Not unlike other medical conditions, alcoholism can be overcome with relevant scientific research, quality alcohol treatment, relevant educational programs, and prevention.
The positive news is that as damaging and as debilitating as alcoholism is, if it is caught and addressed in time, it can be treated successfully.
Does this mean that there is a cure for alcoholism? Unfortunately, medical research has not yet found an alcoholism cure.
What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism, also known as alcohol addiction, alcoholism addiction, and alcohol dependency, is a progressive debilitating disease that includes the following four symptoms or signs:
- A strong desire to drink: having a compelling urge or desperate need to drink.
- Loss of control: an inability to stop drinking after consuming the first drink.
- Physical dependence: going through alcohol withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, vomiting, “the shakes,” extreme perspiration, nausea, and headaches when the alcohol dependent person suddenly stops drinking.
- Tolerance: the need to drink increasingly more amounts of alcohol in order to get a “buzz” or to get “high.”
So far, medical research has not found an alcoholism cure. Is this a death sentence for alcoholics?
To better understand the current nature of this disease, let us think about alcoholism from a totally optimistic perspective.
That is, let us pretend that the medical research community has developed a cure for alcoholism.
Let us also pretend that this alcoholism cure is available in the form of a vaccine that is administered via a shot.
What is the probability that EVERY alcohol dependent individual would make the effort and take the time to get this vaccine?
The point: even if a cure for alcoholism existed, there would still be people who, for whatever reason, would not take advantage of this cure.
But there is good news. Indeed, if alcoholism is treated in the early stages of the disease, sobriety and alcohol recovery are entirely possible.
Stated differently, even though a cure for alcoholism does not currently exist, many top rate alcohol treatment programs exist that can help alcoholics recover from their alcohol addiction.
If people who are alcohol dependent receive quality, professional alcohol rehabilitation early enough, however, the vast majority of them can get sober, stay sober, and begin the alcohol recovery process.
In any event, if you are concerned about your drinking behavior, please call your local drug and alcohol treatment center today and make an appointment.
Alcoholism is a disease that has become a major problem throughout many parts of the world.
Paradoxically, the more “developed” and technologically advanced that a nation becomes, the more it appears to be vulnerable to the societal and personal drinking problems that are directly or indirectly caused by alcoholism disease.
Please continue reading to learn more about the damaging, destructive, and debilitating consequences of alcoholism and the unfortunate alcohol-related problems suffered by most chronic alcoholics.
The Experience of Drinking Alcohol
For most people who drink, alcohol is a pleasant experience, especially when they are engaged in social and recreational activities.
Not only this, but under most circumstances, drinking in moderation is not harmful for most adults.
A relatively large number of individuals, nevertheless, cannot drink any alcoholic beverages because of the wide assortment of alcohol drinking problems they experience when they ingest alcohol.
In fact, according to current research, approximately 14 million Americans abuse alcohol or are alcohol dependent.
This statistic is so important that it is worth repeating: roughly 14 million Americans engage in problem drinking.
Problems With Drinking. Furthermore, according to recent alcoholism research, it has been discovered that approximately 53 per cent of adults in the United States have stated that one or more of their close relatives has a drinking problem.
Devastating Consequences of Alcoholism
Alcohol Drinking Problems. The negative effects of alcoholism disease are not only serious, but in many cases, fatal.
For instance, excessive drinking can increase the risk for certain cancers, such as cancer of the esophagus, liver, throat, colon, larynx, rectum, and the kidneys.
In addition, heavy, chronic drinking can also lead to problems with the immune system, harm to the fetus while the mother is pregnant, cirrhosis of the liver, and brain damage.
Moreover, drinking increases the risk of death from motor vehicle accidents and alcohol-related injuries in the workplace and in recreational activities.
Not only this, but homicides and suicides are more likely to committed by individuals who have been drinking.
In basic economic terms, alcohol drinking problems and issues in the United States cost society roughly $200 billion per year.
In human terms, however, the cost of the following alcohol-related problems with drinking cannot be calculated: failed health, broken homes, child abuse, illnesses, destroyed lives, wife battering, injuries, and fatalities.
Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse
Many individuals think that alcoholism disease and alcohol abuse are the same. Although both concepts are associated with alcohol drinking problems and, as a result, are similar, they are not the same.
Alcohol abuse, unlike alcoholism, does not necessarily include loss of control due to drinking, physical dependence, or does not usually entail an extremely strong desire for alcohol.
Alcohol abuse is defined as a pattern of drinking that results in one or more of the following problems with drinking within a twelve-month period of time:
- Continued drinking in spite of ongoing relationship problems that are the result of drinking.
- Experiencing recurring alcohol-related legal problems. Examples include getting arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, for damaging someone’s property, or for physically hurting someone while drunk.
- Drinking in situations that can result in physical injury. Examples include driving a vehicle or operating machinery.
- Failure to attend to important responsibilities at work, home, or school.
The Bottom Line
The important point to keep in mind regarding this article is the following: The more alcohol is consumed in an abusive manner, the more likely it is that the drinker will become an alcoholic.
