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Alcohol Addiction in Montana


Alcoholism is a serious medical condition that often requires specialized treatment. Also known as alcohol use disorder, alcoholism is a broad term that can be used to describe a number of problematic drinking patterns. Alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence are different forms of alcoholism that often require different types of treatment. Alcohol addiction in Montana is treated in a sequential fashion, with the initial stages of medical detox followed by long-term medication treatment if needed, behavioral therapy, and aftercare support. If you know anyone who is dealing with alcohol addiction in Montana, it’s important to reach out to a professional treatment facility as soon as you can.

What is Alcohol Addiction?

Alcohol problems can manifest in many ways, from occasional binge drinking and alcohol abuse through to physical alcohol addiction. An addiction is normally defined as a compulsive state where people engage in rewarding stimuli despite negative consequences. Alcohol addiction is normally accompanied by tolerance and the existence of a withdrawal syndrome upon cessation of use, including both physical and psychological symptoms. Other signs of alcohol addiction may include persistent alcohol cravings, continued use in high risk situations, and spending a lot of time involved with alcohol consumption. People with drinking problems may also feel a sense of guilt about their drinking habits and lie to cover up the extent of their alcohol consumption. Alcohol abuse often leads to addiction over time, with heavy drinkers slowly developing a physical and psychological attachment surrounding their consumption habits.

What is Binge Drinking?

Binge drinking is a certain kind of alcohol abuse that involves the heavy consumption of alcohol over a relatively short time period. Binge drinking is defined in different ways around the world, with official United States health guidelines defining it as five or more standard drinks for men and four or more for women over a single two-hour period. Binge drinking is a serious public health issue, with people who engage in this practice not only doing harm to themselves, but also putting other members of society at risk. Binge drinking has been associated with serious health concerns, including damage to the neurological, immune, cardiac, gastrointestinal, and musculoskeletal organ systems. People who binge drink on a regular basis are more likely to develop an alcohol addiction than other people, with early-age exposure to binge drinking often linked to late-onset alcoholism.

Causes of Alcoholism

While the exact cause of alcoholism is unknown, it is thought to include both a genetic and environmental component. Certain factors are known to influence the onset of alcoholism, including family history, early alcohol exposure, and severe childhood trauma. The availability of alcohol is also thought to influence drinking patterns and addiction rates, with alcohol price and local consumption levels often partially correlated to dependence statistics. Different sexes and racial groups respond to alcohol consumption in different ways, with some people metabolizing alcohol at a faster rate than others. Alcoholism is diagnosed in different ways around the world, with some of the terms used including “alcohol misuse,” “alcohol abuse,” and “problematic alcohol use.” The current DSM-IV diagnosis of alcohol dependence offers one approach, with the American Medical Association defining alcoholism as a chronic primary disease.

Types of Alcohol

Alcohol, also known as ethanol, is consumed in a variety of different drinks and food products. Beer, wine, and spirits are the three most popular types of drinking alcohol on the market, each of which has vastly different levels of alcohol content. Beer typically has an alcohol content of between 3 and 6 percent, with some special brews containing up to 10 percent. Wine is a little stronger, with most commercial wine products containing somewhere between 10 and 15 percent alcohol. Spirits are stronger again, including vodka, whiskey and other formulations that contain between 35 and 40 percent alcohol. People often get into trouble by mixing alcoholic beverages without understand differences in alcohol content. This is especially true for younger people and inexperienced drinkers, with education needed to reduce the risks of binge drinking and alcoholic poisoning.

Alcoholism Statistics in Montana

Alcohol abuse and addiction is a problem across the United States, including the state of Montana. According to a report entitled “The Economic Cost of Alcohol Abuse in Montana’, the direct and indirect effects of alcoholism cost individuals, businesses, and governments over half a billion dollars each year. Much of this money is related to health-care and crime expenses. According to the Center for Disease Control’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey (YRBS), the problems of alcoholism affect people at an early age in Montana, with high school students having the highest binge drinking rates in the whole country. With one-third of all students involved in binge drinking over the past 30 days, education and prevention programs are needed now more than ever. Despite these worrying statistics, a lack of alcoholism treatment centers has been recognized throughout the state.


Detoxification is an important aspect of alcoholism treatment, including medical detox, natural detox, and rapid detox programs. Because alcohol causes physical addiction, medications are often needed to help alleviate and manage the associated withdrawal syndrome. There are three stages in every comprehensive detox regime: evaluation or testing, stabilization or medication, and consultation or guiding the patient into further treatment. While medications are not always needed, most programs administer benzodiazepine drugs and other forms of medication to help reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Long half-life drugs such as Librium and Valium are often preferred, with these medications sometimes needing to be applied in the weeks and months that follow detoxification.

Psychological Treatment

While detox is an important aspect of alcoholism treatment, it does nothing to address the issues that surround alcohol addiction. Psychotherapy programs are also needed, including cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy, and various motivational programs. While detox enables alcohol discontinuation and patient stability, psychological treatment attempts to address the social, emotional, and cognitive precedents of the problem. Psychotherapeutic techniques are also carried through into the aftercare environment, where they are applied during 12-step support programs and relapse prevention systems.

You don’t have to live with addiction any longer. Now is the time to contact an addiction specialist to learn more about your treatment options.