Facts about Alcohol: Everything You Need to Know About Alcohol Use, Abuse and Dependency (Plus: How to Get Help)


Get Help for Alcohol Abuse and Dependency

Whether you are worried you or a loved one might have an alcohol abuse problem and are looking into alcohol rehab or are simply curious about what “normal alcohol use” is—and isn’t—here is an in-depth and detailed look into the historical and biological facts about alcohol use and dependency in the US.

Las Vegas Alcohol Rehab

Facts about Alcohol

Alcohol: A definition

When people say the word “alcohol”, what they’re most commonly referring to is Ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, which is one of several types of alcohols (the others types are methyl alcohol, rubbing alcohol and butanol). Ethanol is the only type of alcohol that can be consumed, and is an ingredient found in liquor, beer and wine. Ethanol is created by fermenting yeast, sugars and starches.

Standard drink sizes in the United States:

In the US, a standard drink is considered any drink that contains 14 grams (or .6 ounces) of pure alcohol.

  • Beer—12-ounces of beer (5% alcohol)
  • Malt liquor—8-ounces (7% alcohol)
  • Wine—5 ounces (12% alcohol)
  • Distilled spirits or liquor (rum, vodka, whiskey, etc.)—1.5 ounces; I.e., a “shot” (40% alcohol).

What happens when people drink: How alcohol affects the body

The Process:

When someone consumes an alcoholic beverage, the alcohol is carried through the bloodstream to the metabolism, where it is converted into compounds. As it is broken down, it circulates through the body, traveling to the liver, brain and heart. The small intestine absorbs the majority of the alcohol and anything left over is expelled through urine and breath. How long the metabolism process lasts depends on several factors, including a person’s gender, age, weight and ethnicity. In general, alcohol is fully metabolized in two hours.

As a person drinks, the amount of alcohol circulating in their blood hits a peak level, resulting in a feeling of euphoria (i.e, feeling “tipsy” or “drunk”). As a person’s metabolism breaks down the alcohol, the relaxed and happy feeling begins to dissipate. This is typically when sleepiness begins to set in.

Alcohol and the Liver:

The liver is the organ responsible for metabolizing alcohol. If people abuse alcohol over a long period of time, they run the risk of developing potentially deadly liver damage, such as liver inflammation or scarring.

Alcohol and the Brain:

If the liver cannot compete with a person’s alcohol consumption, all of the excess alcohol is sent to other areas of the body until the liver has time to metabolize it. When the alcohol reaches the brain, it starts affecting areas that control memory and judgment as well as areas responsible for motor skills, such as movement and speech. This is when people commonly start to slur their words, experience memory lapses, and make impulsive decisions. If someone drinks too much, too often, the brain’s frontal lobe can become damaged, which can result in a chronic memory disorder or alcohol-related dementia.

Alcohol and the Heart:

While some studies have suggested that moderate drinking may be good for the heart1, heavy drinking can elevate blood pressure, which may increase the risk of heart disease.

A brief history of alcohol use

Mankind has been using grapes, berries, honey and rice to make alcohol for thousands of years and early records suggest alcohol consumption originated in ancient Egypt, China and India2.

In its earliest incarnations, alcohol, also called “spirits”, was primarily used for medicinal purposes. By the mid 19th century in the United Kingdom, however, the recreation consumption of gin and other spirits had become so widespread, alcoholism had become a rampant problem. This resulted in a temperance movement in the 19th century, and later, prohibition.

In 1920, the United States passed prohibition laws, which banned the manufacturing or sale of all alcoholic beverages. This lasted until 1933, when the law was overturned.

Today, approximately 17 million Americans are thought to have an alcohol use disorder. 40 percent of all car accident deaths are a result of alcohol consumption.

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From moderate drinking to alcoholism: The various “types” of drinking

The various types of drinking infographic

Moderate drinking:

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans3 defines moderate drinking as:

  • For women: No more than one drink per day
  • For men: No more than two drinks per day

Heavy drinking:

According to the Centers for Disease Control, heavy drinking is defined as:

  • For men: 15 drinks or more per week
  • For women: Eight or more drinks per week

Binge drinking:

If a person regularly consumes enough alcohol to bring his or her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level to .08% or higher, he or she could be classified as a “binge drinker” according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. In general, men reach this BAC level after exceeding five or more drinks in two hours and women, four or more drinks in two hours4.

