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Alcohol Addiction in South Dakota

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health ranked South Dakota as one of the 10 states with the highest rates of binge drinking in the 12-20 and 18-25 age group. Alcohol addiction in South Dakota is among the highest as these statistics show. An addiction to alcohol is one of the most severe forms of substance dependence for several reason including the availability of alcohol, the severe withdrawal symptoms and the effects the abuse has on a person’s health. Many marital and relationships problems can be linked to alcohol addiction in South Dakota. According to a White House report, 6.07 percent of South Dakota residents used illicit drugs in the past month whereas the national average was 8.82 percent. Brad Patterson of the Carroll Institute reported that the average amount of alcohol consumed by people in the state was 38 percent above the national average. 


What is Alcohol Addiction or Dependence?

Alcohol dependence or addiction often happens as a result of abusing alcohol for long periods. Eventually, the body becomes adapted to the presence of alcohol in the system that changes the way the body operates. It affects many systems in the body negatively, and even just abusing alcohol (i.e. binge drinking) can cause these negative health effects. When the body becomes adapted to alcohol, withdrawal symptoms set in after the person does not have a drink. Sometimes withdrawal symptoms can start as early as 6 hours from the last drink. 

Medically, a person has alcoholism if three or more of the following conditions are met within one year: 

  • Control over the amount and how often drinking occurs is limited.
  • There is a tolerance that causes the person to drink more and more to reach the desired state.
  • Withdrawal symptoms such as shakiness, anxiety, sweating and stomach pains set in when alcohol is not consumed.
  • The person spends much of their time recovering from alcohol and finding more to drink.
  • The person has tried to slow down and stop their drinking but failed.
  • Relationship problems and physical health issues do not deter the use of alcohol. 

Alcohol addiction in South Dakota can be treated at one of the many certified centers that make use of the most effective treatment programs including 12-step programs to treat the disease.


Physical Dangers of Alcohol Abuse and Addiction 

Alcohol abuse and addiction affects many areas of a person’s body in a negative way. Major organs are the most affected, and continued abuse of alcohol can be life-threatening. Some of the organs and areas of the body that are most affected by alcoholism and binge drinking includes: 

  • The heart – Heart problems can be caused by binge drinking and alcoholism. Some heart problems that people experience include a risk of strokes, cardiomyopathy, high blood pressure and heart arrhythmias. Furthermore, drinking only moderate amounts of alcohol can lead to coronary heart disease.
  • The brain – The pathways in the brain that are associated with communication among different parts of the body are negatively affected. Alcohol can change the way a person’s brain functions. These changes can affect a person’s mood and behavior and can make it hard to concentrate.
  • The liver – The variety of problems that can affect the liver due to alcoholism and alcohol abuse include fibrosis, cirrhosis, hepatitis and steatosis.
  • The pancreas – Alcohol abuse and excessive drinking can cause toxins to build up in the pancreas. This can lead to pancreatitis, which is an inflammation of the blood vessels in the pancreas. It can cause improper digestive function.
  • Cancer – Cancer a major concern with alcoholism and many organs can be affected. The organs include the liver, throat, breasts, mouth and esophagus.
  • The immune system – Alcoholism can make a person’s immune system weaker meaning that it is more susceptible to many infectious diseases. Tuberculosis and pneumonia are two of the diseases that it can lead to.


Alcohol Detox

Detoxing from alcohol can be severe and usually requires some form of medical assistance. When a person suffers from other medical conditions, the withdrawal symptoms can be potentially life-threatening. 

The following are withdrawal symptoms that can begin in as little as six hours after drinking:

  • Early symptoms – The early symptoms are usually mild and include insomnia, headaches, vomiting, nausea, mild anxiety, shaky hands and sweating.
  • Late symptoms – Later symptoms start about 48 hours after drinking and are characterized by feelings of confusion, anxiety, hallucinations and profuse sweating. Seizures are common as well as high blood pressure, fever, irregular heart rate and severe tremors. These symptoms are called delirium tremens.

A medical detox is often advised for recovery from alcoholism. This detox will be supervised and the patient monitored for any serious conditions they may experience. The entire process is help with medications such as methadone to help the patient deal with withdrawal symptoms. Once a person finishes their detox, they can begin behavioral therapy to address the behavior and thinking that lead them to the abuse of alcohol. 



People with alcohol addiction in South Dakota should always seek help due to the destruction it can cause. Many people with alcoholism also have a co-occurring disorder. Two in 10 veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder will also have an alcohol problem. A dual diagnosis approach can treat these co-occurring disorder effectively. After detox, the person enters various treatment programs such as behavioral management, cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing. They can also take advantage of alternative treatment methods such as art or music therapy. 

Relapse prevention strategies are taught to patients in an alcohol rehab program to help them with future situations that can trigger alcohol abuse. Support group meetings can also be useful to attend on a regular basis to help keep a person sober over the long term. 

If you think you might need help for alcoholism or know of a friend or loved on that needs help with a drinking problem, contact a rehab center near you today. The help and guidance you need is only a phone call away