Alcoholism can be defined as a chronic, relapsing condition marked by a psychological and physical dependence on alcohol. Many people mistakenly blame alcoholism on a lack of self-control, but it is a real disease; without an appropriate course of alcoholism treatment, serious health and personal problems are likely to occur.
Treatment is needed to help manage any addiction, especially alcoholism. For more information on finding a reputable treatment center, call Boston Drug Rehab Treatment Centers at 617-517-6448.
Many people engage in destructive drinking behavior but don't fit the criteria for alcoholism. When a person abuses alcohol, they're typically able to control their drinking behavior and cut back on their down. A person with alcoholism doesn't have that level of control over their drinking, and they need detox and rehab at a treatment center in order to conquer their addiction.
Excessive drinking can cause a variety of problems for alcohol abusers and alcoholics. Unhealthy drinking behavior increases the risk of high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. Liver disease, including cirrhosis and fatty liver, is another common consequence.
Long-term alcohol abuse may cause permanent brain damage, and many alcoholics experience sexual problems. In addition to causing these serious physical problems, alcoholism can derail a person's career and damage their personal relationships.
A few indicators can help distinguish an alcoholic from an alcohol abuser. Increased tolerance is a classic symptom of addiction: Individuals with alcoholism require more and more alcohol to achieve the desired effects. Alcoholics also experience symptoms of withdrawal when they go without alcohol, and they find themselves needing alcohol just to function normally.
Alcoholism treatment hasn't always been as effective and socially acceptable as it is today: Addiction used to be considered a moral flaw, and treatment for the condition often involved asylums.
Today's alcoholism treatment programs are evidence-based, and they usually include a combination of psychotherapy, medication and behavioral modification. Although these modern approaches to alcoholism treatment are proven to be successful, many alcoholics are in denial about their condition and refuse to get help.
An individual with alcoholism needs to admit that they have an addiction before they can begin a treatment program. Once they acknowledge the problem, the first step on the road to recovery is detoxification.
A person with alcoholism should never try to quit drinking on their own. Alcohol withdrawal can cause dangerous symptoms, and medical supervision is essential. During the detox process, medications may be administered to lessen the symptoms of withdrawal. Many patients also benefit from hydration and nutritional supplements as they complete the withdrawal process.
Once detox is complete, the period of early abstinence begins. The physical dependence on alcohol may be broken, but the psychological addiction remains. Cravings for alcohol may be strong during this stage, and the risk of relapse is high.
Rehab centers are staffed with psychologists, social workers and other professionals to work with patients and help them through the early days of recovery. These addiction treatment specialists help patients identify potential triggers and develop coping skills. The techniques learned during rehab will be used through an individual's long-term recovery.
The last stage of rehabilitation is known as the maintenance phase, and it usually begins when a patient has achieved 90 days of abstinence. If a patient has completed the early weeks of their recovery in a residential program, they will make the transition to outpatient treatment at this point.
The main focus of this phase is relapse prevention, and many recovering individuals rely on support groups and 12-step programs to keep them on the right track. Ongoing therapy, combined with support from family and friends, can also help recovering people resist the urge to drink.