If this describes you, then you need to be honest with yourself and admit that you have a drinking problem.
Once you have taken this step, consider making it a priority to talk with an alcohol abuse and alcoholism professional about getting alcohol rehab as soon as you can.
In an alcoholism intervention, alcoholics are confronted by family members and friends about their drinking behavior and how their hazardous and damaging drinking has negatively affected virtually everyone around him or her.
Alcoholism interventions should be thoroughly planned and put into operation by addiction intervention experts who are experienced in such procedures.
The main purpose of an alcoholism intervention is to get the alcoholic to seek professional alcohol rehab treatment as soon as possible.
Undertaking an Alcoholism Intervention
Scientific investigation reveals that one way of dealing with alcohol addiction is to conduct an intervention.
Having said this, it is appropriate to ask the following question: exactly what is an alcoholism intervention?
Essentially, an alcoholism intervention can be viewed as a step in the alcohol therapeutic process in which the alcoholic is confronted about his or her drinking behavior and how his or her hazardous, irresponsible, and unhealthy drinking has negatively affected family members, neighbors, relatives, friends, and co-workers.
Stated another way, an alcoholism intervention is a meeting involving the problem drinker, family members, friends, possibly an employer, along with an addiction intervention expert.
In this meeting, the family members and friends, under the guidance and direction of the intervention specialist state their concern about the problem drinker’s abusive and excessive drinking and strongly “encourage” the alcohol dependent person to get competent treatment.
In most alcoholism interventions, family members and friends tell the problem drinker in their own words how they are concerned about the alcoholic and how his or her excessive and dangerous drinking has created frustration, anxiety, fear, and other problems in their lives.
The primary objective of an alcoholism intervention is for the problem drinker to listen to what has been stated in the meeting and then to accept the fact that he or she needs professional and prompt alcohol rehabilitation.
It is important to note, however, that alcoholism interventions are routinely undertaken when all other options have been exhausted in an attempt to help the alcoholic overcome and recover from a damaging drinking problem.
Alcoholism Interventions Can Fail
Substance abuse scientific examination reveals the fact that more than a few alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction rehab centers have stopped doing alcohol interventions because they frequently fail.
Stated in another way, when alcohol interventions are ineffective, a fact that has to be pondered, the family can actually be torn apart even further due to the disruptive and volatile feelings pertaining to the failed intervention.
It must be emphasized that this is not an insignificant circumstance for a family that is already on the edge of destruction due to the drinking problems of a family member.
The chance for failure about alcohol interventions reinforces the importance of employing an addiction intervention specialist who has a confirmed track record of success.
Why Do Alcoholism Interventions Fail?
What are the underlying reasons that alcoholism interventions fail?
First, the intervention may fail if the alcoholic doesn’t follow through with the treatment program both during and after formal treatment.
Second, because his or her reasoning and logical abilities and emotional stability may be decreased because of chronic alcoholism, the alcoholic may simply leave the intervention session.
What this essentially means is that the well-intentioned family members will have to deal with the failed intervention in addition to the rest of their alcohol-related difficulties and problems.
The third reason that alcoholism interventions may prove to be unsuccessful is the fact that the alcoholic may not be ready for alcohol treatment at this time.
Stated in another way, some therapists believe that quite a few alcoholism interventions lack a consistent track record because several alcoholics are unable to go through treatment until they get to the point in their lives when they can make this decision on their own.
In brief, according to this perspective, alcoholics can’t be helped until they seek rehabilitation on their own.
Ironically, in spite of the fact that the intervention may have helped put the alcoholic in a more receptive frame of mind and may have helped him or her decide to get professional treatment, the simple fact that the intervention took place may result in mistrust, resentment, and anger in the future.
And fourth, alcoholism interventions can fail when a family either chooses to initiate an intervention without the guidance and direction of an intervention expert or if the intervention specialist lacks experience or ability.
When Do Alcoholism Interventions Succeed?
Scientific research has demonstrated the fact that the best possible time for an alcoholism intervention is following an important event, such as an arrest for “driving under the influence,” when the problem drinker has been caught lying about something of significance, or when an alcoholic has been caught stealing something of value.
In these circumstances, the alcoholic is more likely to be remorseful or to experience guilt, therefore making him or her more receptive to getting professional assistance.
Though this may seem self-evident, the alcoholic needs to be sober at the time of the intervention.
An alcoholism intervention is a kind of confrontation in which a group of concerned people, such as family members and friends along with an addiction intervention specialist, have a meeting with an alcoholic.
In these meetings, the family members and friends, under the guidance and supervision of the intervention expert, express their concern over the alcoholic’s abusive and irresponsible drinking and strongly “encourage” the problem drinker to get professional rehab.
While alcoholism interventions should be seen as a “last resort” and have been known to fail and result in resentment, tension, and mistrust, if undertaken with thorough planning and with the guidance of an addiction intervention specialist, the chances of an effective alcoholism intervention are greatly enhanced.
Keep in mind, however, that the main reason for an alcoholic intervention is to get professional alcohol treatment for the problem drinker so that he or she can stop drinking and start to live a healthy, alcohol-free lifestyle.