Alcoholism

What is Alcoholism as an illness ?

alcoholism   alcoholism   alcoholism   alcoholism

Many people use of the terms alcohol, alcoholic and alcoholism almost interchangeably, and there is often a lot of confusion as to what these terms actually mean, and how they relate to each other. In the context of a rehab/treatment center it is really important to understand at some level what these terms mean in order to make sure that the rehab is addressing relevant addiction terms accordingly.

Most people are aware of what alcohol is, and the different types of alcohol. For many people alcohol is not a problem at all in their lives. Many people do not drink at all, either for religious reasons or social ones.

Other people drink moderately and have a sense of control or normality over their drinking.

Alcohol

These types of people are often referred to in the context of alcoholism as social drinkers. Social drinkers represent a large proportion of society who are able to safely consume different types of alcohol as and when they choose, with no significant impact on themselves or others.

For other people, alcohol can represent a serious problem in their lives. This can manifest itself often at an early age when people are in their teens, through to people in later life.

People’s patterns of drinking may differ significantly, but there is often a common thread in that other people start to be concerned about their drinking, and the actual impact of their drinking has a detrimental effect on their lives at some level.

It is worth making a distinction that not everyone who has a problem with alcohol is necessarily an alcoholic. That may well be people who have a problem with alcohol at different points in their lives who are able to stop on their own and see the damage that they are doing to themselves and others.

Alcoholic

Making a distinction between an alcoholic and a non-alcoholic heavy drinker is an important distinction, not least because important considerations follow from both these patterns of drinking.

Someone who is a heavy drinker will most likely have become at some level addicted to alcohol as a consequence of continuous use. In the same way that someone becomes addicted to cigarettes, someone who is a heavy drinker will start drinking moderately and over time become more and more dependent on it.

This heavy drinking may well affect their lives, both their work lives and their family lives in some fairly obvious way. It is likely that once realised, the heavy drinker will be able to stop, although they will often need help and support from family, friends and possibly outside agencies.

Someone who is an alcoholic may outwardly displayed many of the same patterned behaviour and patterns of drinking as someone who is a heavy drinker. The real difference is likely to be an internal one, with the alcoholic having a significantly different mental and emotional attitude to alcohol and life.

There are many different patterns of alcoholics, and of alcoholism in general. It is probably safe to assume a few general pointers, although they should not be taken as a rigid definition.

Firstly, anyone of any age, status or background can become an alcoholic. There are no limits or prerequisites. Many people who are alcoholics grew up in alcoholic homes, and there is a widespread belief that there is some genetic component to people’s alcoholism.

Secondly, an alcoholic may well start off drinking at any age, and may start drinking as a social drinker as outlined above, and progress into active alcoholism at any point. Alternatively the alcoholic may start off drinking alcoholically, again at any age, and carry on drinking alcoholically for long as they are able to.

It is also safe to assume that someone who is an alcoholic reaches a point in their drinking when they are completely unable to stop on their own resources, and in most cases lose any will to try and stop as well. For a better understanding of the nature of alcoholism, it is suggested you read the book Alcoholics Anonymous, or attend open meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Alcoholism

In its simplest form, alcoholism refers to someone who is an alcoholic, in the same way that someone who is a diabetic is someone who has diabetes. This obviously is an oversimplification in one sense but does stress the point accordingly.

Whilst people have had drink problems for most of humanites time on earth, it is only relatively recently that alcoholism has been recognised as an illness, and as such people who drink alcoholically have been recognised as people who suffer from this illness, as opposed to people who have a moral weakness or lacking character.

In some ways this is a fairly spurious distinction, but is an important context for many people once they get sober. Alcoholism as an illness was recognised by certain members of the medical profession at the time that Alcoholics Anonymous was being formed, and the formation of this society gave significant growth to this belief, both within the medical profession and beyond.

Since then alcoholism is most often referred to as a disease, which has different implications to it being an illness, and has been generalised into a form of addiction in which alcohol and drug addiction and other forms of addiction are treated as the same issue.