Both heavy drinking and binge drinking are unhealthy and can be considered “alcohol abuse”.


When a person transitions from abusing alcohol to becoming physically dependent on it, this is known as an alcohol use disorder, or “alcoholism”. Alcoholism is a disease that is both chronic and progressive.

Symptoms of alcoholism include:

  • Cravings for alcohol
  • An inability to control or stop drinking
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Increased tolerance to the affects of alcohol

Alcohol abuse vs. alcoholism: What’s the difference?

Though they share some of the same similarities (both can wreak havoc on a person’s personal and professional life), the biggest difference between alcohol abuse and alcohol dependency (i.e, “alcoholism”) is that those who are alcohol dependent will experience cravings to drink and withdrawal symptoms when they stop while those who are only abusing alcohol will not.

Alcohol abuse can lead to alcoholism:

If you or someone you know drinks heavily or frequently, you should note that while not every “problem drinker” becomes an alcoholic, every alcoholic was once a “problem drinker”. Alcoholism starts with alcohol abuse.

Some alcohol abuse red flags to look for include:

  • Drinking and driving
  • Legal issues, such as DUIs
  • Relationship problems that occur or are worsened by alcohol use
  • Missed work, school or family commitments due to alcohol use

A lot of young people binge drink (especially in college). What’s the difference between “just having fun” and an alcohol addiction?

Many Americans drink in college and a number of them drink heavily. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism:

Approximately 4 out 5 college students drink alcohol

Approximately 50% of college students who drink alcohol also binge drink

Because binge drinking is so common among young people in America, it can be difficult to tell the difference between “being young and irresponsible” and “having a serious problem with alcohol”. Indeed, many of the criteria that describe an alcoholic can also be used to describe a hard-partying young person, as numerous teens and young adults drink an unhealthy amount of alcohol and experience scary consequences due their excessive drinking, like blackouts and attendance issues at work or school.

However, despite its prevalence, college binge drinking does not frequently lead to alcoholism. According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Only 10.5% of binge drinkers are alcoholics.

Put another way, nearly 90 percent of people who drink excessively are not alcohol dependent.

How to tell the difference:

One of the main ways to tell the difference between “having fun” and compulsive binge drinking is to evaluate the level of control. Someone who merely enjoys drinking to excess, but isn’t dependent, will be able to drink moderately when necessary, like when they know they have a big exam or important job interview the next day. Someone with an alcohol addiction, on the other hand, will repeatedly go to the bar for “just one drink” and then wind up drinking until the bar closes, even when they promised themselves they wouldn’t. While everyone has a slip in judgment on occasion, if you or someone you know repeatedly tries and fails to drink moderately, then that is a red flag that something might be wrong. Nine times out of ten “normal drinkers”—even young and irresponsible ones—will always be able to say no to themselves when they want to. For an alcoholic, the opposite is true. Nine times out of ten, they won’t be able to say no to themselves, no matter how badly they may wish otherwise.

What are the odds of developing an alcohol use disorder?

Anyone can develop an unhealthy relationship with alcohol—even those with happy childhoods and no family history of addiction. However, studies have shown a correlation exists between certain life experiences, such as early-child trauma and teenage alcohol and tobacco use, for example, and the development of an alcohol use disorder. Though many survivors of childhood domestic abuse do not develop an alcohol use disorder and visa versa, it is one of several factors that could put you at a greater risk.

The risk factors:

  • Family history—If alcoholism runs in your family, you have a greater chance of developing an alcohol use disorder than someone who has no family history of alcohol dependency.
  • Experiencing two or more traumatic events in your childhood, including: abuse, neglect or parental abandonment.
  • Starting to drink before the age of 16.5
  • Drinking every day (1 to 2 drinks or more per day).
  • Smoking cigarettes (particularly if you started as a teenager)6
  • High levels of stress
  • A pre-existing mental health disorder (such as depression or anxiety, for instance).

