Alcohol and Alcoholism

An addiction to alcohol includes both a physical and mental or psychological dependency on alcohol. A physical addiction will include a build up of tolerance for alcohol and an actual physical craving or dependence on the substance.

You can learn more about the physical issues and alcoholism in the following article: Physical Issues and Alcoholism

A mental of psychological dependence includes using alcohol to “make it through the day, in social situations, or to avoid life or physical cravings for alcohol.

In the Effects of Alcoholism article you can learn more about the effects alcoholism has.

Alcoholism addiction treatment is an application of planned procedures to identify and change patterns of behavior that are maladaptive, destructive or injurious to a person’s health. The intent is to restore appropriate levels of physical, psychological or social functioning. Alcoholism addiction treatment can include behavior modification, medications or their combination.

  • How to Support Alcohol Recovery
  • The basic goals for treatment in an alcoholism addiction treatment program are as follows:
  • Maximizing the addict’s motivation for abstinence.
  • Rebuilding an alcohol-free lifestyle.
  • Maximizing the physical and mental health of the alcoholic.

There are 12 principles for effective addiction treatment that one must consider when choosing an alcohol addiction treatment center.

  • No single treatment for alcoholism is appropriate for all individuals.
  • Treatment for alcoholism needs to be readily available.
  • Effective alcoholism treatment attends to the multiple needs of the alcoholic.
  • Remaining in treatment for an adequate period of time is critical for alcoholism treatment effectiveness.
  • Individual, group and family counseling and other behavioral therapies are critical components of effective treatment for alcoholism.
  • Medications can be an important element of treatment for some substances.
  • Addicted or alcohol abusing individuals with coexisting mental disorders should have both disorders treated in an integrated fashion.
  • Detoxification is only the first stage of alcohol addiction treatment.
  • Treatment does not have be voluntary in order to be effective.
  • Possible alcohol or drug use during treatment should be monitored continuously.
  • Treatment programs should provide assessment for sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Recovering from an addiction to alcohol is a lifelong process.

There are a variety of treatment options available for alcoholism. Treatment should be tailored to the specific needs of the alcoholic and will vary by setting, duration and intensity. There are two general types of treatment available for alcoholism which include residential/inpatient and outpatient programs.

Residential or inpatient programs refer to a variety of treatments that take place in a residential or clinical/hospital setting. Due to the intensive nature of these types of programs, inpatient or residential treatment may be most helpful to patients who do not respond well to lesser measures.

Outpatient programs use approaches that permit the rehabilitation of the alcoholic in their real-life settings. Outpatient treatment typically costs less than inpatient treatment and is considered to be more suitable for those individuals who are employed and have extensive social or familial support. These low-intensity programs may offer little more than education on alcoholism; other models, such as intensive day treatment programs, can be very comparable to a residential treatment setting. In most outpatient programs, group counseling is emphasized.

Therapeutic Communities are a special type of inpatient program, which are highly structured and require residents to stay 6-12 months. Patients who are typically enrolled in this type of program are individuals who have a relatively long history of alcohol abuse and seriously impaired social functioning. Therapeutic Communities view alcohol and drug abuse as deviant behavior and their principal aim is a global change in lifestyle for the alcoholic.

Within both the inpatient and outpatient programs, several methods of treatment exist including:

  • Network therapy
  • Detoxification
  • Group therapy
  • Relapse prevention
  • Education
  • Life skills
  • Workforce development

Overall, the best treatment programs for alcoholics are comprehensive and multidimensional. Effective programs need to offer a wide variety of treatment options and support services. If all of the above factors are considered, alcohol rehabilitation can be very successful.

Alcoholism effects everything and everybody in contact with the addict.

Alcoholism is a social disease the effects everyone in society. Alcoholics become dangerous on the road and unreliable at work. Many alcoholics start off as a social drinker.

Many people abuse alcohol socially but are not alcoholics or addicted to alcohol. Read more in our When do social drinkers become alcoholics?

Alcohol Trends

What family members need to know about alcohol addiction

The first thing family members need to realize about alcohol addiction is that it’s not your fault. No family member is responsible for a loved one’s descent into alcohol addiction any more than they could be responsible for his recovery. The choice to drink alcohol to excess and the choice to enter alcohol addiction treatment are both conscious decisions the alcoholic must make.

The second thing family members must remember is that, more often than not, the alcohol addiction problem stems from some greater, deeper personal problem. This could be a poor self-image and lack of self-respect, feelings of inadequacy or simply depression. All these contributing causes of alcohol addiction are also symptoms proliferated by the alcohol addiction. The cycle of addiction is vicious, causing so much pain that the alcohol addiction escalates as an anecdote for that pain.

The third thing family members need to know is they will use you. It is not uncommon for family to continue helping their loved one with housing, finances and other basic life concerns. This natural reaction is enabling the alcoholic to continue in their behavior. It is also a sort of denial by the family that anything is wrong. Keeping up appearances will not erase the alcohol addiction. What is needed is strong, confident and non-judgmental encouragement – and possibly even ultimatums – to enter an alcohol addiction treatment center.

The fourth thing family members should realize is that, once their loved one is in an alcohol addiction treatment center, their loving support cannot be underrated. It took a lot of courage for the alcoholic to take this step and admit they even had a problem. Not all families are that fortunate. Support your loved one, encourage them and express your faith in their abilities to overcome their alcohol addiction.

There are many different types of alcoholism treatment. The appropriate alcoholism treatment method depends largely upon the severity of the patient’s addiction and how receptive they are to the idea of receiving alcoholism treatment. Some alcoholics choose to go “cold turkey”, quitting all alcohol use suddenly. Though successful at times, the “cold turkey” method can have severe consequences during the withdrawal phase. Headaches, body aches, fever and chills are some of the withdrawal symptoms that may be experienced. An alcohol treatment facility typically offers medicinal or all-natural therapeutic help in lessening the severity of withdrawal symptoms. This detox phase is considered a pre-treatment routine. It helps the body and mind get clean and prepared for the process of alcoholism treatment. Detox is particularly helpful for people whose addiction progressed to the point where they are incapable on their own of stopping drinking for a long enough time to allow their system to get clean. A person staying at an alcoholism treatment facility could experience all-natural, holistic healing methods or more medical methods of alcoholism treatment. The surroundings could be very relaxed and homey or very clinical. The length of stay at an alcoholism treatment facility could be a few hours during several days of the week, or several weeks out of the year. Again, this depends largely on how far the addiction has progressed. Self-help groups are one aspect of the treatment process that lasts throughout continuing care. Participants may remain anonymous in these meetings, which are a venue for expression of frustration, challenges, encouragement, hope and successes in the alcoholism treatment journey.