Overcoming an addiction to alcohol can be a long and bumpy road. At times, it may even feel impossible. But it’s not. If you’re ready to stop drinking and willing to get the support you need, you can recover from alcoholism and alcohol abuse—no matter how heavy your drinking or how powerless you feel. You don’t have to wait until you hit rock bottom; you can make a change at any time. Whether you want to quit drinking altogether or cut down to healthier levels, these guidelines can help you get started on the road to recovery today.
Dependence is defined as an adaptive state that develops in response to repeated drug administration, and is unmasked during withdrawal, which occurs when drug taking stops. Dependence from long-term drug use may have both a somatic component, manifested by physical symptoms, and an emotional–motivation component, manifested by dysphoria. While physical dependence and withdrawal occur with some drugs of abuse (opiates, ethanol), these phenomena are not useful in the diagnosis of addiction because they do not occur with other drugs of abuse (cocaine, amphetamine) and can occur with many drugs that are not abused (propranolol, clonidine).
In the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 20.2 million American adults reported a past-year substance use disorder, and out of this group 7.9 million (39.1 percent) also suffered from a co-occurring mental health disorder. The range of co-occurring disorders known to coincide with drug addiction is broad and includes virtually every type of mental illness recognized by the American Psychiatric Association.
More good news is that drug use and addiction are preventable. Results from NIDA-funded research have shown that prevention programs involving families, schools, communities, and the media are effective for preventing or reducing drug use and addiction. Although personal events and cultural factors affect drug use trends, when young people view drug use as harmful, they tend to decrease their drug taking. Therefore, education and outreach are key in helping people understand the possible risks of drug use. Teachers, parents, and health care providers have crucial roles in educating young people and preventing drug use and addiction. Three Approaches to Treating Addiction by Dr. Bob Weathers
There are several ways to approach addiction, and every case is different. The best approach is usually one tailored to the specific needs of the individual with a clear goal in mind. Selecting the right drug treatment program begins with the first call or interaction. Intake coordinators at The Recovery Village ask a number of questions regarding the nature of the substance use disorder to find the best treatment program to meet the individual’s needs.
The gap between men and women affected by alcohol abuse and addiction has closed too. In 2016, an analysis of sixty-eight studies from around the world with a combined sample size of over four million people was carried out. The results showed that in the early 1900s, men were 2.2 times more likely to drink alcohol than women. They were also three times more likely so experience problem alcohol use and 3.6 times more likely to experience harm from their alcohol use. Megan's Battle With Alcohol Addiction | True Stories of Addiction | Detox to Rehab
However, your participation can make a big difference. Based on clinical experience, many health providers believe that support from friends and family members is important in overcoming alcohol problems. But friends and family may feel unsure about how best to provide the support needed. The groups for family and friends listed below under Resources may be a good starting point.
The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is a force of healing and hope for individuals, families and communities affected by addiction to alcohol and other drugs. As the nation's leading nonprofit provider of comprehensive inpatient and outpatient treatment for adults and youth, the Foundation has 17 locations nationwide and collaborates with an expansive network throughout health care. With a legacy that began in 1949 and includes the 1982 founding of the Betty Ford Center, the Foundation today also encompasses a graduate school of addiction studies, a publishing division, an addiction research center, recovery advocacy and thought leadership, professional and medical education programs, school-based prevention resources and a specialized program for children who grow up in families with addiction.
Acamprosate, disulfiram and topiramate (a novel anticonvulsant sulphonated sugar) are also used to treat alcohol addiction. Acamprosate has shown effectiveness for patients with severe dependence, helping them to maintain abstinence for several weeks, even months. Disulfiram (also called Antabuse) produces a very unpleasant reaction when drinking alcohol that includes flushing, nausea and palpitations. It is more effective for patients with high motivation and some addicts use it only for high-risk situations. Patients who wish to continue drinking or may be likely to relapse, should not take disulfiram as it can result in the disulfiram-alcohol reaction mentioned previously, which is very serious and can even be fatal Guilt, Shame, Depression And The Cycle Of Addiction, Recovery And Relapse - John Flaherty
Upon exiting treatment, a patient may be prescribed a drug like disulfiram, which prevents the body from chemically processing alcohol, causing an unpleasant reaction if the patient relapses or attempts to relapse. Because of disulfiram’s toxicity, it has to be taken under the supervision of a doctor, as unregulated usage can cause strong, even fatal reactions.
The methamphetamine binge is followed by a phase called “tweaking,” a state characterized by restlessness, anxiety, paranoia, agitation, sleeplessness, and intense cravings. “Tweakers” may experience delusional thinking, psychotic episodes, hallucinations, and violent impulses. Severe itching and the urge to harm oneself are common at this point. Methamphetamine withdrawal is complicated by the fact that many heavy users are malnourished, dehydrated, and sleep deprived. Meth-induced psychosis can continue for weeks or months after the addict stops using. In a case study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, one methamphetamine addict continued to have auditory hallucinations, fears of persecution, and paranoid delusions for a year after treatment. A rehab jail for heroin addicts