Health problems associated with heavy drinking:

Whether someone is diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder or not, if they are regularly binge drinking, they can develop the following serious health problems:

  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Liver, mouth, larynx, esophagus or throat cancer
  • High blood pressure
  • Psychological disorders

Causes of Alcoholism

Like many diseases, alcoholism does not have one just one cause. Rather, alcoholism frequently develops as a result of an accumulation of interrelated causes. They are as follows:

Biological Causes

Ironically, the part of the brain that makes human beings vulnerable to addiction is the same part that once ensured the species’ survival. The human brain is hard-wired to repeat behaviors that are pleasurable and from an evolutionary standpoint, this pleasure-seeking trait has been advantageous. Humans needed to eat and procreate, for example, in order to ensure the survival of the species. For a percentage of the population, however, the neurotransmitter that fuels pleasure-seeking behavior, dopamine, is in abundant supply. The high dopamine levels mean that in order to reach “average” levels of pleasure, they must seek out ever-greater risks in order to feel normal. This, among other factors, is what makes them susceptible to addiction.

Psychological Causes

“If alcohol is causing so many problems, why can’t he (or she) just stop?” This is a question commonly asked by those who haven’t experienced an alcohol addiction first hand. The truth is, people will continue a maladaptive behavior, even if that behavior has resulted in numerous problems, including the loss of a marriage or career, so long as the perceived benefits outweigh the negatives. An alcoholic will drink because addiction—even with all of its problems—is still seen as preferable to the alternative: Coping with whatever conflict caused them to abuse alcohol in the first place. For many, that conflict may be stress, negative emotions like anxiety or depression and boredom. Some, however, may just drink in excess because it’s enjoyable.

Oftentimes, the root of the problem lies in a person’s inability to deal with uncomfortable or painful emotions or situations. They’re frightened to go to that party alone, so they drink. They’re depressed because their spouse has divorced them, so they drink. Other times, their alcoholism is one of several co-occurring mental illnesses.

Socio-Cultural Causes

When a culture tolerates or even praises excessive drinking, as is done in certain subcultures in the United Kingdom, Australia and the US, for example, alcoholism is more prevalent. A “culture” doesn’t just have to signify a country of people, however; it can signify a family unit as well. Children learn values and take social cues from the adults around them. If their parents and extended family regularly abuse alcohol, they are more likely to model that familiar behavior when they grow older.

Spiritual Causes

When a person lacks purpose and meaning in their life, they can feel disconnected from themselves and the world, putting them at risk of substance abuse7. Spirituality—which can be defined as a belief in a source of power greater than oneself, whether that be God, the Spirit or the Universe—has been thought to help foster connection and meaning. Even if spirituality is not part of someone’s belief systems, however, it is important he or she embrace a set of goals and values. Without hope and a sense of connection, a person can become vulnerable to mental illness and addiction.

The “Alcoholic Gene”: Is there such a thing?

The human genome is comprised of 100s of genes that are thought to increase the risk of a person developing an alcohol use disorder. Because each gene is responsible for an array of attributes, it can be difficult to pinpoint whether one gene is more culpable than the rest. However, researchers have been able to identify a set of genes that they believe that, when combined, can result in a higher risk for alcoholism.

“Behavioral genes”, such as genes responsible for depression, schizophrenia and other mental illnesses, may also play a role. Studies have suggested that those with mental illness have a higher likelihood of developing a substance use disorder than those who do not, in part because they are likely to use substances as a means of “self medicating”.

Stages of alcoholism:

Someone with an alcohol use disorder may not look or act like you would expect, but that does not mean they don’t have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Though they may not be drinking every day yet—the keyword being ‘yet’—if they don’t make some serious life changes, they may soon be. The following “stages of alcoholism” might help you identify whether or not you someone you know needs help.

Stage One: Pre-Alcoholic

Someone in this stage may seem like a normal, casual drinker, and in many respects, they are. Drinking is primarily limited to social functions, but as their drinking progresses, they move from social drinking to drinking as a stress reliever or as a way to soothe social anxiety. Over time, they start to build a tolerance. Eventually, they are able to consume greater quantities of alcohol without succumbing to its affects.

One way to find out if you or someone you know is in the pre-alcoholic phase is to ask the following questions:

  • Do you drink to make yourself feel better?
  • Do you drink because you want to stop worrying?
  • Do you drink to forget bad experiences?
  • Do you drink to cope with anxiety?
  • Do you drink to reduce physical pain?

