelve-step process. However, there are a lot out there who are not based upon this process, and so they have their own type of treatment. In this case, there are as many types of treatments as there are facilities. This is why one has to look and find the different kinds of 30-day alcohol treatments out there and then decide which one is best for them or their closed one.

So with all the different options out there, it can be quite difficult to know which 30-day alcohol treatment program to attend. However, we can help you find the right treatment for you in a location near you. Contact us to know which 30-day alcohol treatments are established near you.

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Sylvain Fournier

Sylvain Fournier | Bio

Across Canada, there are many different treatment options to choose from, private, government-funded, inpatient, and outpatient. See More