Alcohol Addiction: Help Is Needed
When it comes to alcoholism addiction help, there are many treatment opinions, methodologies and approaches. While there is more than one way to achieve sobriety through various forms of rehabilitation, there are some common denominators among alcoholics who manage to stay sober for many years. It’s important to choose alcohol addiction help from accredited and experienced professionals to maximise your chances of success.
Professor George E Vaillant, the chair of psychiatry at Harvard, and author of seminal books such as “The Natural History of Alcoholism” published in 1996, has identified four life occurrences present in half of established recoveries from addiction. I would recommend that any alcohol addiction help you receive incorporate these key tenants.
Anyone seeking alcohol addiction help should ensure that the treatment centre they admit themselves to integrates these natural healing experiences as a core support.
Each of these four naturalistic therapeutic experiences is listed briefly here:
1. The first experience is finding a reinforcing activity to contend with alcohol or drug use. For example, AA meetings, meditation or yoga classes and in-patient treatment may be some of the healthier alternatives.
Unfortunately, all too often recovering alcoholics do what’s referred to informally as ‘changing deck chairs on the Titanic’ by becoming involved in compulsive gambling, overeating. The ship is still sinking but the view has changed.
The tendency to ‘cross-addict’ to a new drug or behaviour can be minimised with quality alcohol addiction help.
2. Being offered compulsory supervision seems important. This is because although willpower is important in seeking alcohol addiction help and for briefly stopping drinking, willpower is not connected with successful relapse prevention. Successful recovery from alcoholism, like liberty, depends upon eternal vigilance.
An important component of effective relapse prevention strategies is to have external reminders like AA support groups or aftercare at the clinic where you first received the alcohol addiction help.
3. Inspirational group membership – The discovery of a continued source of hope, inspiration and self-esteem as found in AA, seems important to maintaining behaviour change.
4. Lasting recovery from alcoholism involves forming bonds with people patients have not hurt in the past. The development of a stable relationship with a non family member is often connected with continued sobriety. An AA sponsor and support group are good examples of this.
Alcoholics are never able to resume controlled drinking
Professor Vaillant also subscribes to the Disease Model believing that once a patient has drunk enough alcohol to become alcoholic that they never regain the ability to drink in a controlled fashion. Some alcoholism treatment centres may not offer fully comprehensive rehabilitation and whilst it’s difficult to strike a balance between quality of care and length of treatment, it’s crucial that the clinic provides holistic therapy.
For severe alcoholism treatment, lengths of around 90 days (three months or 12 weeks) have proven to be more effective. The good news is that we now understand the disease of alcoholism better than ever and can actually offer alcohol addiction help that works, as opposed to the way alcoholics were shunned from society and even kept in mental institutions up to only a few decades ago.
The advancement of technology and medicine have enabled us to provide better alcohol addiction help by studying the effects alcohol has on the body and better understand what the alcoholic is experiencing, what effect drinking has on the body and how best to treat it.
During these studies it was noticed that prolonged exposure to alcohol abuse leads to certain changes in the body. The most significant of these would be the fact that alcohol starts acting as an inhibitor on the NMDA neuro-receptors. When the intake of alcohol is stopped, these receptors are no longer inhibited, causing hyper-excitability of the brain, withdrawal symptoms and a need for serious alcohol addiction help.
These withdrawal symptoms and can range from mild discomfort to excruciating, and even be fatal, so when seeking alcoholism addiction counselling please ensure that professional medical attention is available at the rehab.
Symptoms experienced during the withdrawal process include:
- Autonomic hyperactivity (e.g., sweating or pulse rate greater than 100 beats per minute)
- Increased hand tremor (the shakes)
- Nausea or vomiting
- Transient visual, tactile, or auditory hallucinations or illusions
- Psycho-motor agitation
- Grand mal seizures
Finding the right alcohol addiction help to meet your needs can be a complex process. Long term, contented recovery from alcoholism is entirely possible. Please ensure you find a professional service offering comprehensive and holistic alcohol addiction help that meets your individual needs.
Please understand that for the purpose of simplicity in writing this article on alcohol addiction help I use the terms addiction and alcoholism interchangeably as I view them as almost identical in counselling treatment & recovery terms. These therapeutic processes are found in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other 12-step meetings of recovery programmes such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Gamblers Anonymous (GA), Overeaters Anonymous (OA), Cocaine Anonymous (CA) and Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA).
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