Why Can’t I Stop Drinking Alcohol

A lot of people don’t see alcohol as a problematic substance. It plays an important role in social activity among many cultures around the globe. Some users are able to use it responsibly, by not having too much of it too regularly. However, if you find yourself asking “Why can’t I stop drinking alcohol?”, then you are probably one of many who are experiencing an alcohol use disorder.

If you think that you may be going through such a disorder, or if you worry that someone you know might be drinking alcohol too much and too often, then it is important to seek medical advice. The earlier you tackle the problematic drinking habits, the easier it will be to quit alcohol abuse.

This is your go-to guide about all things alcohol, including use, addiction, and treatment.

Why Do People Use Alcohol?

Alcohol is the most highly consumed and widely available legal substance. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has released Key Takeaways about alcohol abuse that state that more people over the age of twelve in the United States have used alcohol in the past year than any other drug or tobacco product. They also highlight that alcohol use disorder is the most common type of substance abuse, and it affects over fourteen million individuals in the US aged eighteen and over.

People use alcohol because it acts as a social lubricant. That is to say, users drink it because it helps them feel more chatty and lowers inhibitions, which can make them feel more confident. Some users who report having high levels of anxiety may rely on it in social situations just to feel comfortable.

Desired Effects of Drinking Alcohol

Some of the desired effects of alcohol include:

  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Sense of euphoria
  • Feelings of relaxation
  • Increase in chattiness
  • More confidence

Other, perhaps unwanted effects, accompany these desired effects.

Other Effects of Drinking Alcohol

These effects are what can occur when taking enough alcohol to become “tipsy”. They include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of body coordination
  • Visual impairment
  • Slowed muscle reactions
  • Reduced ability to think clearly and logically
  • Poor memory
  • High blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

While people often don’t think that taking a small amount – enough to be tipsy – is generally a problem, the truth is that drinking any amount of alcohol can be a problem. This is especially the case when use is regular, which can lead to some worrying effects.

This is why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that individuals should drink in moderation. They suggest that men and women shouldn’t have the same amount, and recommend:

  • One drink or less per day for women (i.e., one glass of wine or one beer)
  • Two drinks or less per day for men (i.e., two glasses of wine or two beers)
  • Or nondrinking

If you consume more alcohol than this, then you are putting yourself at risk of serious impacts.

Long Term Effects of Drinking Alcohol

If you find that you are unable to stop drinking alcohol, even if you feel that you want to, then it is likely that you have a drinking problem. If this is the case, you should seek medical care. Individuals who struggle with long-term use risk their life and risk the damaging effects of addiction in regard to their relationships with friends and family.

Some of these health effects include:

  • Pancreatitis
  • Liver disease and cirrhosis (chronic liver inflammation)
  • Hypo/hyperglycemia
  • Long-term memory issues
  • Problems regulating emotions and making rational choices
  • Brain damage as a result of altered brain chemistry (such as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome)
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Heart disease and heart failure

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5) – the fifth and most recent edition of the guide that mental health professionals use to diagnose mental health issues – states that alcohol use is a common cause of mental health conditions.

An individual who engages in regular alcohol use may, through their use, induce the following mental health conditions:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Psychotic disorder
  • Depressive disorder
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Sleep disorder

Evidently, if you are unable to put an end to your regular drinking habits, especially if that includes excessive drinking, then it would be beneficial to your health to get professional help. Addiction is now seen as a disease, and as a result, medical professionals understand that it is not you that is the problem, it is the disease. There is more support than there ever has been before. Help is available if you feel that you need it.

Why It Is So Hard to Quit Drinking

Scientific studies are showing, through brain imaging research, that drinking alcohol releases “feel-good” opioids in the reward centers of the brain. These scans show that some people’s brain chemistry has a large effect on their level of alcohol dependence.

This is because some people’s brains release more endorphins (which release natural opioids) and that may lead to them getting more pleasure out of drinking alcohol. It could also mean that they are more prone to drinking heavily and also more likely to develop an addiction to alcohol.

The way that it affects your brain is the reason that some people can develop both a psychological and physical dependence on alcohol. This means that you may experience problems with withdrawal when quitting drinking. More on this is covered below.

Alcohol Withdrawal

If you have been drinking alcohol regularly for a long period of time, you might find that you have become dependent on alcohol. What this means is that you may experience withdrawal symptoms when you haven’t had a drink for a while, or try to stop drinking.

