Alcohol addiction is probably the most common type of addiction and one that is prevalent across the world. Alcoholism is described as a disease or a condition in which the individual cannot function normally without the regular consumption of alcohol. The dependence or addiction could be psychological or physical or both. In severe cases or prolonged abuse of alcohol a physical dependence is most likely to be present. Alcoholism is highly problematic because it can even be life threatening in severe cases. Moreover, alcoholism doesnt just affect the alcoholic. It poses a threat to the family members, co-workers and society at large because of the behavioral changes that it can cause and other effects.
In cultures that are more liberal, alcoholism can be a lot more prevalent and problematic, and it is believed that up to 13% of all adult Americans experience some form of alcohol abuse or dependence. The treatment of alcoholism is challenging not just because of social factors and attitudes, but also because alcoholism creates a dependence and the effects of withdrawal can be a lot more sever than those narcotic drugs or even heroin.
Alcoholism is recognized as a problem when alcohol abuse interferes with and begins to affect your health, your abilities to perform at work and causes failure to meet other social and household obligations. It could also be a problem when you feel compelled to consume alcohol or begin to consume alcohol even in situations in which it may be hazardous not just to you but to others as well such as while driving or operating heavy machinery. Alcoholism and alcohol abuse can also cause legal problems and can severely damage social relationships with family members, co-workers and other members of society at large.
Alcohol dependence is a lot more severe and could include changes to tolerance levels, with a need for higher consumption to achieve the same results. When there is dependence, any withdrawal can cause symptoms like nausea, sweating, vomiting, hallucinations, anxiety or even seizures. Alcohol dependence may also involve a loss of control over consumption to the extent that you drink for longer periods than planned or consume more than intended. You may also find it difficult or impossible to cut down or abstain from alcohol despite the desire to do so.
Treatment for alcoholism will always depend on the severity of the problem and could accordingly require complete abstinence or significantly reduced consumption of alcohol. No treatment for alcoholism can be truly successful if the individual does not recognize and accept the presence of a problem. Counseling and therapy are therefore essential aspects of treatment. The support of family members and loved ones can also make a huge difference to treatment and recovery.
You would notice these symptoms if afflicted with alcoholism:
If the individual also suffers from alcohol dependence, you may notice some of these symptoms:
There is no specific cause for alcoholism as it is not a disease in the typical sense, but a dependence. There are certain conditions that could increase susceptibility to alcoholism however. One of the main risk factors could be heredity, but the risk is also influenced by your drinking habits:
The risks of alcohol abuse may also increase in certain situations or scenarios:
Treatment depends on various factors particularly the level of dependence. If the individual simply consumes excessive amounts of alcohol, but has not alcohol dependence it may suffice to abstain for a period and cut down to moderate drinking. If there is a problem of alcohol dependence, either physical or psychological, the patient would need to quit alcohol for good. Complete abstinence would be the end goal of treatment. This can be extremely hard to achieve and the alcoholic needs to realize and accept the presence of the problem and accordingly seek and accept help. The support of friends and family members is most important for this. The scope of medical treatment in dealing with alcoholism is limited but necessary. Quitting alcohol can pose several health complications because of severe withdrawal symptoms. For this reason a complete withdrawal from alcohol is best achieved in a controlled and supervised environment. Some of the complications from alcohol withdrawal can be life threatening, so do not attempt treating alcoholism at home.
There are no real home remedies for alcoholism, but many of the accepted approaches to treatment of alcoholism involve natural methods, primarily with lifestyle and behavioral modifications:
Relaxation techniques and lifestyle modifications should form the basis of any home treatment plan and some strategies that could help include:
There is no diet for alcoholism that can help to cure the dependence or reverse the damage caused. Modifications to your diet can however help to reduce the risk of damage. Alcohol abuse poses a particular risk to the liver, with liver cirrhosis and cancer of the liver being prevalent among alcoholics. A healthy diet will not help to correct the damage to the liver, as this is for the most part irreversible, but it can help to restrict the damage and possibly delay or prevent the onset of cirrhosis. A healthy diet will also help to strengthen your body and protect it to a small extent against other health conditions that may be brought on by alcohol abuse.
Quitting alcohol is just half the battle, as staying sober can be a lot harder. Support groups like alcoholics anonymous can help greatly and members share experiences and offer encouragement to others struggling with an alcohol abuse problem.