Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction, or alcoholism, affects millions of people in the United States.

Most of us know a friend, family member, or colleague who struggles to maintain healthy drinking habits.

While alcoholism can have a devastating effect on your life, there is a way out. Addiction is treatable, and with appropriate support, anyone can enjoy long-term sobriety. Alcoholism doesn’t have to control your life; we’re here to help you break free.

Alcohol Addiction

What Is Alcohol Addiction?

Characterized by physical changes in the brain that produce strong urges to drink, alcohol addiction is an alcohol use disorder (AUD) whereby an individual compulsively seeks or drinks alcohol despite any negative consequences.

While everyone’s experience of addiction is different, several factors make developing an addiction more likely. These include:

  • Genetics - our genes may account for up to 50% of a person’s susceptibility to developing an addiction
  • Early life adversity and childhood traumas, including being a victim or observing neglect and abuse
  • Parents or family members living with addiction
  • Living with a mental health condition
  • Friends or peers using drugs or alcohol

What Is the Difference Between Alcohol Dependence, Abuse, and Addiction?

Alcohol abuse arises when you drink in a way that is damaging to yourself or others around you. It encompasses both heavy drinking - consuming more than eight drinks a week for a man or fifteen for a woman - and binge drinking - when your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) rises to above 0.08 g/dl.

Most people who abuse alcohol are not addicted, but it can still have devastating consequences on an individual and societal level. It can lead to heart problems, cancer, and fatal accidents, such as car crashes that occur while under the influence.

Alcohol dependence develops when you regularly drink high quantities of alcohol over an extended period. Your body gets used to the presence of alcohol and adjusts its functions to compensate. You begin to need alcohol to feel normal, and if you suddenly stop drinking, a series of dangerous or even fatal withdrawal symptoms may be experienced.

Addiction refers specifically to the compulsive seeking of alcohol. Addiction can accompany or develop from physical dependence. You can also be dependent on alcohol without being addicted.

At present, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5) does not classify alcohol addiction as a disorder in itself. Instead, it represents a severe form of AUD, which includes unhealthy alcohol use.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction?

It can be challenging to ascertain if you or a loved one has developed an alcohol addiction. However, there are several signs and symptoms to look out for. These include:

  • Losing interest in hobbies and everyday activities
  • Frequently appearing under the influence of alcohol
  • Having to drink more alcohol to feel the same effects
  • Seeming tired, ill, or irritable
  • An inability to refuse alcohol
  • Suffering from anxiety, depression, or other mental health problems
  • Behaving secretively or dishonestly
Remember, all kinds of AUD, including excessive drinking and physical dependence, can be extremely dangerous. If you are worried about your or another’s drinking habits, you should seek professional support.

What Are the Health Dangers of Alcohol Abuse and Addiction?

Drinking too much alcohol - whether on one occasion or over time - can have severe consequences on your health. It can affect almost all parts of your body, including your brain, heart, and immune system.


Impacting the way the brain works, alcohol interferes with signals in the brain. It can affect mood and behavior, making you think less clearly and inhibiting your coordination.


Excessive drinking, whether over time or on one occasion, can cause severe damage to the heart. It can lead to:

  • Stretching of the heart muscle
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke


When consumed, your body metabolizes alcohol and breaks it down into other substances that are either used or excreted.

Playing a primary role in this process, it takes the liver approximately one hour to break down one beverage. When you drink too much, the liver works well above its capacity, leaving it unable to process all alcohol in the blood.

Over time, this can lead to a range of problems and inflammations, including:

  • Steatosis (fatty liver)
  • Alcoholic hepatitis
  • Fibrosis
  • Cirrhosis


Extensive scientific research links alcohol consumption with several types of cancer. Considering this, the US Department of Health now lists alcohol as a carcinogenic substance.

Evidence suggests that the more alcohol you drink, the higher your risk of developing alcohol-related cancer. Data from 2009 indicates that around 3.5% of cancer deaths in the United States could be attributable to alcohol each year.

Cancers that may result from drinking alcohol include:

  • Esophageal
  • Mouth
  • Larynx
  • Colon
  • Liver
  • Breast cancers

Immune System:

Excessive drinking weakens the immune system, making it difficult for the body to fight off illnesses. As a result, regularly drinking increases your chances of contracting diseases like tuberculosis and pneumonia. A single binge-drinking session can also temporarily slow your ability to fight off an infection, even 24 hours after your last drink.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment and Recovery

When struggling with an AUD, it can be hard to imagine breaking free from your addiction. However, the good news is, alcoholism is treatable, and recovery is possible for anyone. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, around one-third of people experience no symptoms a year after treatment. Many others see substantial improvements in their drinking.

The most effective recovery programs offer a combination of treatment approaches in an individualized treatment plan tailored to your unique needs. At Tulip Hill, we provide a range of evidence-based options, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), group therapy, support groups, and experiential therapies. We guide you on a holistic healing journey of personal growth so you can overcome your addiction and enjoy an alcohol-free life.

Our dual diagnosis program focuses on the mental health conditions that often give rise to addictions and drive alcohol use. Co-occurring disorders are prevalent; approximately 40% of people living with an AUD also have a major depressive disorder. If these issues are not addressed, they can restart drinking habits even after years of abstinence.

At Tulip Hill, we work with you to develop the skills you need to cope with and overcome anxiety, depression, and other co-occurring disorders so that you can maintain sobriety in the long term. Our expert team includes personal caseworkers that help you rebuild your life after treatment, giving you the structure and security you need to maintain mental wellness in the years ahead.

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, please contact us today. Our compassionate and expert staff will talk you through our treatment options, facilities, and recovery plans so you can begin your journey to sobriety.
  • Wonderful environment. The staff is exceptional. The care they show clients is above and beyond what anybody could expect. I genuinely give credit to Tulip Hill for helping me to start down a NEW part of my life. Thank you, Tulip Hill!

    - Chad, Former Client

  • They truly are an amazing place. I was able to learn and cope with emotions. The staff actually cares and understands how to help. I would definitely recommend treatment here!

    - Lanny, Former Client

  • They have done a FANTASTIC job with Tulip Hill Recovery. Highly recommend them for anyone seeking drug and alcohol treatment.

    - David, Former Client

With the right help, you can beat addiction

Begin Your Journey To Recovery With Tulip Hill
Call Today 877.845.8192
Contact Us

Find a fulfilled life outside of drug and alcohol addiction


1800 S Rutherford Blvd #103
Murfreesboro, TN 37130

228 West Baltimore Street
Jackson, TN 38301

About Tulip Hill
Tulip Hill is a family-owned rehabilitation center with first-hand experience in addiction recovery. 

We believe a dual diagnosis approach that treats the mental health conditions underlying addiction is the best route to long-term sobriety.

1800 S Rutherford Blvd #103
Murfreesboro, TN 37130

228 West Baltimore Street
Jackson, TN 38301
Tel. 877-845-8192
All Rights Reserved © 2021 - Tulip Hill Recovery