This approach to treating alcoholism the same as other types of addiction has largely been formulated by rehabs and treatment centers, and is one that should be taken with much caution.

Alcoholism in its own right is probably best understood by people who are alcoholics themselves, and the relief in terms of understanding that it is a progressive illness gives many people a sense of context and reality that allows them to set in motion the process of recovery, and rebuild their lives both internally and externally.

Share

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms and Treatment

alcohol withdrawal   alcohol withdrawal   alcohol withdrawal   alcohol withdrawal

The issue of alcohol withdrawal, historically often referred to as dt’s, is a far more serious problem than the term dt’s often implies, and is an issue that needs to be understood and dealt with and managed safely when anyone is stopping drinking.

The issue of alcohol withdrawal will normally always refer to someone who is either an alcoholic, or someone who has a serious addiction to alcohol and is considered a heavy drinker, or a drinker who is at risk to themselves and possibly other people.

It is certainly possible that this person has also used drugs of some type, either prescription or non-description. This means that anyone who is an alcoholic who is looking to stop drinking needs to be aware that there are potential serious effects of stopping drinking suddenly, both from the drink itself and from the a combination of drink and any drugs they may have been using.

For many people who are considering stopping drinking in the context of being an alcoholic or a heavy drinker addicted to alcohol are likely to seek help in a rehab or a treatment center. This is a really important issue, and should be a major factor when considering which rehab treatment center to enter.

The issue is twofold. The rehab should have a fully qualified medical staff who are able to access whether or not the individual is at risk from alcohol withdrawal, and if they deem that individual to be at risk to manage the withdrawal in a safe and secure medical environment.

If the rehab itself does not have the staff and the facilities to do this, then it should have an arrangement with a local clinical facility such as a hospital who can oversee and perform such a withdrawal in a safe manner.

Alcohol Withdrawal

It is worth being aware that if a rehab does not have such facilities and staff on site and has to refer you to a local clinical facility, then the cost of that facility may well be an extra item for the individual to pay, and may well not be covered under their insurance.

Not everyone who stops drinking has problems in terms of alcohol withdrawal, it is very much an individual experience that needs to be assessed and monitored by qualified medical staff in a facility where they are able to do this.

Once this procedure has been assessed it is also really important that the rehab has qualified medical staff on site or on call 24/7 in the event that there are any problems that need to be addressed.

It is also worth mentioning that alcohol withdrawal is also often referred to as an alcohol detox, or a drug and alcohol detox or a medical detox. This is important, as many rehabs will offer what they refer to as an holistic detox, which is a completely different process to a medically supervised drug and/or alcohol detox.

A holistic detox is a name that excites many people because of the implications of it. What it really refers to is a cleansing process of the body and mind and spirit. This idea is appealing, and often people are drawn to this without any real understanding of what is actually involved.

An holistic detox can refer to anything from a number of therapy sessions, through to a mountain climbing course, through to colonic irrigation through to things such as a sweat lodge. Some of these processes are potentially quite dangerous, and great care should be taken before signing up to them.

Anyone who is considering giving up drinking on their own, i.e. not going through a rehab or a treatment center would be well advised to seek medical advice from a qualified medical practitioner before beginning the process.

Many people do safely stop drinking without any major side-effects, but the implications of suddenly giving up alcohol after many months or years of abuse of fairly obvious.

Many people decide to stop drinking by going to meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, which allows them to carry on with their normal day to day life, assuming they have one.

Even so they should be well aware of the potential effects of alcohol withdrawal, and would be well advised to seek medical advice prior to stopping drinking, and at any point during the first few days or weeks of being sober if they are at all concerned about any aspect of their health that they become aware of once they are sober.

Share

SIGNS OF ALCOHOLISM TREATMENT

When people talk about signs of alcoholism, there is quite often a sense of a hidden agenda, which is sometimes unfair but which often pervades a fear that other people may have about someone else’s drinking or their behaviour associated with drinking.

