What is alcohol and alcoholism?
The chemical term alcohol actually refers to a number of different compounds, but in common speech alcohol usually refers to ethanol.
Alcohol has been consumed by humans since prehistoric times for a variety of reasons. It has been associated with medicinal, religious, and recreational use in many societies through history. Consuming a large dose of alcohol causes intoxication. As the effect of the alcohol wears off the person may experience a hangover. The symptoms of a hangover include unpleasant headaches and feeling ill.
Alcohol impairs the ability of the drinker to make rational decisions. It also lowers the persons social inhibitions. These effects can lead to the person displaying dangerous, irrational, and socially inappropriate behaviour.
Alcoholism is the state of being addicted to alcohol. Addiction of any sort is marked by two physical symptoms and a number of behavioural markers. You don’t have to display all of the symptoms to be considered alcoholic.
The two physical symptoms are tolerance and the presence of withdrawal symptoms if you stop drinking. Tolerance means that you need to drink more alcohol in order to get drunk. Withdrawal symptoms are physical problems that arise if you stop drinking abruptly. Examples of withdrawal symptoms associated with alcohol include shakes, seizures, hallucinations, insomnia, and even death. It is very important to have a medically supervised alcohol detox to manage these symptoms properly.
Other symptoms of alcoholism focus on the behaviour of the drinker. Does the person drink alcohol to the point where they renege on their daily responsibilities or stop engaging in normal social activities? If so they may meet some of the other diagnostic criteria.
If you want to find out more about alcoholism because you’re worried about your drinking or that of a loved one please contact the experts at We Do Recover. Our intake coordinators will guide you to the very best treatment clinics available.
What patterns of problem drinking are there?
Without meaning to over simplify the wide range of experiences with alcohol there are two main patterns that have been identified.
The first, nicknamed the “American” pattern is associated with periods of abstinence followed by episodes of heavy binge drinking. These episodes are relatively short in duration and the alcoholic may be able to maintain a fairly high level of functioning in the periods of abstinence between them.
The second is known as the “French” pattern and is associated with the alcoholic maintaining a constant level of inebriation by constantly taking alcohol to remain intoxicated.
If your drinking habit is causing problems in your life please don’t delay in contacting the expert intake coordinators at We Do Recover. They will help you understand the nature of your problem with alcohol and help you find viable rehab options.
What happens with alcohol abuse in the long-term?
Prolonged alcohol abuse can lead to severe health problems. Moderate alcohol consumption is sometimes promoted as being beneficial to health, but there are a great many questions mark around this. Firstly it’s not clear to what extent the alcohol industry has funded the researchers making that claim. Secondly there are alternative ways to accomplish the same result, that don’t have the risks that alcohol has – such as liver damage, foetal alcohol syndrome, violence, and accidents.
People who abuse alcohol are at a much higher risk of developing full blown alcoholism, heart problems, pancreatitis, liver disease, and cancer.
Damage to the central and peripheral nervous system is another possible consequence – the shuffling gait and clumsy appearance of long standing alcoholics is well known to doctors.
Damage to the brain can result in a wide range of problems – memory loss, psychosis, depression, and dementia.
Alcohol is a toxin and so can damage just about any part of the body.
Are you waking up and needing a drink just to get the day started? Contact the professionals at We Do Recover before your drinking becomes worse. Our intake coordinators will help you decide on how best to seek help.
Can I drink alcohol while pregnant?
No. Babies born to mothers who drink alcohol while pregnant are at risk of developing foetal alcohol syndrome. These babies are born with a well defined set of physical and mental defects. There is no way to determine what amount of alcohol is required to produce fetal alchol syndrome. However alcohol crosses the placenta to the foetus and can cause other birth problems. There is no sense in taking any chances when pregnant – please see a doctor for advice.
If you’re at the point where you can’t carry on drinking, but are finding that you cannot stop by yourself please contact We Do Recover. There is a way out of the cycle of alcoholism.
How does alcohol cause death?
Alcohol can lead to death directly through damaging the internal organs or brain so severely the drinker dies. Cirrhosis of the liver is perhaps the best known physical problem, but other organs are also damaged. Alcohol is in fact one of the leading preventable causes of death in the world.
Alcohol also kills through indirect means – fatal accidents and suicide are both associated with alcohol consumption. Accidents arise as a result of the way alcohol dulls response times and promotes risk taking behaviour.
There is hope for alcoholics – it can be treated and nobody has to die from this disease for lack of help. Please contact We Do Recover for expert advice in finding the help you need.
Outpatient versus inpatient alcoholism treatment
If you’re deciding about where to go for treatment you may want to consider the differences between an inpatient and outpatient programme.
Inpatient programmes require you to stay on the property where you will not be tempted by the presence of alcohol. Additionally there will always be staff and your peers on hand to assist you if you start craving or otherwise struggling. These sorts of programs are ideal for people who cannot manage to stay sober and require some help in getting through the first few weeks sober.
Outpatient programmes allow you to live off the property. During the day you can work and attend to your responsibilities and then come to the centre in the evening for groups. This is an option for people who are able to stay sober between group sessions and might appeal to professionals or single parents.
Treatment halts the progress of alcoholism. Contact We Do Recover before your disease gets completely out of control.
Travelling to South Africa for alcoholism treatment
South Africa is a very attractive destination for addiction treatment. The exchange rate makes it very financially competitive. Treatment is based on internationally accepted models and of an outstanding quality.
Visas are easy to obtain and renew for treatment in South Africa. You can enter on a standard holiday visa. Your South African rehab centre will be able to help you with the necessary documentation to extend your stay for medical treatment.
English is spoken at the great majority of rehabs in South Africa, but one centre has translated their programme into Dutch because of the high demand.
It’s been shown that the longer you stay in treatment the better your treatment outcome will be. This makes common sense but has been proven in research as well. Because South African treatment is less costly you’ll be able to afford to stay longer and hence enjoy a higher quality of recovery.
We Do Recover is an industry leader in coordinating treatment plans for South Africa and the United Kingdom. As the oldest independent agency in South Africa we are proud to offer an expert opinion to help you find the best addiction treatment options.