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Recovery from Alcohol Addiction

Learn About the Warning Signs of Alcoholism and How to Find a Quality Alcohol Rehab Near You

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Alcohol abuse treatment & long-term recovery involves first spotting the signs, symptoms and effects & treating these issues concurrently. We can help. Learn about the causes and treatment options available at SunCloud Health—one of the proven alcohol rehab centers in the Chicago area and Gaithersburg, MD.

You may think of alcohol, prescription painkillers or another street drug as your “drug of choice.” But at SunCloud, we consider it your “drug of no choice” or “drug of addiction.” As addiction takes over, your ability to actually make choices is swiftly taken away. With the drug in command, you may feel totally powerless to regain control of your life. In helping you start on a path to wellness, we won’t ask, “Why the addiction?” Instead, we’ll encourage you to ask yourself, “Why the pain?”

In our experience, alcoholism is driven by deeper causes that typically involve physical, spiritual or emotional pain. By dealing with the underlying pain, we will help you exchange unhealthy addictive behaviors for healthier ones – leading to a balanced and abundant life.


Dr. Kevin A. Sabet, PhD, explains how addiction is a brain disease, and it responds well to treatment.


Dr. Kim Dennis, MD, CEDS, explains how SunCloud Health treats co-occurring disorders.

At SunCloud Health, we approach addiction treatment in a holistic, integrated and medically informed way. We meet you where you are. As one wise teacher has said, “Only when compassion is present will people allow themselves to see the truth.” We will help you learn to allow pain to be your teacher, so you can expand far beyond it rather than seeing pain as the enemy.


Kim Dennis, MD, CEDS, MD, Medical Director, CEO and Co-founder at SunCloud Health explains the difference between addiction and substance use.

Alcohol Abuse: Did You Know?

Alcohol is the most-abused substance in the world. The World Health Organization estimates that 1 in 3 Americans will suffer from some degree of alcohol use disorder in their lifetime.

Alcohol abuse is any use of alcohol beyond moderate drinking. Moderate drinking is defined as having two or fewer drinks per day if you are a man and one or fewer drinks per day if you are a woman. Someone who drinks more than this is considered a heavy drinker. Those who abuse alcohol are at an increased risk of developing an addiction to alcohol.

  1. There are roughly 80,000 deaths that are related to alcohol abuse every year, making it the 3rd highest cause of death in the U.S.
  2. More than 15 million people struggle with an alcohol use disorder, but less than 8% receive treatment.1
  3. Men are consistently more likely than women to drink in excess and are 2 times more likely to be involved in a fatal alcohol-related car accident.
  4. Teen alcohol use kills 4,700 people each year. That’s more than all illegal drugs combined.2
  5. Drunk driving costs the United States $132 billion every year.
  6. Approximately 17% of men and 8% of women will be dependent on alcohol in their lifetime.
  7. The effects of alcohol abuse can lead to long-term health issues like cardiovascular disease, cancer of the throat, liver, or mouth, anxiety and depression, dementia, liver disease and much more.
[1]“Alcohol Facts and Statistics.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, June 2017.

[2] “Statistics.” MADD, Accessed December 31, 2017.

Warning Signs of Alcohol Addiction

When alcohol abuse begins to negatively impact a person’s life and causes harm, it is diagnosed as alcohol use disorder (AUD). Recognizing the warning signs of alcohol abuse can make a significant difference in the early detection of addiction and success of the recovery process.

There are various warning signs of alcoholism that help. While many are observable, others may be more difficult to identify. For example, some people try to cover their alcohol abuse by drinking in private and isolating themselves from others. This makes it challenging for family members or friends to intervene and help their loved one.

  • Experiencing temporary blackouts or short-term memory loss
  • Hiding alcohol in the home to cover up their drinking from others
  • Feeling the inability to control the amount or number of drinks
  • Exhibiting signs of irritability and extreme mood swings
  • Making excuses for drinking such as to relax, deal with stress or feel normal
  • Choosing drinking over other responsibilities and obligations
  • Becoming isolated and distant from friends and family members
  • Drinking alone or in secrecy
  • Feeling hungover when not drinking
  • Continuing to drink in spite of health problems that are made worse by alcohol

These early warning signs should not be ignored. Seeking treatment sooner rather than later will allow you to get back to the things you enjoy most in life.


Find alcohol rehab near you now
(866) 729-1012 Or click here to send a secure message.

The Physical and Personal Effects of Alcohol Abuse

The effects of alcohol addiction vary between individuals, but they can touch on all aspects of a person’s life. Heavy drinking can affect your health, career, family, and more. Often, an alcohol treatment center can be required to overcome the addiction.

What are the short-term effects from alcohol?

The short-term effects of alcohol abuse are often the result of binge drinking. Someone who is heavily intoxicated may put himself or herself at greater risk of accidental injury or death and is more likely to become involved in violence and risky sexual activity. Another potential danger of alcohol abuse is the possibility of alcohol poisoning. Alcohol poisoning can occur when the level of alcohol in the bloodstream becomes too high, causing a dangerous drop in blood pressure, body temperature, and the cessation of breathing. The person can go into a coma and die from alcohol poisoning.

What are the long-term effects of alcohol addiction?