These withdrawal symptoms can, at times be dangerous. We recommend that if you think you might be dependent on alcohol, or if you think you have a problem drinking alcohol, then you should seek professional medical help.

If you are unsure whether or not you are dependent, below are some symptoms that you might experience when going through withdrawal, which indicate dependence. Doctors categorize these symptoms in three ways. The three possible stages of withdrawal you might go through are as follows: 1) acute withdrawal; 2) prolonged withdrawal; 3) Post-acute withdrawal syndrome.

Acute Withdrawal

The symptoms associated with this stage of withdrawal appear about six hours after your last drink and tend to last for about one or two weeks. Doctors consider this stage to be the most dangerous stage of withdrawal. Symptoms you may experience in this stage include:

  • Tremor
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea
  • Headache

If your drinking habits have been going on for a long period of time and include very heavy drinking, you are more likely to experience more dangerous symptoms, such as:

  • Withdrawal seizures
  • Delirium tremens – characterized by hallucinations, mental confusion, and disorientation

It could be that these symptoms go on for longer than expected. If this is the case, then you are likely having a prolonged withdrawal.

Prolonged Withdrawal

Prolonged withdrawal is almost the same as the acute withdrawal stage, except a prolonged withdrawal is when an individual feels the same effect as acute withdrawal after and beyond a two week period. That is to say that they are equally as dangerous, so medical supervision is strongly recommended if you still experience acute withdrawal symptoms after this two-week period. It could be that this stage of withdrawal lasts a few weeks or even a few months.

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)

Post-acute withdrawal syndrome is less severe than the other two stages, as they don’t cause a threat to life. This stage can, however, be troubling to deal with. Therefore we recommend that you speak to a medical professional if you want your recovery to be an effective and lasting one.

Signs that suggest you are in the PAWS stage are if the milder symptoms of withdrawal, such as a headache, come and go in recurring cycles. These cycles could be three days long, or three weeks long. There is no solid timeline that is available to follow.

PAWS can last six months or even up to a year, but in almost all cases it does get better, and will not last forever.

How to Stop Drinking Alcohol Every Night

If your alcohol use is not under your control, then you could have alcohol use disorder (AUD). The fact that you are reading this is a sign that you want to stop, which is the first step towards recovery.

There are many ways to stop drinking, and in recent times, more and more new methods of addiction treatment have become widely available. Treatment options can take the form of behavioral therapy and medication treatment.

No matter who you are, what your background is, or how strongly your addiction has a hold, you will be able to overcome it, with the right care and support.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Treatment can involve both behavioral therapy and medication. This is because any co-occurring mental disorders can make ending your alcoholism a harder task in the long run. Generally, treatment will either involve an inpatient or outpatient treatment program, meaning that your treatment can fit your needs.

Behavioral Therapy

Doctors use behavioral therapy in the treatment of an addiction to alcohol. Generally, this will involve either cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), contingency management (CM), or mutual-support groups. These therapies aim to tackle behavioral patterns that lead you to continue your alcoholism, such as low self-esteem, and to aid you in long-lasting recovery.

Medical Therapy

Medical therapy tends to focus on reducing alcohol withdrawal dangers. If your alcoholism and alcohol problems have been going on for a long time, then a doctor might decide that anti-seizure medication would be beneficial for you. Other medications focus on reducing someone’s drinking and preventing a relapse.

Getting Treatment

The good news is that your drinking problem doesn’t have to last forever. With the right support from your family, friends, and medical professionals, you will be able to quit drinking. And that is where we come in.

At NP Addiction Clinic, we offer treatment services to help you on your road to recovery. Our inpatient treatment center in Port St. Lucie, Florida, is the ideal place to gently ease you into recovery under the care of our compassionate and expert staff.

We know you care. And so do we. That is why we are the right place for you to put a lasting end to your substance abuse. Call us today at (772) 281-5242, or send us a message using the form on this page to break free from the tight grip of your addiction.

Begin the first day of the rest of your life

To find out more contact our team

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Samantha Kelly​

Director of National Business Development & Admissions Coordinator

I am a dedicated and passionate professional with extensive experience in business development Admissions and marketing. I have an incredible passion for showing others that there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel if someone truly wants it.
Being in recovery myself I understand the struggles of addiction and alcoholism. I Started this Career path in 2009. With multiple years of experience, I bring a multi-faceted approach and am always seeking new ways to make a difference in the lives of those I work with.

