The medical community regards alcoholism as a serious disease. Alcoholism is the need to drink to get “High”. Each time the persons need increases to a point where he is unable to stop. Some people don’t think alcoholism is a disease because it does not act like one. But, taking into consideration the damage that it causes to the body and mind, it could be described as having become a disease. It starts off as casual drinking for pleasure and advances into uncontrollable drinking.
There are different schools of thought on this topic as well. Some research results show that genes do play a part, but lifestyle is also a cause. Just because alcoholism tends to run in families doesn’t mean that a child of an alcoholic parent will automatically become an alcoholic too. There are those who develop alcoholism even though no one in their family has a drinking problem. Other factors that may lead to alcoholism are your group of friends, stress in your life, and how easily alcohol is available. At present there is ongoing research to find the actual genes that cause alcoholism.
It is possible, provided the alcoholic accepts he has a problem and wants to do something about it. Treatment programs include counseling as well as medications to help a person stop drinking. Most alcoholics need help to recover with support and treatment, many addicts are able to stop drinking and rebuild their lives. And no, alcoholism cannot really be cured. Even if an alcoholic has been sober for a long time, he or she can still slip. An alcoholic must be at all times be aware of the possibility of being over confident of controlling his drinking leading to a relapse.
The treatment works for some while not for others. But just like any chronic disease, there are varying levels of success when it comes to treatment. Some people stop drinking and remain sober. Others have long periods of sobriety with bouts of relapse. And still others cannot stop drinking for any length of time. With treatment, one thing is clear, however: the longer a person abstains from alcohol, the more likely he or she will be able to stay sober.
It can be difficult to tell when normal social drinking becomes problem drinking, especially as the drinker may deny that they have a problem. The following points offer a few key suggestions for defining when alcohol might be a problem.
- Becoming angry/defensive when someone discusses drinking.
- Trying to hide drinking.
- Money problems because of drinking.
- Ability to work is affected.
- Family and/or relationships affected.
- Having a drink in the morning to get going.
- Having accidents or arguments because of drinking.
- Being sick or irritable without a drink.
- Doing badly/missing days at work because of drink.
- Drinking regularly to cope with illness or other problems.
- Being unable to socialise without a drink.
- Having to drink progressively more to get the same effect.
- Life seeming to revolve around drinking/pre–occupation with alcohol.
Usually not. More so if that person has been diagnosed as an alcoholic he will not succeed. Completely cutting off drinks is usually the best way for recovery. But those who are not alcohol dependent but may have had alcohol–related problems may be able to limit the amount they drink.
This can be very difficult. You cannot force an alcoholic to get help. Usually he is in denial and will refuse to understand that he needs to stop drinking. The only way you can force treatment is under certain circumstances, such as a violent incidents, where the police have to intervene or medical emergency. Sometimes hitting “hit rock bottom” may make the person realize, but it is not advisable for that to happen, to act. Many professionals suggest the following steps to help an alcoholic get treatment: Stop all “cover ups.” Family members often make excuses to others or try to protect the alcoholic from the results of his or her drinking. It is important to stop covering for the alcoholic so that he or she experiences the full consequences of drinking.
- Time your intervention. The best time to talk to the drinker is shortly after an alcohol–related problem has occurred–like a serious family argument or an accident. Choose a time when he or she is sober.
- Be specific. Tell the family member that you are worried about his or her drinking. Use examples of the ways in which the drinking has caused problems, including the most recent incident.
- State the results. Explain to the drinker what you will do if he or she doesn’t go for help–not to punish the drinker, but to protect yourself from his or her problems. What you say may range from refusing to go with the person to any social activity where alcohol will be served, to moving out of the house. Do not make any threats you are not prepared to carry out.
- Get help. Gather information in advance about treatment options. If the person is willing to get help, call immediately for an appointment with a treatment counselor. Offer to go with the family member on the first visit to a treatment program and/or an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.
- Call on a friend. If the family member still refuses to get help, ask a friend to talk with him or her. A friend who is a recovering alcoholic may be particularly persuasive, but any person who is caring and nonjudgmental may help. The intervention of more than one person, more than one time, is often necessary to coax an alcoholic to seek help.
- Find strength in numbers. With the help of a health care professional, some families join with other relatives and friends to confront an alcoholic as a group. This approach should only be tried under the guidance of a health care professional who is experienced in this kind of group intervention.
- Get support. It is important to remember that you are not alone. Support groups offered in most communities include Al–Anon, which holds regular meetings for spouses and other significant adults in an alcoholic’s life. These groups help family members understand that they are not responsible for an alcoholic’s drinking and that they need to take steps to take care of themselves, regardless of whether the alcoholic family member chooses to get help.
Possibly. More than 150 medications interact harmfully with alcohol. These interactions may result in increased risk of illness, injury, and even death. Alcohol’s effects are heightened by medicines that depress the central nervous system, such as sleeping pills, antihistamines, antidepressants, anti–anxiety drugs, and some painkillers. In addition, medicines for certain disorders, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, can have harmful interactions with alcohol. If you are taking any over–the–counter or prescription medications, ask your doctor or pharmacist if you can safely drink alcohol.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! There are people out there who understand what you’re going through. Your local Alcohol Anonymous and Counseling Centre. They do not charge and have meetings all over the World once or twice a week. It is totally confidential. Al–Anon offers help for families and friends of alcoholics. Your GP can treat physical problems and refer you to other appropriate organizations or doctors. Search the internet. You can also visit NCDAP website for further information.
Yes. Women become more intoxicated than men after drinking the same amount of alcohol, even when differences in body weight are taken into account. This is because women’s bodies have proportionately less water than men’s bodies.
That depends. If you are diagnosed as an alcoholic, the answer is “no.” Studies show that nearly all alcoholics who try to merely cut down on drinking are unable to do so indefinitely. Instead, cutting out alcohol (that is, abstaining) is nearly always necessary for successful recovery.
No. Even if you are not alcoholic, abusing alcohol can have negative results, such failure to meet major work, school, or family responsibilities because of drinking, alcohol–related legal trouble, automobile crashes due to drinking, and a variety of alcohol–related medical problems.
Yes. Nearly 14 million people in the United States – 1 in every 13 adults – abuse alcohol or are alcoholic. However, more men than women are alcohol dependent or experience alcohol–related problems. In addition, rates of alcohol problems are highest among young adults ages 18–29 and lowest among adults 65 years and older. Among major U.S. ethnic groups, rates of alcoholism and alcohol–related problems vary.
Most adults can drink moderate amounts of alcohol – up to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women and older people – and avoid alcohol–related problems (One drink equals one 12–ounce bottle of beer or wine cooler, one 5–ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80–proof distilled spirits).
Probably not. More than 100 medications interact with alcohol, leading to increased risk of illness, injury and, in some cases, death. The effects of alcohol are increased by medicines that slow down the central nervous system, such as sleeping pills, antihistamines, antidepressants, anti anxiety drugs, and some painkillers.