Someone who repeatedly engages in heavy or binge drinking may cause permanent neurological damage that can lead to dementia, stroke, or neuropathy. A chronic alcohol abuser may also develop cardiovascular disease, liver disease, or gastrointestinal problems over time. Some people also develop mental illnesses such as depression or experience bouts of anxiety. People who drink heavily over a long period of time may develop alcoholism. Alcoholism often begins when the person builds up tolerance, a condition in which more alcohol is required to get the same effect because the brain has adapted to the frequent use of alcohol.

In addition to the health effects of alcohol abuse, alcohol use can also impact a person’s home, school, or work life. Someone who has an alcohol problem may struggle with unemployment. Alcohol abuse can make it difficult to get or keep a job. An alcoholic or alcohol abuser is also more likely to live in poverty than someone who is not an alcoholic.


Alcohol Rehab in Chicagoland
(866) 729-1012 Or click here to send a secure message.


Kim Dennis, MD, CEDS, MD, Medical Director, CEO and Co-founder at SunCloud Health, answers the question, why do we ask our patients to be abstinent when at SunCloud Health?

Rehab for Alcohol Use Disorder

At SunCloud Health, we work with people who are suffering from just about every form of substance use. We provide outpatient treatment, which means that you will live at home while taking part in rehab. Depending on your needs, you may be treated through a partial hospitalization plan (PHP) or an intensive outpatient plan (IOP). We also provide residential care, if you need inpatient treatment is necessary.

If you or a loved one is struggling with the devastating effects of substance use disorder, the team at SunCloud Health can be a healing resource for you. Led by Kimberly Dennis, MD, one of the nation’s top experts in substance use treatment, SunCloud Health provides caring, effective treatment for men and women facing drug and alcohol addiction. We are an outpatient and inpatient alcohol treatment center with locations in Chicago, Northbrook, and Naperville, Illinois. We have helped thousands of men and women like you reclaim their lives from their alcohol addiction.


Find effective treatment near you today
(866) 729-1012 Or click here to send a secure message.

Are You in Need of an Alcohol Rehab Center? We Can Help You Get Your Life Back on Track

The good news is that no matter how severe the problem may seem, most people with an alcohol addiction can benefit from some form of treatment. Research shows that about one-third of people who are treated for alcohol problems have no further symptoms one year later. Many others substantially reduce their drinking and report fewer alcohol-related problems.

When asked how problems with alcohol are treated, people commonly think of 12-step programs or 28-day inpatient rehab but many have difficulty naming other options. In fact, there are a variety of treatment methods currently available, thanks to significant advances in the field over the past 60 years.

Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and what may work for one person may not be a good fit for someone else. Simply understanding the different options can be an important first step.

The experienced team at SunCloud understands that treating alcohol addiction requires a blend of compassion with advanced medical and psychotherapeutic skill. From our experience in successfully treating thousands of patients in Chicagoland, we’ve learned that addiction is often paired with other self-destructive or addictive behaviors. People who face a cluster of issues are often described as having co-occurring conditions. They may also be described as having a dual diagnosis.

In caring for those facing alcohol addiction, we dig deep on all fronts. We understand that other sources of emotional pain, and even other addictive behaviors, may have led to your problems with drugs or alcohol. Therefore, we will help you address all of these related factors as you enter our alcohol rehab program.

We also realize that psychiatric conditions such as depression, trauma or anxiety may have played a role in leading to your drug or alcohol use. You may even be abusing other substances to cope with the side effects of your addiction.

The SunCloud Health team offers a full range of effective treatment options for men and women who are struggling with alcohol. The therapy that will work best for you will be determined after we’ve talked with you and learned more about your unique needs.

The following are types of therapy we provide for the treatment of alcohol abuse disorder:

  • Expressive and experiential therapy
  • Skills-based therapy such as DBT, ACT and CBT
  • 12-step recovery programs and facilitation
  • Education about the disease, its effects on you, your mind, your soul and your body
  • Group sessions to teach and practice healthy interpersonal and relationship management
  • Regular psychiatric consultations
  • Family therapy, including family participation if appropriate
  • Yoga and body image therapy, when appropriate
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), if appropriate


Expert Help is Nearby
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Emily Long discusses how patients benefit from an integrated treatment approach and how that contributes to a more effective treatment experience at SunCloud Health.

What Happens After Completing Alcohol Rehab?

As an outpatient and residential treatment center, SunCloud Health is in an ideal position to support you for as long as you agree our services are useful to you. With multiple levels of outpatient care, you may decide to stay connected through one of our aftercare outpatient groups – or you may want to continue seeing one of our individual therapists. We are here to provide continuous, caring support for your alcohol recovery journey.

Though we understand fully that you don’t want to spend your life in treatment, we also know from experience that a lifetime commitment to wellness is the foundation of your well-being over the long term. We will work with you to maintain a healthy outlook, which means achieving balance, honesty, and health — physical, emotional and spiritual. Our goal is to create a care plan that you can take with you forever, wherever you may go.


Dr. Marcia Nickow, Psy.D., CADC, CGP shares her thoughts on hope for recovery at SunCloud Health.


Chris Stewart, MD. Board Certified Psychiatrist answers, does addiction treatment work?

The treatment team at SunCloud gets it. They practice what they preach, they are compassionate and they are true professionals. They all understand what I am going through and they have guided me from a hopeless place of disease to recovery and a life worth living. Most importantly they have helped me realize that I am worth something and that I don’t have to use in order to cope with life and all that comes with it. Recovery can be amazing. Trust me. The work is not easy and it is totally worth it! Today I am alive.

~ SCH patient

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