Whilst many people still debate the nature of alcoholism, there is a widespread belief that an element of it is at least hereditary, witnessed by the fact that a significant number, if not a majority of members of Alcoholics Anonymous who are sober grew up in alcoholic homes.

Whilst none of this is literally provable, whilst Alcoholics Anonymous continues to grow, there are essentially second and third generation recovering alcoholics, a lot of whom give witness to this fact that there is a sense of generational alcoholism within their families.

It is partly this reason that leads people to be overly conscious and perhaps a bit sensitive to their own children’s drinking and behaviour, at different ages and different stages.

If someone has either recovered from a drink problem themselves, or is aware of alcoholism within their family, then there is a real sense that they are likely to look out for signs of alcoholism within their own family, and especially within their children.

There is often a line of thought that if you can spot the signs of alcoholism  early enough, then some type of treatment can be administered early enough and in the case of an adolescent or young person’s drinking perhaps prevent many years of active alcoholism.

Whilst this line of thinking is very understandable and in some sense reasonable, there are dangers to it.

SIGNS OF ALCOHOLISM TREATMENT

One particular danger is that of essentially shipping and adolescent or young person off to rehab, often against their will, because someone else believes they might have a drink problem.

Sadly many rehabs encourage this type of intervention, and will use the parents fear as a way of engineering a perceived need for some type of alcoholism treatment.

Any type of intervention of this nature, at any age, can quite literally do more harm than good.

In many ways,  if a parent is in recovery from alcoholism themselves, or there is this issue of generational altruism, then the family would be much better encouraged to attend meetings of Al-Anon and Al-Ateen, where the individuals will be exposed to the reality of our close as it has affected them.

In addition they are likely to attend open meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, and overall come much more educated about the nature of alcoholism, both within their family and potentially within themselves.

This is probably the best type of preventative treatment – education.

Share

ALCOHOLISM DETOX

An alcoholism detox is  possibly going to be needed in the event of anyone who is an active alcoholic, or even someone who has been drinking heavily for a long period of time but would  not technically be considered an alcoholic.

Sometimes there is much debate between what is alcoholism and heavy drinking, but in the  issue of recovery from alcoholism, and in particular the need for an alcoholism detox, it is a fairly irrelevant issue.

Anyone who has a serious problem with alcohol is likely to need help, whether they admit that themselves on what.

It is sometimes much more obvious to people around them, be they family, employer, co-workers or simply friends.

Whether or not help is offered and / or accepted can obviously be a difficult issue.

Assuming that the person who has a drink problem is willing to accept some sort of help, then the issue of an alcoholism detox is likely to occur.

ALCOHOLISM DETOX

Anyone who has been thinking heavily is likely to have been hiding that in some way from people close to them.

People who have a drink problem increasingly grow protective of alcohol, and the need to prevent other people taking alcohol with from them, or stopping them trying to drink.

In addition, it is quite possible that people who have a drink problem, or who are alcoholics, have either in the past of currently been using some type of narcotics or drugs.

The issue with all of this, is that it is quite unlikely that either the alcoholic admits to a lot of this,  or that people around them will know the full extent of their drinking and possible drug use.

For this reason it is really important that anyone seeking help for a drink and/or a drug problem is assessed by medically qualified personnel to see if they need a medical detox, and if they do for that detox to be overseen and undertaken by medically qualified staff in a safe clinical environment.

If the individual with a drink problem is entering a rehab, then it is important to check that the rehab has access to such staff and facilities, either in-house, or with a local clinical facility such as a hospital.

Share

ALCOHOLISM TREATMENT CENTER

An alcoholism or treatment center normally refers to a rehab, a residential rehab, where someone who has a problem with alcohol and, either considers themselves, or is considered by other people as an alcoholic, can go to get help and treatment.

The terms treatment center and rehab are pretty much interchangeable, although the extent of services and help available in either one can vary quite widely.

