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 doesn’t 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.

Symptoms of Alcoholism

You would notice these symptoms if afflicted with alcoholism:

  • The individual continues to drink despite the harm caused to health, family and career.
  • What was once social or recreational drinking becomes habitual, to the extent that you even drink alone.
  • Violent or emotional outbursts whilst drinking
  • Hostile and defensive when confronted about drinking
  • Inability to restrict and moderate alcohol consumption
  • Shirk responsibilities and commitments to school, college or work because of alcohol consumption
  • Loss of interest in social activities and hobbies that one was formerly interested in
  • Neglecting diet and food intake
  • Neglecting appearance and hygiene
  • Consuming alcohol on the sly or in hiding
  • A need to consume alcohol practically daily
  • Shaking or shivering in the morning when you do not consume alcohol

If the individual also suffers from alcohol dependence, you may notice some of these symptoms:

  • Memory loss or blackouts after bouts of heavy drinking
  • Increased tolerance that requires higher dosage of alcohol to achieve the same high
  • The experience of withdrawal symptoms if no alcohol has been consumed for a while
  • Alcohol influenced diseases like cirrhosis of the liver

Causes of Alcoholism

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:

  • Men who consume 15 or more 12 ounce beer bottles in a week.
  • Women who consume 15 or more 12 ounce beer bottles in a week.
  • Even if you do not drink daily, consuming five or more drinks in a single session of drinking per week could also be considered a risk factor.

The risks of alcohol abuse may also increase in certain situations or scenarios:

  • Adolescents and young adults subjected to peer pressure
  • If you suffer from depression, severe stress, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
  • If you have easy access to alcohol
  • Suffer from low self esteem and a lack of confidence
  • Have troubled relationships
  • Grow up in a culture in which attitudes towards alcohol are liberal and accepted
  • Remedies for Alcoholism

    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:

    • Counseling: This is one of the most important aspects of treatment and may also help the family cope with and better understand the recovery process and life as an alcoholic. Family counseling is in fact very important as the support and encouragement of family has a huge influence on the outcome.
    • Psychological Treatment: alcoholism often surfaces in individuals afflicted with other emotional or mental health problems that could include anxiety or depression. Treatment of the underlying cause is therefore vital to an effective cure.
    • Relaxation techniques and lifestyle modifications should form the basis of any home treatment plan and some strategies that could help include:

    • Yoga: Yoga will not just help you get physically fit, but it is also extremely relaxing and can help to counter stress and manage difficult situations.
    • Meditation: Meditation is one of the most relaxing experiences and will help you to better focus on your goals and strengthen your will power and resolve.
    • Hypnotherapy: Hypnotherapy has been found to be extremely effective in the treatment of various psychological conditions and also for substance abuse and dependence.

    Diet for Alcoholism

    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.

    • Include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. Fruits like peaches, oranges, kiwi fruit and carrots, and green leafy vegetables offer a healthy intake of vitamin C and E and are rich in antioxidants. This can help restrict damage to some extent.
    • Include some lean meats like skinless chicken and turkey or fish in your diet for a healthy protein intake. Soybeans and lentils are good sources of protein for vegetarians.
    • Essential fatty acids are also important nutrients for an alcoholic, so it may help to include oily fish like salmon or mackerels in your diet.
    • Make it a point to consume whole grain foods like brown rice, oats and whole wheat pasta as this will help regulate blood glucose levels and counter the risk of type 2 diabetes.

    Suggestion for Alcoholism

    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.


    1. Mastronardi V. [Breaking the drinking habits of alcoholics with hypnosis. Psychological and technical dynamisms]. Minerva Med. 1980 Apr 28;71(17):1265-7. Italian. PubMed PMID: 7375050.
    2. Vedamurthachar A, Janakiramaiah N, Hegde JM, Shetty TK, Subbakrishna DK, Sureshbabu SV, et al. Antidepressant efficacy and hormonal effects of sudarshana kriya yoga (SKY) in alcohol dependent individuals. J Affect Dis. 2006;94:249–53.
    Alcoholism Treatments - more information
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    4 Alcoholism remedies suggested by our users
    Total Abstinance One Day At A Time
    suggested by Christine on Wednesday, March 19, 2008

    It is absolute rubbish to believe that there is any form of remedy for an alcoholic. The only known help which definitely works if you work it, is, Alcoholics Anonymous. The fellowship is in every country of the world. Just look it up in your city phone book and you will find a telephone number to call for help and for information about AA Meetings. It is working for me when no other 'remedy' could. It would be so nice to think a bunch of apples, grapes or celery, or other food or drinks could "cure" Alcoholism. Alcoholism is a disease for which there is no treatment in the form of food, pills or drinks. Naltrexone is one form of drug given to alleviate the cravings for alcohol, but it doesn't work for ever, and the patient must have support and understanding and follow a program to improve their outlook on life to have much of a chance of staying sober. Vitamin B is certainly a great help as is plentiful fresh water. We must also learn to read labels on all food and drinks as even the slightest dose of alcohol in any form, will more likely than not, set off a severe craving for more. Diligence is a must. Love in the fellowship to all who need it. Sober and Loving it....Christine A

    AA WORKS one day at a time
    suggested by BBC Keith on Friday, February 8, 2008

    I know AA WORKS because it has done so for me for over 32 YEARS ONE DAY AT A TIME!It has saved my life and I no longer sleep by dustbins! Thank God it's Free, and so am I

    suggested by BRIAN on Monday, January 7, 2008

    Totally abstain from consuming alcohol. Join A.A (Alcoholic Anonymous) it is the only real long term answer.

    The Real Deal
    suggested by [unspecified] on Wednesday, December 5, 2007

    To think that a diet of grapes, apples, or sucking a lemon will help treat alcoholism is preposterous. "Firm willingness" to stop drinking will also NOT help a true alcoholic. Alcoholism is not about "will power" or diet issues. It is a progressive disease and can only be 'cured' by total ABSTINENCE. Since alcoholism consists of a craving for alcohol and compulsion to drink in spite of past consequences of drinking, the most SUCCESSFUL way to treat it is with the support of other fellow recovering alcoholics in a structured spiritual (non-religious) program that is life long and life changing. And there are plenty of alcoholics without puffy faces, bloodshot eyes, and raspy voices.