Kim L. Buckner

Facilitator

As a Substance Abuse Motivational Speaker, Pastor, Peer Advocate, and Facilitator. Kim helps clients avoid relapse by understanding their triggers. Those people, places and things that can cause craving, as well as internal triggers like feelings, thoughts, or emotions. Kim also clients with identifying and building healthy relationships now that they’re clean and sober.

Kim’s background includes extensive experience as a motivational speaker and work in faith-based organizations helping youth and adults alike. He says he is motivated by giving back to the community, understanding, and not judging who she comes into contact with. Kim’s favorite quote is by Dr. Raymond Johnson: “The respect given to others rebounds to the giver to deny the scared in the Other is to deny it in oneself.”

Caty Burns

Clinician

Caty graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and minors in Counseling and History. Throughout her undergrad, she worked at the local CASA program, supporting volunteers advocating for children who had experienced abuse and neglect. Caty worked for seven years at a community mental health center (CMHC), partnering with children, adults, and families.

During those seven years, she taught life and coping skills as well as behavior management, provided case management and peer recovery services, and facilitated treatment teams that included the client, family, providers, and community members. I have also worked at an IOP providing group therapy services. She is currently working towards my Master of Social Work.

In her free time, Caty enjoys reading, especially historical fiction, spending time outdoors and having movie nights with her family. Disney World is her happy place, and she dreams of living among the elephants.

Madison Knowles

Mental Health Therapist

My name is Madison Knowles, I am a Mental health therapist at NPAC. I am a single-mother of two and I have a daughter who is globally delayed and has been diagnosed with autism. I have been in this industry since I was 16 years old, as I was fascinated with human behavior. I obtained my masters in applied behavioral analysis and started off working with people with disabilities. I then found my love for counseling when I worked with juveniles who had mental health and substance use issues. I then decided to go back for my mental health therapy license after that and working in a forensic treatment center. I went on to obtain my therapy credentials and since 2017, I have also been working on my PhD in forensic psychology in which I am currently working on my dissertation. I am inspired by change and how resilient people can be. My favorite inspirational quote is “Some will, Some won’t, So what, NEXT!!!” This quote has inspired me to try, try, and try again no matter how hard life gets, someone will give you a chance eventually. As a therapist at NPAC, I have been given the opportunity to work with diverse populations such as in substance use and mental health and I am known for my work with people on the schizophrenic spectrum as well as with other clients with other severe conditions including personality disorders.

Megan Carmona, LMHC

Lead Therapist

Our Lead Therapist, Megan, is a bilingual Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in working with adults who struggle with addiction, anxiety, depression, and trauma. As Lead Therapist, she provides individual, family, and group therapy sessions to our clients.  Megan says “I am very passionate about therapy, especially about supporting my clients in exploring their strengths and identity. My goal is to provide individuals with the tools that can help them achieve independence in coping with their challenges and facilitating personal development.” In her free time, Megan enjoys watching docu-series and playing video games with her family. Her dream is to own acres of land so she can care for vulnerable animals, especially old dogs, cats, and horses. 

Kristen Bensley

Primary Clinician

As Primary Clinician, Kristen works with all aspects of our clinical team, from case management to primary therapy.  She has broad experience working in the mental health field. Prior to joining our team at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic, Kristen was part of the team awarded the Evernorth Behavioral Health Center of Excellence Designation by Cigna. She says her motivation is to help people rediscover who they are and become excited about the future and all the possibilities life offers. Kristen’s favorite quote is: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

Ronn Daigle, MSW

Therapist, Utilization Review Clinician

Ronn Daigle services as a Therapist and Utilization Review Clinician at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has been working in the field of substance use disorder treatment since 2011, with experience in all facility-based levels of care. Ronn earned, both an Associate of Arts in Psychology (2013) and Bachelor of Science in Human Services, with an Addiction Studies Concentration (2015) from Indian River State College. 

Ronn additionally earned a Master of Social Work degree in 2021 and is a current Registered Clinical Social Work Intern working toward licensure (LCSW). He describes himself as detail oriented, and solution focused.

Ronn says: “There is nothing more fulfilling than working with someone who doesn’t believe in himself or herself, and being there in the moment with them when the belief begins. We work with individuals who come to us at a point and time in their respective lives where they do not believe that change for others is possible; let alone for themselves…throughout the process they eventually come to a point where they realize that change is not only possible, but achievable.”

