A chronic disease characterized by uncontrolled drinking and preoccupation with alcohol.
Is alcoholism as Bad as Drug Addiction?
Physical dependence on alcohol that results in withdrawal symptoms is one alcoholism definition. If someone you know is displaying signs of alcohol dependence, it could be an indication that the person is suffering from alcoholism and needs rehabilitation. The term defines ingrained habits of drinking that cause both social and health problems. Treatment for alcohol addiction includes lifestyle changes and avoiding all alcohol. In extreme cases, hospitalization may be required. Alcohol dependence has serious effects on the liver, brain, and other parts of the body. It can be fatal. If you or someone you know is dependent on alcohol, a rehabilitation center for addicts will most likely start them on the road to a new life.
- Very common, more than 3 million US cases per year
- Can’t be cured, but treatment may help
- Usually self-diagnosable
- Lab tests or imaging not required
- Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong
Alcohol is so socially acceptable in the United States that many addicts do not recognize their problem. Intervening loved ones or close friends can help them understand the need for professional help and rehabilitation. If you know someone who drinks excessively, talk to a professional at Best Drug Rehabilitation for the best approach and advice on how to get help. Treatment may include intervention, individual drug counseling and group counseling, outpatient, or residential inpatient treatment.
Alcoholism is a Disease
Alcoholism is not only a serious addiction, but it is also a disease. The cravings that an alcohol addict feels are as strong as the craving for water or food. Most alcoholics will drink regardless of their physical health, family, or legal problems. The disease is chronic and will usually follow a predictable course. While the disease is not inherited, the risk for developing alcoholism is influenced by a person’s genes and lifestyle. Research has proven that alcoholism does run in families, partially because of recurring patterns such as lifestyles, stress, and availability of alcohol.
A family pattern of alcoholism does not mean that someone will most likely become an alcoholic. Many alcoholics have no other family members who are addicted to alcohol. Knowing there is a risk could help some take the necessary steps to protect themselves from developing a problem.
A Lifetime of Addiction
Alcoholism cannot be cured, and an addict must guard them against relapse throughout life. Alcoholism can be treated with professional counseling and rehabilitation much like any other drug addiction. Without the proper treatment, most alcoholics are unsuccessful at breaking the cycle of addiction.
Determining whether there is a problem is the first step. If you are addicted to alcohol, cutting back will not be effective. Stop all use of alcohol and seek treatment for the disease. There are several forms of treatment available and most follow specific steps to recovery.
- Detoxification and withdrawal– Treatment always begins detox programs, and it generally takes up to a week. Medication may be needed during this time to prevent confusion, hallucinations, and shaking. Detox should be done at a recovery center or hospital.
- Establishing a treatment plan- This also will require professionals and counselors to assist in the goal setting process, behavior techniques, and self-help education to set a plan for success.
- Counseling Sessions- Therapy may include group and individual counseling sessions to help better understand alcoholism and the recovery process. Many find family or couples counseling beneficial in the recovery.
- Continued support- many aftercare groups support and help those recovering from alcohol addiction. The support groups also help manage possible relapses and cope with the lifestyle changes the alcoholic will likely experience.
- Emotional Help- This may be needed since many alcoholics suffer emotional health disorders. Talk therapy and professional counseling will help treat the depression and anxiety that a recovering alcoholic usually experiences.
- Other health problems– These can and will accompany alcoholism, including high blood sugar, high blood pressure, heart and liver disease. Many conditions improve after alcohol treatment, but it may be necessary to seek medical advice and treatment for specific physical ailments.
- Spiritual healing- This may also be helpful to the recovering alcoholic. Some regular spiritual counseling is useful since it helps the addict gain a better insight into their spiritual side, using it to gain strength and understanding.