Alcohol is a drug, just like heroin. It causes changes in the body and alters moods. If you drink, be fully aware of what you are doing, because alcohol can become addictive.
Drinking now and again on a social occasion doesn’t necessarily mean the person will become dependent on alcohol. But it can happen. If drinking becomes heavy and regular, there can be a lot of damage to the body – the heart, pancreas, liver, muscles, stomach, nervous system, brain and lungs.
Alcohol can become an addiction. If the body gets used to a high level of alcohol in the blood and if a person drinks …
- to escape problems with family, job, etc.
- as a cure of fears and lack of self confidence
- to block out painful feelings of loneliness, anxiety or depression
- as a substitute for ambition, close relationships.
He may eventually become addicted to alcohol.
- have a family history of heavy drinking or alcoholism
- come from non-drinking families, but where there has been a very strict upbringing
- come from unhappy homes
- have a family history of depression
- are heavy smokers
- are single, or divorced
have a higher risk of becoming alcoholics.
The difference between the heavy drinker and the alcoholic is that the alcoholic…
- cannot control his drinking
- drinks more frequently
- drinks until he is completely drunk
- cannot do without drinking
Warning signs of alcoholism —
- the need to drink to produce relaxation
- blackouts (gaps in memory)
- drinking for the sedative effect of alcohol
- constantly thinking about alcohol
- drinking each drink quickly
- behavior becomes aggressive, extravagant, guilty
- develops relationships with others who drink
- begins to lose interest in family
- stays away from work more often
- drinking even in the daytime
Signs of established alcoholism —
- lying and stealing to get alcohol
- tremors, specially of hands
- a cycle of depression and drinking sets in
- increasing problems in personal relationships
- alcohol related physical problems and mental disturbances
TREATMENT OF ALCOHOLISM
In some ways, alcoholism is like a disease. Today, the medical profession sees alcoholism as a condition of body and mind which requires medical and psychiatric treatment, and not as mere social misbehavior.
Alcoholism is treatable. In most cases, the psychiatrist may advise a short period of hospitalization, while the alcohol is allowed time to get out of the system. Medicines are needed to help the person overcome the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that can occur from stopping alcohol There are also many new forms of medication available, to help a person give up alcohol. Some of these can create a strong dislike for alcohol, so that the person no longer wishes to drink. However, these must always be used with a psychiatrist’s supervision, as they can be harmful if used improperly. A good diet and vitamins are needed to make up for all the nutrients lost from drinking. Alcoholism can lead to many psychiatric disturbances besides blackouts – mental confusion, hallucinations, memory disturbances -these require to be treated. The psychologist can carry out several tests, among them tests of personality, tests for the detection of psychological problems, tests for determining interests and aptitudes and tests of intelligence level. These can be very valuable in planning the person’s treatment. Family therapy is necessary to help build up support for the person, as well to help the family members cope with the problem. Because alcoholism leads to problems in family relationships, these too may require working through with some outside help. Behavior therapy may help the alcoholic change some of his habits and develop other skills to cope with his daily stresses. Relaxation therapy may be taught by special methods, to help the person have an alternative means of lowering his tension level.Alcoholic annymous and AL Anon, group therapy and support groups by and for Alcoholics are also quite effective. All these methods require long term therapy relapse prevention & rehabilitation as even one drink may lead to relapse.