Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to the Coronavirus
As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at San Juan Capestrano Hospital to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, on-site visitation is no longer allowed at San Juan Capestrano Hospital.

  • This restriction has been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • We are offering visitation through telehealth services so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services are being vetted and may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff has received infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance has been provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are being monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.
  • We are in communication with our local health department to receive important community-specific updates.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Signs & Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction

Learn more about the causes, symptoms, and effects of alcohol addiction. Understanding what you or your loved one is going through can be the first step to getting help.

Understanding Alcohol Addiction

Learn about alcohol addiction and substance abuse

Drinking alcohol is a common practice in many societies and, for many, it is a pleasurable way to celebrate special events, catch up with friends, or just simply kick back at the end of a long day. While alcohol is a completely legal substance and perfectly fine to consume in small doses for those who are over the age of 21, it does not come without its consequences. While many individuals can enjoy a drink from time to time, there are others who struggle with alcohol abuse and, for them, it is close to impossible to manage their drinking.

Alcohol abuse is a harmful pattern of drinking that will bring about a vast amount of negative consequences in a person’s life and, if not properly treated, has the high potential to turn into an addiction. For those individuals who have entered the dangerous territory of alcohol abuse, they may have noticed a number of difficulties popping up on a daily basis. These individuals may begin to neglect responsibilities at work or school, they may have had multiple run-ins with law enforcement, and could begin to jeopardize interpersonal relationships. This does not even touch on all of the health problems that are sure to develop over time, including permanent organ damage and mental health issues. However, despite the fact that their world is slowly crumbling around them, they continue to drink. For those abusing alcohol, it is extremely important that professional treatment is sought and implemented before more detrimental consequences arise.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for alcohol addiction

Just as the cause for alcohol abuse is not known, it is also not understood why some people have the ability to drink without experiencing adverse effects, while others cannot. However, while an exact cause has not been determined, researchers have many hypotheses on possible risk factors and variables that may play a role. Examples of such variables and risk factors are listed below:

Genetic: It is now widely known and accepted that alcoholism tends to run in families. Because of this genetic predisposition, those who have family members with substance abuse problems are at a higher risk for having a problem with alcohol.

Physical: In addition to genetic influences, research has identified multiple biological factors. For example, the areas of the brain that are responsible for impulse control, decision-making, and motor functioning become impaired when an individual consumes alcohol. The longer alcohol abuse occurs, the more damage can be done to these areas and functions of the brain.

Environmental: Many mental health professionals believe that a person’s environment can cause a person to abuse alcohol. Especially if an individual has a genetic predisposition to alcohol abuse, it is likely that certain environmental or situational influences can lead a person to begin drinking excessively. Exposure to chronic stress, violence, and trauma are examples of such influences. Lastly, if an individual lacks necessary coping skills or has a poor self-esteem, peer pressure to drink can also lead to the onset of an alcohol abuse problem.

Risk Factors:

  • Family history of alcohol abuse or other substance abuse problem
  • Exposure to alcohol at a young age
  • Being male
  • Having low self-esteem
  • Family history of mental illness
  • Personal history of mental illness
  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Easy access to alcohol
  • Poor impulse control
  • Peer pressure
  • Relationship problems

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction

There are many different signs and symptoms that may indicate the presence of a drinking problem. Additionally, since alcoholism is a progressive disease, without treatment, these symptoms tend to gradually become more severe over time. Below are some of the behavioral, physical, cognitive, and psychosocial symptoms that may appear:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Repeatedly neglecting work, home, or school responsibilities
  • Engaging in risky behavior
  • Using alcohol in dangerous situations, such as drinking and driving
  • Concealing drinking habits
  • Lying or omitting information
  • Increased interaction with the legal system
  • Decline in academic performance
  • Continued drinking despite the onset of negative consequences
  • Poor occupational functioning
  • Social isolation
  • Drinking alone
  • Hiding alcohol

Physical symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Flushing of the skin
  • Lack of coordination
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Slurred speech

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Poor decision-making
  • Changes in personality
  • Memory deficiency
  • Inability to concentrate

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Drastic mood swings
  • Depressed mood
  • Increased anxiety
  • Hostility
  • Increased aggression or anger

Effects

Effects of alcohol addiction

There is no denying that continued alcohol abuse will eventually affect all aspects of a person’s life. Prolonged alcohol abuse will lead to a number of serious health complications, damage emotional stability, and diminish one’s ability to maintain satisfying relationships. The following are potential effects that can occur if an individual develops a problem with alcohol:

  • Development of certain cancers
  • Heart problems
  • Liver disease
  • Brain damage
  • Weakened immune system
  • Higher risk for divorce
  • Consistent unemployment, resulting in financial difficulties
  • Poor work performance, resulting in job loss
  • Driving under the influence
  • Poor school performance, which may lead to academic failure
  • Involvement with the legal system
  • Incarceration
  • Engaging in risky sexual behaviors

Co-Occurring Disorders

Alcohol addiction and co-occurring disorders

When a person is abusing alcohol or is battling an addiction to alcohol, it is common for that same individual to also struggle with a mental health condition, as well as additional substance abuse problems. The following mental health disorders are those that are commonly diagnosed in individuals who struggle with an addiction to alcohol:

  • Personality disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Oppositional defiant disorder
  • Conduct disorder
  • Impulse control disorders
  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Another substance use disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depressive disorders
  • Bipolar disorder

Effects of Withdrawal and Overdose

Effects of alcohol withdrawal and overdose

Effects of alcohol withdrawal: When a person drinks excessive amounts of alcohol for a long period of time, his or her body builds up a tolerance to the alcohol consumed. Therefore, when a person suddenly stops drinking, it is likely that withdrawal symptoms will manifest. These symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Anxiety
  • Shakiness or trembling
  • Convulsions
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Increased heart rate
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Mood swings

Effects of alcohol overdose: When an individual consumes alcohol to a degree that his or her body is unable to metabolize, the result is an alcohol overdose. An alcohol overdose is a serious medical emergency and treatment should be sought immediately in order to prevent severe damage or death.

The following are signs that a person may have overdosed on alcohol:

  • Vomiting
  • Labored breathing
  • Nausea
  • Decrease in reflexive response to stimuli
  • Slurred speech
  • Incoherence

My severe depression had taken over my life. I’m so thankful for San Juan Capestrano Hospital for giving me the strength to start living my life again to the fullest.

– Luis S.

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