Stage Two: Early Alcoholic

Someone in Stage Two has experienced at lease one “blackout” due to excessive drinking. This stage is marked by a growing discomfort with drinking and yet an irresistible attraction and drive to drink despite experiencing several negative consequences.
If you can’t tell whether you or someone you care about is an “Early Alcoholic”, ask the following questions:

  • Have you experienced a blackout?
  • Have you ever lied about how much or how often you’re drinking?
  • Do you catch yourself experiencing “obsessive thoughts” about drinking?
  • Is your tolerance to alcohol increasing?
Stages of Alcoholism Infographic

Stage Three: Middle Alcoholic

This stage is most often when friends and relatives become worried. For someone in Stage 3, hiding their alcoholism becomes harder and harder, as this is when they usually start missing work or family obligations. They will also drink in inappropriate settings and may start to experience alcohol-related health problems.

Here are some questions to ask if you think you or someone you know is experiencing Stage 3:

  • Have you drunk somewhere you knew you shouldn’t have? Such as while babysitting, driving or while at work?
  • Have you ever missed work or an important function because you were too drunk or hungover?
  • Have you noticed that you’re feeling more irritable lately? Are you fighting more often with friends and family?
  • Are you feeling sluggish and bloated? Have you lost or gained a lot of weight?
  • Have you tried to control or stop your drinking but were unsuccessful?

Stage Four: Late Alcoholic

When someone is in the late stages of alcoholism, drinking has often become an all-day/every day occurrence—and it now shows. Serious health problems may have developed, such as liver cirrhosis, and if they haven’t lost their job yet, they’re experiencing major problems at work. Their life now revolves around drinking. Everything else—friends, family, careers and even their children—now come second to alcohol.

Here are the questions to ask if you fear yourself or a loved one is experiencing late-stage alcohol addiction:

  • Has your drinking resulted in the loss of a job or relationship?
  • Have you had problems with the law, such as a DUI?
  • When you’ve stopped drinking, have you experienced tremors or hallucinations?
  • Are you feeling afraid or paranoid but can’t explain why?

Addiction Help: Can alcoholics learn to drink less?

The answer to this question lies in a wise expression often expressed in the 12-step fellowship: “Once a cucumber becomes a pickle, it can never be a cucumber again.” If you are a problem drinker (a cucumber) and haven’t transformed into an alcoholic yet (a pickle), then you may be able to stop the pattern before it’s too late. The longer you abuse alcohol, however, the higher the risk that you’ll permanently and irrevocably change the wiring in your brain. Once that happens, there’s no “un-pickling a pickle”. One drink will always turn into many and you will never be able to manage your drinking. At this point, complete abstinence is the only solution.

Is there a cure for alcoholism?

Prolonged alcohol abuse can cause the brain to be rewired to crave and depend on alcohol. It would stand to reason that if the brain can be rewired to crave alcohol that it can also be rewired not to crave it. However, though this may seem like sound logic, the brain isn’t a computer. You can’t hit “CTR-ALT-DLT” and erase those neural pathways. Research has shown that once the brain has been conditioned to a certain response, it doesn’t become unconditioned8.

To better understand this, think of chocolate cake. Did you mouth just water a little? If you like chocolate cake and you grew up in a culture where chocolate was regularly served as a tasty treat, your brain has likely been conditioned to associate positive feelings and to anticipate pleasure by the mere mention of the word. Our brain has “learned” that cake equals “delicious treat”, and no matter how much you may try to tell your brain otherwise, one look at a slice of cake when you’re feeling hungry will leave you salivating.

What to do if a friend has a drinking problem:

Educating yourself is important, as is consulting a professional. Before you confront a loved one about their drinking, it’s best to get guidance from a professional addiction specialist or interventionist.

Remember: Motivation is Key

While it’s perhaps common knowledge that “the first step is admitting you have a problem”, merely recognizing that a problem exists won’t alone solve it. In order for your loved to recover from his or her addiction, he or she needs to have sufficient motivation. occurring mental illnesses, such as depression or anxiety, might be acting as road blocks; making the addicted person unable to find the internal drive to seek help. This makes it doubly important that your loved one is treated in a holistic fashion; all of their physical, mental and emotional ailments must be addressed before they can permanently recover.

What to Say:

It’s important to remain empathetic and use “I” statements. This will prevent your loved one from becoming defensive. Some examples include:

  • “I wonder if drinking less might make you feel better.”
  • “Since you’ve started drinking more often, I’ve noticed you’ve seemed down. I’m concerned.”
  • “I thought it was awesome when you were going to the gym/class/yoga, etc. every week. What happened?”

