The treatments offered at the various alcoholism centres in South Africa and the UK today are far more advanced than previous methods used. This is because today, more is known about alcoholism: the causes, the disease, progression of the illness, the best treatments and the best maintenance programmes.
Alcoholism has been a recognised illness for many years. Whilst there is nothing too concerning about occasional over-indulgence in alcohol, those who over indulge to the point of sacrificing their jobs, their friendships, their families and their security for their drinking habit have a serious addiction problem and need help. An alcoholic is someone with the disease of alcoholism; a person who cannot stop their excessive alcohol consumption, even when they are fully aware of what they are losing and the potentially fatal results this may have. Alcoholics Anonymous or AA is a fellowship of recovering alcoholics who help each other stay sober, and was founded on the 10th of June 1935. Many alcoholics have found sobriety through this fellowship. Many who have resided in an alcoholism centre have found sobriety through the help Alcoholics Anonymous has given them during and after their time in treatment.
There was little hope for alcoholics trapped in the obsessive and compulsive cycle of drinking before AA was founded. Many were simply taken to mental hospitals and institutions to be restrained and allowed to ‘dry out.’ Drying out is a term used to describe an alcoholic undergoing withdrawals from alcohol to ‘sober up.’ Others were taken to church, doctors, psychiatrists, and other organisations to try and rid them of their alcoholism. However, once they were no longer under the influence of either these external pressures or the alcohol, their first action was usually to return to drinking. The disease of alcoholism In the present day, many professionals dealing with alcoholism and alcoholics on a daily basis believe that this condition is a brain disease. It is incurable, progressive and fatal but can be arrested and managed.
For an alcoholic to arrest and manage their disease they need to do two things: one – they need to become sober, and two – they need to remain sober. Time as an in-patient in an alcoholism centre or clinic can help this process immensely.
Achieving sobriety is not something an alcoholic can often do alone. Despite their best intentions, an alcoholic cannot stop drinking without help from outside. This outside help can include support from a 12 Step fellowship, and alcohol addiction counselling at an alcoholism centre.
The disease concept of alcoholism states that the illness is an allergy to alcohol, which is present from birth. Others believe that the disease is caused by external factors, and others believe that the illness is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental aspects. A person with the disease will have a first drink that will change their lives, as the disease is ready and waiting. It has not been proven as yet, but many alcoholics report feeling ‘different’ and ‘like an outsider’ as a child, no matter the evidence to the contrary, such as, how many friends they had.
The signs of alcoholism – what to look out for: Alcoholism is a progressive disease. This means that once a person has moved through the alcohol abuse symptoms and into full blown alcoholism symptoms, the disease will continue to progress unless effective treatment is found at one of many quality rehabs. Fortunately quality addictions treatment is available on the private market in South Africa and the UK & WeDoRecover can arrange immediate admission for yourself or a loved one.
A red light indicator of alcoholism is the inability to control alcohol consumption. A person who intends on only having one beer and wakes up without any memory of the previous night as one beer turned into ten, is showing signs of alcoholism. Alcoholics are powerless – once they have consumed one drink, they lose control over their drinking. Another indicator of alcoholism is the consumption of alcohol at inappropriate occasions. An alcoholic comes to work drunk or turns up drunk at a family gathering in the afternoon. Similarly, an alcoholic will drink at inappropriate times of the day, such as in the morning. An alcoholic who has been consuming enough alcohol to become physically addicted will begin to suffer withdrawal symptoms a few hours after their last drink. Alcohol withdrawal can cause shaking, tremors, sweating, muscle pain, increased heart rate and blood pressure, hallucinations and delirium, also known as “delirium tremens” or “DTs”. Seizures are also a possibility.
Alcoholics often need a drink when they wake up to ease their withdrawal symptoms so that they can fulfil their everyday responsibilities. Alcoholics often hide their liquor and are secretive about their drinking. They are able to justify to themselves that they do not have a problem with alcohol, yet they know that others would disapprove. Behavioural changes are also a noticeable indicator of alcoholism. Depression, aggressive behaviour and isolation are common.
What can be done to help An alcoholic can begin the healing process from their illness at an in-patient alcoholism centre. Time spent as a client in such a centre is a very beneficial start. Therapy and alcoholism counselling deal with the symptoms of alcoholism (i.e. drinking) and also the inner troubles, wounds and inability to accept life as it is.
Alcohol rehabilitation and treatment generally includes group therapy, one-to-one therapy, and a 12 Step programme for daily maintenance and support. These will all assist an alcoholic in remaining sober once they leave the alcoholism centre or clinic.