No party is complete without drugs or alcohol. Drinking one or two glasses of wine or beer occasionally is understandable. The real problem arises when alcohol is taken in excess. Drug or alcohol abuse typically leads to issues at work, home and school, and society. Basically, both the substances can be addictive and it is not true that everyone who consumes alcohol will become addicted. But, some people may be more susceptible to addiction. It should be kept in mind that alcohol addiction and abuse are not the same.
Alcohol actually depresses the brain, slurs speech, and decreases muscle control and coordination, which may lead to alcoholism or alcohol addiction. Some people start consuming it just for fun, enjoyment and as a stress reduction method. But if, this occasional drinking turns into a permanent habit, then it is said that the person is an alcoholic.
Alcohol addiction is a serious medical condition.Moreover, continuous consumption of alcohol disrupts the lives of users and their families. According to the World Health Organization, about 140 million people throughout the world suffer from alcoholism. It has also been reported that in the United States alone, 10 to 20 % of men and 5 to 10 % of women got addicted to alcohol at some point in their lives.
Signs of alcoholism:
It is a saying that excess of anything is bad. This simply applies in the case of alcohol because untreated alcohol usage may progress to addiction, which is characterized by dependency and inability to stop consumption despite serious problems. Signs and symptoms of alcohol dependence that also proves you are an alcoholic:
- Drinking more alcohol than you wanted to and also for a longer time than you intended.
- Reduced attention to personal and professional responsibilities
- Persistent efforts and desire to stop alcohol use.
- Spending a lot of time in drinking and recovering from the hangover effectsAlso
Quitting alcohol addiction:
Drinking too much alcohol on a single occasion or over time can take a serious toll on your health. Isn’t that reason enough to kick the habit? Stopping alcohol abuse is important because alcohol withdrawal is a life-threatening condition that occurs in people who have been drinking heavily for weeks, months, or years. Moreover, alcohol withdrawal can cause anxiety, irregular heartbeat, and hallucinations. In some severe cases withdrawing alcohol combined with malnutrition may lead to a life-threatening condition called delirium tremens (DTs). The mortality rate from DTs is characterized by confusion, rapid heartbeat, and fever, which is estimated to 1% to 5%.
Basically, regular use of alcohol leads to addiction, leading to damage of the liver, heart and pancreas. But, quitting alcohol may help drinkers in living a better life. Yes, heavy drinkers think that quitting is impossible for them. But it is not, if they are ready to quit drinking and willing to get support they need, they can recover from alcoholism. Below are various tips on giving up alcohol:
- Find alternatives– In order to stop the urge for drinking, you may fill free time by developing new and healthy activities, hobbies, and renewing relationships.
- Avoid triggers- Change the place and your group that triggers your urge to drink. Plan something else or new to avoid the triggers. Perhaps, you can avoid restaurants that sell alcohol. Bars and pubs are a strict no.
Treating alcohol addiction needs willpower and patience. Some people stop drinking on their own, while others need medical help. Generally, treatment for alcoholism can begin only after the drinker accepts that the problem exists and decides to stop drinking on his own. Treatment involves various stages, these are:Deification (detox):
Alcohol detoxification is an important step in the management of alcoholism. During this stage, the patient is administered under the supervision of a doctor or a medical team, who supervises the period of alcohol withdrawal to control the withdrawal symptoms. Basically, detoxification is needed immediately after discontinuing alcohol usage, as detox may result in withdrawal seizures like hallucinations, delirium tremens (DT), and in some cases may cause death.
Medications involving Benzodiazepines, anti-anxiety drugs are used to treat withdrawal symptoms like anxiety and insomnia. These help in preventing seizures and delirium. Benzodiazepines are the most effective and frequently preferred medications during the detox phase.
Alcohol rehab programs:
Rehabilitation centres run various programs and counselling. This step in treatment can be done inpatient or outpatient.
- Rehab programs offer alcohol detox and rehab on an inpatient basis in specialized units like hospitals and clinics.
- Partial hospitalization or day treatment involves four to eight hours of treatment a day at a hospital or clinic. This treatment is best for people with supportive family and a stable home environment.
- Outpatient programs run at hospitals, community mental health clinics, and residential facilities to give the recovering alcoholics the skills which are needed for maintaining sobriety.
- Intensive outpatient programs require 9 to 20 hours of treatment a week, which lasts one year. This rehab stage works best for people with supportive families and friends.
Recovery period is an important phase in every quitter’s life. Rehab or professional treatment educates you about the ill-effects of alcohol and suggests hobbies and personal counselling sessions to curb the habit. Recovering alcoholics can follow the below mentioned steps:
- The first and foremost step is taking care of yourself by preventing mood swings and cravings. Concentrate on eating right and getting plenty of sleep. Moreover, exercise is the best option, which helps in releasing endorphins and promotes emotional well-being.
- Keep motivating yourself by joining self-help groups and developing hobbies.
- Continuous treatment, and support groups like alcoholics anonymous may improve your chances of staying sober.
Quitting alcohol completely or cutting down alcohol consumption can bring about a positive change in your lifestyle. Additionally, in the long run, quitting may help in reducing the risk of developing cancer, liver or heart disease and also lowering your blood pressure.
If you happen to know anyone who’s struggling with alcoholism, then please share this blog with them. Also, post comments in case you have any health queries.