What NOT to Say:

  • “You’re an alcoholic.” – While that may be true, your friend or relative will not be receptive to hearing that. This will just put them on the defense. It’s best to avoid labels.
  • “Can’t you see you have a problem?”—This line of questioning sounds judgmental and critical. Phrase the question like this instead: “I’ve noticed you’ve been drinking every day. What are your thoughts on that?”

Getting professional help: What are the options?

Alcohol Detoxification

If you or a loved one has been drinking heavily for a prolonged period of time, stopping cold turkey may result in serious withdrawal symptoms. This is why it’s important that you remain under the medical care of professionals at an inpatient treatment center.

Stages and symptoms of withdrawal

People who consume 10 or more beers, 12 or more glasses of wine or 10 or more shots of hard liquor every day for several months will often experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop.

Stage 1 of alcohol withdrawal:
  • Tremors—Tremors usually start eight to 12 hours after a person has stopped drinking.
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety and insomnia

These symptoms will typically last 24 hours, but sometimes they can continue or even worsen.

Stage 2 of alcohol withdrawal:
  • Hallucinations – Hallucinations commonly begin 12 to 24 hours after a person has stopped consuming alcohol. About ¼ of people dependent on alcohol will experience hallucinations when they stop drinking.
Stage 3 of alcohol withdrawal:
  • Seizures – Seizures may occur six to 48 hours after someone has stopped drinking and often involve a series of generalized seizures. It’s important to note, however, that only 10 percent of withdrawal patients experience seizures.
Stage 4 of alcohol withdrawal
  • Delirium tremens – This includes tremors, confusion, attention problems, hallucinations, fever, racing heartbeat, sweating and dilated pupils.

30 percent of people who experience withdrawal will also experience these symptoms. Left untreated, these symptoms can be life threatening. In fact, 15 percent of those who do not seek medical attention will die due to respiratory or cardiovascular problems.

Detox protocols

When someone is detoxing from a prolonged period of alcohol abuse, the standard detox protocol is as follows:

  • Step 1: Eliminating other diagnoses and substances

Because symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can often involve a fever or an altered mental state, doctors must rule out the medical issues that share those same symptoms, such as infection or internal bleeding. Conditions that can mimic the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include: Meningitis, brain or intestinal bleeding, drug overdose and liver failure, among others.

  • Step 2: Symptom management

After other diagnoses have been ruled out or addressed, medical staff begin to treat the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. The goal in this step is to manage pain levels and to prevent more severe symptoms of withdrawal from occurring. Detox clients are often given Benzodiazepines, intravenous fluids and vitamin supplements. Medical staff continually and vigilantly monitor symptoms and vital signs.

Medications frequently used:

Valium and Librium are frequently used to treat alcohol withdrawal. Ativan or Serax are used to treat clients with liver cirrhosis or accute alcoholic hepatitis.

  • Step 3: Safety monitoring

In the third stage of detox, the client is placed in a quiet and safe room for monitoring. If a client is experiencing delirium tremens, he or she may need to be restrained to prevent injury. This is only done if absolutely necessary.


While there are several medications that can be used to treat an alcohol use disorder, the medications Las Vegas Recovery Center uses are as follows:

  • Valium
  • Librium
  • Serax
  • Phenobarbital
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)

Valium and Librium are frequently used to treat alcohol withdrawal. Ativan or Serax are used to treat clients with liver cirrhosis or acute alcoholic hepatitis. Phenobarbital can be administered if a client is experiencing seizures.


Alcohol Detox Counseling

Counseling in alcohol detox

Detoxing and medication alone will not help someone who has an alcohol use disorder. People who enter a treatment center for alcohol dependency aren’t merely physically addicted to alcohol—they’re often emotionally addicted as well. Therapy can teach people new ways of coping with stress or other negative emotions so that they no longer need to depend on alcohol as an emotional crutch.

Counseling can also help people with an alcohol use disorder address any co-occurring mental illnesses they may have. Many diagnosed with addiction are also diagnosed with an anxiety or personality disorder and if untreated, these mental illnesses can lead to relapse.