An alcoholism or treatment center will invariably treat people who not only are considered to have a drink problem, but may also be addicted to cortex and /or description drugs, and possibly other addictions such as gambling etc.

One of the main obstacles to anyone entering an alcoholism treatment center is the sense of denial that the alcoholics themselves will have about their drink and possible drug problem as well.

One of the main issues behind alcoholism, and the inability to help an alcoholic, is the fact that alcoholic will quite blatantly either live or try and hide the true extent of the problem.

The practical consequences of this  denial can be pretty horrific, both for the alcoholics themselves, and for people close to them, especially if those people are trying to help them.

ALCOHOLISM TREATMENT CENTER

Alcoholism is more understood today than perhaps it has ever been, but still presents huge issues in terms of helping both the alcoholic and those close to them.

Perhaps the main value of any treatment center or rehab that courts to offer addiction treatment programs is that it can create a safe place where someone with an alcoholic can mod any seek help, but can begin to explore the process of their relationship with alcohol, and why it seemingly affects the way it does.

Any rehab or treatment center that offers help to alcoholics is likely to employ a wide range of clinical and non-clinical staff.

They are also likely to employ a number of alcoholics who are themselves in recovery, either as clinical  or non-clinical staff.

When people talk about an alcoholic in recovery, they are generally referring to someone who has been an active alcoholic and has stopped drinking and has stayed sober since then.

The value of a recovering alcoholic working in a team of center or a rehab, is that in addition to the skills they bring as an individual, the hope is that they can give the residents in a rehab a sense of hope and purpose for their own future, as they are showing that they themselves can stay sober and rebuild their lives.

Share

What is an Alcoholic?

Anyone who browses through discussion forums or discussion groups online will inevitably come across one of the most frequently asked questions people have. People will either post a specific thread entitled am an alcoholic ? or the question will come up in the course of a more generalised debate.

When people raise the question and say am I an alcoholic or not, people tend to respond in one of two ways.

They either share a wide range of experiences that they have from AA meetings, or their own life, explaining what an alcoholic is or isn’t and urging the individual to try AA before they die.

The other type of advice tends to be of a more general nature, urging the individual to look at their own drinking, telling them that they can be the only person who can decide if they are an alcoholic or not.

Both of these types of advice can be well-meaning, and both have their merits and their de-merits.

There is a more fundamental issue which does not get addressed, and maybe cannot be addressed in the context of a discussion group or forum.

The issue of whether someone decides they are an alcoholic or not is to some extent irrelevant.

The reason for saying this, is that people can get caught up on whether they see themselves as being an alcoholic or not, and miss the bigger point that it is the problem they are seeking to address concerning their drinking that is the real issue.

Whether they define themselves as an alcoholic will come at any point of the process, and is something that in many ways can be put on hold until they need to address it.

If someone acknowledges that they have a problem with alcohol, or with their drinking, and can refrain from putting any unhelpful labels around it, they are in fact faced with a much starker reality.

Alcoholic

It is the reality of what their drinking is doing to them that they then at some level have to address.

They may or may not be able to, and may well continue to deny the problem for some time.

Assuming that they are able to address the issue in some way, and assuming that they decide to seek help, then in many ways they are in a much healthier position if they can focus on the specific issue.

Acknowledging that someone is an alcoholic can be extremely helpful, so long as the notion of alcoholism is given as the context for the person’s drinking and behaviour.

The real problem of trying to define an alcoholic, is that you can’t. You can certainly identify common patterns and behaviours, and someone who is an alcoholic can certainly get real benefit from identifying with other alcoholics in lots of different ways.

The danger is that in setting up any definition or context of what an alcoholic is or isn’t is that you create a predefined set of criteria outside of the individual, that they then feel they need to fit themselves into in order to qualify as an alcoholic, and thereby get better.

The focus should always be on the individual and their life, what their problem is and what they are doing to get better from it. The understanding of alcoholism can certainly be a big help in that, but it needs to come from within the individual not outside.

