Our lives are a collection of experiences. Some days are fulfilling while others are difficult…
- There are over 3 million deaths every year that result from harmful consumption of alcohol. That is about 5.3% of all annual global deaths.
- Alcoholism is linked to over 200 known diseases.
- In America, 6 people die every day from the effects of drinking too much and alcohol poisoning.
In medical terms, alcoholism is a condition where an individual is unable to control the amount of alcohol intake. It is considered to be an impairment of the normal functioning of the human body, especially the brain.
There is no known method of instantly dealing with alcoholism, but time has allowed for research and enough studies around the world to the effect that alcoholism can be managed and even ended.
Before examining the possible treatments of alcoholism, it is crucial that you first understand the symptoms.
Symptoms of Alcoholism
Alcoholics never accept that they have a problem right away on their own. As far as they are concerned, they are consuming what they are used to.
A person can be described as an alcoholic if they display any of the following symptoms;
- they drink more and for a much longer time than they initially intended to. It never occurs to them that they are past the limit.
- they have tried, unsuccessfully, to cut down on their drinking and instead only increased the frequency.
- they are perpetually in a drunken state. Always experiencing hangovers no matter the time of the day.
- the consumption of alcohol starts affecting their daily lives; This includes their work, school, and even interactions at home.
- they always turn to drinking when faced with even the smallest of problems. Alcohol becomes their refuge.
- When they start shedding weight because of eating less, being restless, hallucinations, nausea when sober, and general shakiness.
So how do you deal with alcoholism?
Below is a detailed outline of tested and tried methods that can help reduce or even end the condition.
Detoxification rids your body of impurities that make you function below normal standards. People suffering from alcoholism are advised to stop drinking to give their body the time to get clean naturally: this usually takes time.
Alcohol detoxification involves three stages;
- Intake: The stage where doctors analyze the patient and do an extensive review of their condition, their history with drugs, and other vital information. Being able to understand the situation helps them to plan the detox regiment properly.
- Medication: The drugs administered in this stage are purely for countering brutal withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol withdrawal is harsh, especially for a first-time patient.
- Stabilization: The final stage of detoxification that helps the patient attain a balance in their body as the effects of withdrawal start to wear off.
See a Therapist
The brain of an alcoholic person is always tuned to seek alcohol at the slightest hint of distress. To beat this, a new way of dealing with that distress has to be created. Addiction Therapy can help you change the traits that trigger the need to drink.
They also teach you new ways of dealing with stress as well as ways to avoid stress triggers. A therapist is like a support system that you can lean on when you feel yourself slipping back. They help you to set new goals to reach so that you have less free time that may make your brain start wandering.
As earlier mentioned, there is no wonder drug that makes alcoholism disappear like flue overnight. However, there are medications that significantly boost the chances of being free of alcohol permanently. There are three widely used drugs that have proved to be effective in most cases, they are;
- Disulfiram: The drug makes a person feel nauseous to the point of throwing up if they so much as catch a whiff of alcohol. Essentially, the drug blocks the processing of alcohol in the body, forcing it to reject it.
- Acamprosate: The drug helps with reducing alcohol cravings. However, it is used by people who have stopped taking alcohol. It cannot work for people who are still actively engaged in the consumption of alcohol.
- Naltrexone: Naltrexone blocks the feeling of euphoria, the high you get when you consume opiates. It is not practical for active users of alcohol.
Join a Group
The chances of getting over alcoholism reduce significantly if you are handling it on your own. Being part of a support group that has other people with a similar condition gives you a feeling of familiarity. The feeling that you are not alone in this.
Programs like Alcoholics Anonymous help people get back on track. Completing the small milestones of being sober may seem insignificant to an outsider, but to people battling with alcoholism, they are huge achievements. Doing it in a group makes it even more worthwhile.
Tips to Consider When Seeking Help
When dealing with alcoholism, nothing is guaranteed. It may take many attempts at getting clean before one finally gets their life back together. To increase the chances of getting better, here are some tips you have to consider.
Choose a Facility That Knows Their Stuff
There are many rehabilitation facilities strewn allover. Some are private, and some are run by the government. Take time to gauge a facility and its programs before committing yourself or a loved one. Rehabilitation requires close attention that is tailor-made for every patient.
Manage Your Expectations
Treating alcoholism is a long and painful process. Deciding to take the step to seek help is one thing; getting it done is another matter. Tamper your expectations to avoid disappointment. It is easy to relapse in the face of disappointment. Treatment could take years.
Prepare Yourself for Relapse
Relapsing is part of the process, and it happens to almost everyone trying to control their addictions. It would help if you kept in mind that relapsing does not signal the failure of the treatment program. There are ways in place to deal with relapsing; you have to find what works best for you.
Government-run rehabilitation centers are usually free, and if they charge anything, it is never that much. But in the spirit of being honest, they are never up to standards. For the best results, you may need to check yourself into a private facility. They cost considerably high. Work within your budget and get the best help you can afford.
Choosing a facility that is far away from your area of residence is recommended. The reason behind this is that the further you are away from triggers and bad influences, the faster your chances of recovery. The last thing you would want is to walk out of the facility and the first thing you see is your best friend passed out in front of your local bar.
The Bottom Line
Alcoholism is a big problem in every society in the world. It does not merely affect one person; its effects will always spill over to the people around you—your family, friends, and job. There is nothing shameful in wishing to put a stop to it. The best time to get help is now, not later.