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI

Assistant Clinical Director

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI is the Assistant Clinical Director at Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic who specializes in the treatment of LGBTQ, addiction, as well as mental health disorders ranging from depression and anxiety, to Bipolar Disorder, trauma, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, and eating disorders. Erika utilizes a number of modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Mindfulness amongst others. Erika has been in practice for close to a decade and has earned her license in Mental Health Counseling, as well as being a Master’s Certified Addiction Professional. Erika has worked with many individuals including couples counseling and family therapy, and is fluent in Spanish.
 
Throughout my years of practice, one of the things I enjoy helping people find is inner peace. Whether you are in the deepest parts of depression, overrun by your anxiety, controlled by your addiction, or there are certain issues in your life that are negatively impacting your ability to function, and have a happy, healthy life, maybe now is the time to talk about it. I am a big believer in empowerment, working hard in therapy, and utilizing different techniques to help you regain that inner peace that may have been lost along the way. I want to work with you as a team because with two people, absolutely everything is possible. I want to be there as a therapist, to help build you up, support you, but also help you be honest with yourself and accountable. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, my biggest goal for you is going to be simple….for you to no longer need my services. Why? Because if you no longer need my services, it means that you have regained your peace, you have regained your strength, you have regained your confidence. It means that you now have the tools to address any issues that try to derail you, and best of all, you will have the insight to overcome and thrive. So let’s begin this journey together, and get you to the place you want to be, emotionally, mentally, psychologically, and in your sobriety.

Aurelio Ayuso, MSW, LCSW, CAP, ICADC

Clinical Director

Aurelio has worked with those that suffer from the disease of addiction in adults and juveniles alike for over 10 years, beginning in the United States Navy where he proudly served for 20 years, working with those that were succumbed by addiction due to trauma and continuing his passion for helping those in need locally in Central Florida.

He specializes in both Addictions and Trauma, he has worked first as a therapist then as the clinical supervisor to both the Juvenile and Adult Drug Court programs in Brevard County. Aurelio has been instrumental in developing substance abuse treatment programs directly tailored to help those that also suffer from complex trauma due to their addiction. He has been recognized by several organizations for his forward thinking and ability to tailor treatment to individuals in the most restrictive environments.

Mr. Ayuso received his Graduate Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker as well as Certified Addictions Professional in the State of Florida, and Internationally Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor. Aurelio specializes in the treatment of Addiction, Trauma, and Abandonment using strength based strategies deeply rooted in Solution Focused, and Mindfulness Therapies. At the Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic he passionately develops holistic curriculums that foster the belief that through addressing the mind, body, and spirit together, the Disease of Addiction can be addressed successfully.

Robert Lehmann, MHSA

Chief Operating Officer

Bob Lehmann is the Chief Operating Officer at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has a Master’s Degree in Human Services Administration with a concentration in Mental Health Administration and over twenty-five years of experience as a senior executive at addiction and mental health treatment facilities.

One of the reasons for his commitment to excellence in addiction treatment was his experience related to family members who suffered from the disease of addiction. Bob has been actively involved in community organizations throughout his career. Recently he was one of the founders of the Florida Addiction Treatment Coalition (FATC) and is its present Vice President. FATC was designed to bring together treatment executives in Florida to advocate on behalf of treatment facilities and the clients they serve adhering to a foundation of integrity and service excellence.

Jose R. Toledo, M.D.

Medical Director

A well-rounded and accomplished individual, Jose R. Toledo, M.D., is the Medical Director of Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a neurologist with 25 years of experience and has been in private practice since 1991 on the Treasure Coast of Florida. He completed his neurology training at the State University of New York and his Fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh in Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology.

He also completed 24 months of acute inpatient psychiatry at the Western Missouri Mental Health Center, University of Missouri in Kansas City. In 2008, Dr. Toledo participated in and was certified in the continuing medical education activity entitled “Buprenorphine and Office-Based Treatment of Opioid Dependence” from The Medical University of South Carolina during which began his quest to found and head Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a brain specialist with particular competence in addiction medicine and out-patient detoxification treatment and integrates the fields seamlessly. He is certified to prescribe Buprenorphine (Suboxone). He incorporates his background in neurology into the addiction field. Dr. Toledo is member/fellow of The American Medical Association, The Florida Medical Association and The American Society of Addiction Medicine