Share

What is an Alcohol Addiction?

An alcohol addiction is virtually always referred to as alcoholism, although sometimes other terminology is used such as alcohol dependence or the term alcohol addiction itself. In truth the terminology used to define an alcohol addiction is secondary to the reality of what such an addiction does to the individual, their families and the surrounding people in their lives.

An alcohol addiction or alcoholism is difficult to define, but is quite easy in a sense to understand if you are heavily affected by it and have the clarity to understand what is happening. One of the features of alcoholism or alcohol addiction is that often the alcoholic themselves and the people closest to them are in complete denial of the fact that there is a problem, or that any of the individuals concerned need help.

It is worth making the point that there is a difference between someone who is an alcoholic, and someone who is a very heavy drinker but not necessarily an alcoholic. To some people this may be a bit of a pointless difference to make, but it is important in terms of the individual and their need to understand what is happening to them.

Someone who is a heavy drinker, who has an alcohol addiction may well have serious problems in their lives as a result of their drinking, but is likely to be able to stop or cut down significantly on their own, albeit with a considerable amount of difficulty and hard work.

Alcohol Addiction – Alcoholism

Someone who is an alcoholic, either potential or full-blown is unlikely to be able stop on their own, or often have the desire to stop or cut down at all. The framework of Alcoholics Anonymous as a 12-step fellowship makes very clear that an individual who cannot stop can get help and achieve sobriety through meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, either by going to meetings directly or through exposure in a rehab.

Alcohol addiction should be seen as a serious medical condition, and anyone contemplating stopping drinking or cutting down quickly should seek medical help and advice prior to beginning the process of stopping.

This is simple because the withdrawal effects of alcohol, especially if the individual is using other substances as well, can have serious complications, both medical and mental for the individual, and as such a medically supervised detox is often recommended.

In any event an individual should be assessed by a qualified medical doctor as to whether a medical detox is needed or not. Alcohol addiction is a serious condition, and the appropriate help should be sought by the by the individual or their families at the earliest opportunity.

 

 

Share

What is Addiction Recovery?

Addiction recovery is a term that normally refers to the type of addiction treatment programs offered in a rehab a treatment center that are designed to help people who are either alcoholics or have an addiction to various types of drugs or other substances.

Addiction recovery can also refer to people who use 12-step organisations such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous as a way of dealing with that alcoholism or drug addiction, whether they have been through a rehab or not.

There are other approaches to addiction recovery as well, often involving a wide range of different therapeutic and holistic approaches to helping the individual deal with the nature of that alcoholism or other addiction.

Addiction recovery in a rehab will be based around a number of addiction treatment programs that are likely to be rooted in and derived from the 12-step principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. The most commonly understood of these principles is the need for the individual to acknowledge that they have a problem, prior to be a able to acknowledge the need for help and begin the process of recovery.

Whilst this is true, many people entering a rehab will have a scant understanding of the fact that they have a problem with alcohol or other substances. What they may well be aware of is that their life has become an awful mess, both internally and externally.

Addiction Recovery – Rehab

It is probably fair to say that anyone beginning the process of addiction recovery whether in rehab or in Alcoholics Anonymous will at some level believe that alcohol is essentially the thing that is holding them together.

Some alcoholics will want to stop drinking but be unable to do so, other alcoholics will be so ingrained with this belief that alcohol is their only survival mechanism that they will be unable to emotionally countenance the idea of living without it.

Anyone entering a rehab for alcoholism will in some level have one or both of these beliefs.

The clinical staff and therapeutic staff in a rehab responsible for addiction recovery programs and addiction treatment programs need to be fully aware and understand this mindset in order to allow the alcoholic the freedom they need to begin the process of unblocking this sense of needing to protect themselves.

Any type of addiction recovery from alcoholism is likely to be a lifelong process, and the therapeutic work done in a rehab should mainly focus on the beginning of that process, helping the alcoholic to understand at some level the basis of their illness, and helping to lay the groundwork and foundations both in rehab and Alcoholics Anonymous to help the individual recover and get better.