Las Vegas Recovery Center approaches addiction treatment using an integrated treatment model, which is overseen by dual-diagnoses specialist Dr. Kasey Dean.

Support Groups

Support groups can help connect people with others recovering from an alcohol addiction—which can help people feel less alone and give them hope that they can survive whatever struggles lie ahead. While there are several alcohol addiction support groups to choose from, the most well known and well attended is Alcoholics Anonymous.

Las Vegas Recovery Center prescribes to the 12-step model but encourages clients to attend as many different support groups as they need to in order to find one that suits them best.

Alcohol rehab: The different types

Inpatient Care—An alcohol rehab that provides inpatient care offers residential stays at their facility. This can involve short-term treatment—28 or 29 day says—or long-term treatment—Stays lasting 60 days or longer.

Outpatient Care—Outpatient care is similar to inpatient care, in that participants attend treatment at an alcohol rehab. The only difference with outpatient care is that clients return home in the evenings instead of staying overnight. Outpatient care can range from eight hours a day, seven days a week to just a few hours a week or month.

Las Vegas Recovery Center offers both inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment services.

State-Funded programs—One of the benefits of a state-funded program is the low cost. Most are free or cost the client very little in the way of program fees. The drawback of this type of alcohol rehab, however, is the long waiting list and the lack of innovative treatment services.

Private programs—Unlike a government-funded program, a private program charges a fee for its services. Insurance companies will often cover the cost or clients can pay out of pocket. The biggest benefit of a private program is the individualized attention (they often have a low client to staff ratio) and the modern, most up-to-date treatment services.

The benefits of alcohol treatment programs:

Trying to detox and recover from an alcohol addiction at home can be incredibly difficult and, at times, dangerous. While 12-step support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous provide a supportive community and an effective recovery model, they don’t provide medical monitoring and therapeutic intervention, which may be necessary; especially for those experiencing health problems due to late-stage alcoholism or those who have repeatedly tried and failed to remain sober.

Though many get and stay sober without the help of alcohol treatment programs, the benefits of an alcohol rehab are numerous, including:

Medical monitoring

Most rehabilitation facilities, including Las Vegas Recovery Center, have a 24-hour medical staff available to assist clients in any range of medical emergencies. This is especially important for clients who may be detoxing and experiencing painful or life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.

Therapeutic intervention through integrated treatment

In order to prevent relapse, it’s important the person with the alcohol use disorder addresses any co-occurring mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression. This holistic form of treatment, which addresses all aspects of a person’s physical, mental and emotional health, is known as ‘integrated treatment’.

Las Vegas Recovery Center considers this an integral part of its addiction treatment process and has a specialist on the medical team available to diagnose and treat co-occurring disorders.

Peer support

Alcohol Treatment Peer Support

Peer support in alcohol treatment

At an alcohol rehab program, you don’t have to face recovery on your own; you’ll be one of a couple dozen people who are all in a similar situation. Even if you have nothing in common with the program’s other participants, hearing their stories of struggles and successes can often give you hope and courage to remain on the path to full recovery.

Support and education for family members

This is an important benefit, as having a united family unit can work wonders for relapse prevention. What’s more, alcohol treatment programs can help families become educated on addiction and what to do (and not do) when interacting with someone in early recovery.

Las Vegas Recovery Center provides a four-day Family Renewal Program, which helps educate relatives on the treatment process and works to repair some of the maladaptive relationship patterns that may have been formed as a result of their loved one’s addiction.

About Las Vegas Recovery Center (LVRC)

Joint Commission-Accredited

LVRC has been given the stamp of approval by the Joint Commission, an organization that gives accreditation to medical facilities both in the United States and internationally. Treatment centers that have earned a certificate of excellence from the Joint Commission have been evaluated on a set of rigorous quality standards.

10+ year history of providing holistic addiction treatment services

LVRC has over 11 years of experience treating clients from across the United States and the world. In addition to a successful alcohol treatment program, LVRC also has a world-renowned pain management program. Both are overseen by Dr. Mel Pohl, a bestselling author and distinguished addiction specialist with over 30 years of experience treating clients with alcohol and drug dependency disorders.

Professional and caring staff, many of whom are in long-term recovery

The best people to help someone struggling with addiction are the ones who’ve experienced it themselves. Many of the staff members at LVRC have attained long-term recovery, which allows them to approach each client with a deep level of empathy and understanding. Their stories can be encouraging and inspiring to clients in early recovery, as these staff members are living examples that successful recovery is possible.

