Treatment of Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism – Get the Help You Need
Alcoholism is a very serious illness that worsened over the past decades to a high degree. This is because addiction does not appear immediately but gradually. Many people who have become alcoholics do not understand the seriousness of the situation, they do not recognize the fact that they are sick. After all, until recently they could easily be limited to a bottle of beer in the evening in front of the TV, then this became not enough.
Alcoholism is dangerous not only because it leads to the degradation of the individual, to the loss of human values and the integrity of the individual, to an almost vegetative way of being. This is a serious disease because the longer the experience of abuse, the more the body is destroyed. There are frequent cases when internal life support systems are so damaged that it leads to disability or even death. Therefore, it is important to diagnose the disease and begin treatment as soon as possible.
The origin of the disease is multifactorial. Men suffer from alcoholism more often when women, however, women can equally be affected by the disease.
Risk factors of alcoholism include:
- Hereditary predisposition;
- Age under 35 years;
- Psychosocial factors: emotional stress;
- An incomplete family, a negative parental example, a negative socio-cultural influence (the availability of alcoholic beverages, advertising, negative examples of idols, etc.);
- Personality disorder (asocial, borderline, schizoid, anxious, constitutionally depressive, dependent), post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, organic brain pathology, oligophrenia.
What are the signs and symptoms of chronic alcoholism?
- Binge drinking;
- Loss of control over the amount of alcohol consumed;
- Increased tolerance to alcohol (that is, the dose required to satisfy a craving for alcohol is constantly increasing);
- Withdrawal symptoms (morning hangover). It is accompanied by an irresistible desire to take alcohol. The mood becomes gloomy and tense, depression appears. A hangover is accompanied by nausea, increased pressure, body temperature; increased heart rate, trembling limbs. A hostile attitude toward all external stimuli, including light;
- Loss of gag reflexes when drinking large volumes of alcohol;
- Partial memory loss (retrograde amnesia), in which patients cannot remember what happened during the intoxication, as well as before or after drinking.
Watch a video to learn the top 5 signs of alcoholism in 2 minutes:
What happens if you drink every day?
The constant consumption of alcohol leads to a serious illness – alcoholism or alcohol dependence, which is based on chronic poisoning of the body with alcohol. This chronic poisoning gradually forms a mental and physical dependence on alcohol and causes pathology of the internal organs, metabolic disorders, central and peripheral nervous systems, mental and personality degradation.
How alcohol affects internal organs:
- Alcohol destroys the liver (the main function of the liver is the neutralization of all substances that are absorbed in the stomach and intestines): as a result of the constant toxic effects of alcohol, liver inflammation occurs – alcoholic hepatitis, then a large number of liver cells die and liver cirrhosis develops. Cirrhosis is one of the common causes of death in patients with alcoholism;
- Alcohol damages the pancreas, causing acute as well as chronic pancreatitis. Patients with acute pancreatitis are hospitalized urgently since surgical intervention is often required to save the patient’s life;
- Alcohol affects the heart, causes arrhythmias, arterial hypertension, disrupts the metabolism in the cells of the heart muscle, while some of the cells die and myocardial dystrophy develops (decrease in heart weight);
- Alcohol reduces immunity (the body’s ability to defend itself against infections), so drinkers often get pneumonia, purulent, infectious diseases;
- Alcohol causes changes in the skin. Everyone knows the “red noses of alcoholics”;
- Alcohol destroys the peripheral nervous system. This is manifested by an uncertain slow tread, staggering, and trembling of the fingers;
- Alcohol leads to impotence, damage to germ cells, as a result, children are born with various disorders in physical and mental development, with various internal and external deformities.
Stages of alcoholism
There are three stages of alcoholism.
At this stage, a person develops a habit to drink alcohol in order to forget about troubles and hardships, facilitate contact with others, and relax. A person is constantly looking for an occasion, an appropriate company to drink. A person is losing control over the amount of alcohol drunk: he or she cannot stop and reaches a state of extreme intoxication. In addition, at this stage, the person lowers the threshold of sensitivity to alcohol, that is, in order to achieve the desired level of intoxication, he or she needs a dose of 2-3 times more than before. The gag reflex, which is the protective mechanism of the body, disappears. When drunk, a person ceases to control him/herself, often commits reckless acts, and later cannot remember what happened to him/her the day before. After alcohol abuse, the mood deteriorates, a person suffers from sweating, palpitations, and sometimes hand tremors.
looks_twoPhysical DependenceRegular alcohol abuse leads to a change in the biochemical processes of the body. As a result of regular abuse, alcohol becomes necessary for the body normal functioning. At this stage, there appear signs of an alcoholic hangover. A person in a state of hangover experiences a lot of unpleasant sensations – headache, nausea, sweating, palpitations, anxiety, trembling fingers. In order to alleviate the condition, a person uses alcohol again.
Since the onset of a hangover, a person is considered terminally ill. The only measure that can stop the disease is a complete rejection of alcohol in any form.
The practice can be repeated for several days – 3 days or more. When sober, a person experiences mental disorders, headache, thirst, loss of appetite, muscle tremors, irritability, aggression.
looks_3Personality DegradationA person becomes indifferent to relatives and friends, neglects the most basic rules of morality and ethics, and indifferently refers to his or her behavior. The memory is deteriorating, the intellect is declining. At this stage, people begin to drink anything that contains alcohol. Drinking is constant (daily) or is ex-pressed in heavy drinking, which ceases due to a sharp deterioration in the physical condition and often requires medical assistance. A person can simply die without treatment. At this stage, the changes that have occurred in the internal organs are irreversible. Alcohol has already completely destroyed their normal functions.
By the way, some health experts distinguish 5 stages of being an alcoholic. Watch a video about 5 stages of alcoholism:
Alcohol addiction treatment
Treatment for alcoholism includes a complex of measures, which includes both drug therapy and non-drug methods. In some cases, the use of drugs may not be possible, for example, due to medical contraindications. In this case, psychological coding is used, in which the patient is told that the consumption of alcohol is a threat to his or her life. Using hypnosis, specialists cause feelings of nausea and vomiting, which later arise in a person from the smell of alcohol. Psychological treatment also includes acupuncture, exposure to biologically active parts of the body through massage or cauterization. Positive results are given by attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
Psychologists also recommend watching movies about alcoholism addiction and how to support an alcoholic:
- Trainwreck (2015)
- Smashed (2012)
- The Lost Weekend (1945)
- A Star Is Born (2018)
- Notorious (1946)
- Flight (2012)
- Days of Wine and Roses (1962)
- When A Man Loves A Woman (1994)
- Krisha (2016)
- The Spectacular Now (2013)
- 28 Days (2000)
- Clean & Sober (1988)
- Crazy Heart (2009)
- Half Nelson (2006)
- Rachel Getting Married (2008)
- The Panic in Needle Park (1971)
- Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
- Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
How to avoid alcoholism?
If you do not have signs of alcoholism but you drink alcohol often and a lot – make a decision to reduce the amount of alcohol and reasons for drinking. Do not let the situation go out of control if you care about your family, work, and your health.
- Avoid companies that consume large amounts of alcohol;
- Control the amount of alcohol you drink;
- Feel free to refuse if you are offered a drink;
- Learn to relax in other (non-alcoholic) ways: do sports, creativity, tourism or other pleasant business.
If you or someone close to you has signs of alcoholism, urgently consult a doctor! It is very difficult to cope with the disease without medical attention.