 

Share

What is the best Alcohol Treatment ?

Any individual who has a problem with alcohol or is an alcoholic who is seeking treatment for an alcohol addiction or alcoholism, is faced with a number of different options, and they can often be a degree of confusion as to which is the best approach to take.

Historically the most effective form of alcohol treatment, in fact in many ways the only treatment for alcoholism has been the 12 step Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. Over time treatment centers and rehabs have grown hugely, and have in many ways become an alternative short-term option to people going directly to meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Any individual who has acknowledged that they have a problem with alcohol and needs help, has these two main options to consider.

Many will prefer the idea of a rehab largely because it is normally a secluded environment that can avoid the necessity of directly approaching Alcoholics Anonymous. A rehab is often thought of much more in terms of a clinical facility such as a hospital, where people go to get help for alcoholism and other types of addiction.

The majority of rehabs and treatment centers are highly supportive of Alcoholics Anonymous and encourage individuals who are resident in a rehab to attend meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous both both whilst in rehab, and as a means of after-care and support once they have left.

It is also very likely that the rehab will have based its addiction treatment programs and therapeutic approach to helping the alcoholic on the principles contained in the 12 step programme of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Alcohol Treatment – Alcoholics Anonymous.

An individual can also go directly to meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous without any necessity of going to a rehab at all. This has a number of advantages, not least in terms of cost as meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous are free, although there is normally a collection at meetings to cover the cost of rent, tea and coffee et cetera. Any contribution is completely voluntaryand anonymous and normally beneath one dollar per meeting.

When people look for the best alcohol treatment or the most effective alcohol treatment, they tend to want statistics as to which approach of the two mentioned above or any other is the most effective.

The reality is that there are no meaningful statistics that can prove which is the most effective, in large part because so much of the process of recovery from alcoholism is dependent upon the individual and their attitude to their own illness as opposed to any particular type of recovery process or recovery method.

 

Share

What is an alcohol addiction?

To many people an alcohol addiction is fairly obvious in terms of its practicalities and the impact or effect that such an addiction has on the people close by to the person who is addicted. An alcohol addiction is normally referred to as alcoholism, but there is possibly a distinction between someone who is heavily addicted to alcohol and can stop drinking on their own, and an alcoholic who is completely unable to stop.

Alcohol addiction normally refers to alcoholism, and the distinction between an alcoholic and a heavy drinker can be a subtle and sometimes and irrelevant one for other people. For the individual concerned it is an important distinction, largely because alcohol addiction in an alcoholic sense is a different process to someone who stopped drinking, gets addicted and finds it difficult to stop.

Alcohol addiction in terms of alcoholism can be dealt with in a number of ways, the most common being attendance at and involvement in the 12th at Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. This is normally the most effective way of helping an individual who has an alcohol addiction, but there are other ways available if AA doesn’t work for that person.

Alcohol Addiction – Alcoholism as an Illness

The growth of Alcoholics Anonymous as a 12-step fellowship grew with the belief and experience that alcoholism is an illness, and that the most effective treatment was the 12 step program used as the basis for recovery within that fellowship . Rehabs and treatment centers began to pick up on the therapeutic principles that are part of the process of the AA recovery program, and started to use these principles in their own businesses.

Many people with an alcohol addiction will consider going into a rehab as the primary focus for the area that they can get helping in terms of helping them to stop drinking. Going into rehab is certainly one option, as is going directly to meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous is another option.

Anyone who has a serious alcohol addiction that they believe to be alcoholic or similar, can seek out a wide variety of options of help that may be available to help them stop. Depending on the level and intensity of their drinking, and whether they are dual diagnosed, meaning they have been using other drugs or substances as well, a medical detox may well be needed.

If entering a rehab for an alcohol addiction it is important to check that the rehab or treatment center has adequate facilities and medical personnel to establish and oversee and perform a medical detox if needed.

 

Share