Contact Us Today
Las Vegas Recovery Center is here to help. We are just a phone call or mouse click away at all times. Contact our admission counselor today! Call (800) 790-0091 or complete the below form.

By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.

Las Vegas Recovery Center’s (LVRC) approach to treatment:

Cognitive Restructuring—Las Vegas Recovery Center (LVRC)’s takes a “cognitive restructuring” approach when treating clients for an alcohol addiction. This involves teaching clients how to detach from their thoughts and showing them positive and healthy ways to cope with stress and negative emotions.

12-Step Recovery—LVRC also encourages clients to follow the twelve-step approach to recovery, both while participating in LVRC’s treatment program and as part of their aftercare program. Twelve step programs provide continued and free support clients can utilize once they leave treatment.

Comprehensive Clinical Plan—Each client is presented with an individualized, comprehensive and holistic clinical plan of treatment which involves the most current and scientific research-supported treatment practices.

LVRC’s Levels of Care

LVRC offers a variety of services to treat clients diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder. Contact us for details regarding our alcohol treatment program. Our admissions counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you may have.

Medical detox

Medically-managed detox is necessary for those who have become physically dependent on alcohol. In order to ensure the safety of its patients, LVRC provides inpatient 24-hour detox monitoring services. LVRC has an expert staff of clinicians and nurses that will sit with clients through their detox process to ensure that they do not go through it alone. LVRC also provides medications in decreasing doses to help diminish the symptoms of detox.

Inpatient rehabilitation

LVRC recommends inpatient rehabilitation for those with moderate to severe alcohol dependency. In addition to a 24-hour onsite nursing and medical staff, LVRC also has a counseling staff available to help clients with any family or emotional issues they may be experiencing. LVRC addresses common co-occurring issues such anxiety, depression or trauma through group therapy sessions and individual counseling sessions.

Some of the additional inpatient services LVRC offers include:

  • Hypnosis
  • Chiropracture
  • Physical therapy with a personal trainer
  • Reiki
  • Massage
  • Acupuncture
  • Meditation
  • A number of psychological services

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

For some, it can be difficult to leave their families and responsibilities for a 30 to 60 time period. If the LVRC medical staff deem the client fit to do so, he or she has the option of participating in LVRC’s Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP). Participants in this program attend treatment from 9am to 5pm and then return home in the evening. They have the option of either returning to their permanent residence or to one of LVRC’s group homes.

Intensive outpatient program

An outpatient program is considered “intensive” when it involves nine or more more hours per week. An intensive outpatient program (IOP), allows clients to come to treatment on a consistent basis while also attending to family and work responsibilities.

Who can IOP help?

Graduates of an inpatient program—IOP is recommended for people who have already completed an alcohol rehab inpatient program and are looking for a step-down level of care. IOP provides relapse prevention measures through group or individual counseling, drug testing and continued emotional support.

Alcohol abstinent individuals who are struggling to maintain sobriety—IOP can also be helpful for those who’ve already achieved sobriety but who may be struggling to maintain it. LVRC can teach people the skills they need to remain on the path towards successful longterm recovery.

All of the IOP programs at LVRC involve:

  • Three group sessions per week
  • One individual therapy session per week
  • Family group sessions

Group therapy sessions cover a variety of topics, including: Relapse prevention tips, how to identify triggers and how to avoid high-risk situations.

Outpatient program

LVRC offers an Outpatient Program (OP) as a final step in the treatment process and is available to those who have gone through inpatient or intensive outpatient care and are looking to transition from treatment back into the real world and integrate back into society. It is recommended for individuals who have completed both the inpatient and intensive outpatient programs.

OP is tailored to fit the needs of each individual. In general, however, OP involves:

  • One group therapy session per week
  • One individual counseling session every other week
  • Drug testing

Family renewal program

LVRC has incorporated a Family Renewal Program in order to help educate friends, family members and even employers on the addiction and how they might be able to help their loved one through their journey to recovery. The family renewal program is not just limited to the friends and family of current LVRC clients; anyone in the community can participate.


1. The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). (2016, February 18). Light-to-moderate drinking good for your heart. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 24, 2016 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160218060941.htm

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