Like other addictions, alcoholism is a recurrent psychological disorder which manifests itself as an overmastering urge to consume alcohol. It may result in a physical or mental dependence on alcohol as well. Alcoholism warrants its own discussion because it is treated so differently from other drugs of abuse. People often mistakenly believe that alcohol, being legal and a part of American culture, is somehow “safe” to use. In fact, it is one of the most dangerous drugs in existence and causes millions of deaths each year. People also believe that alcoholism is nothing more than a character flew, when in fact it is a serious disease. Without treatment, alcohol can cause serious health or lifestyle problems for its users, or even kill.
The Nature of Alcoholism
Some people are what’s technically classified as “problem drinkers”—they’re not alcoholics, but their behavior causes problems in their personal lives regardless. Problem drinkers can stop their drinking at any time. But alcoholics cannot stop drinking, and have difficulty even lessening the amount they drink. It is this lack of control which separates an alcoholic from a problem drinker. Alcoholics require medical detoxification and the help of a reputable rehab center to beat their dependency issues. Left untreated, alcoholism can cause a variety of health problems: stroke, heart attack, cardiovascular problems, high blood pressure, cirrhosis of the liver, fatty liver disease, and many others. In the long term, overuse or misuse of alcohol can permanently damage the brain, impair memory, or cause sexual dysfunction. A full-blown alcoholic typically ruins their finances, their careers, and their future.
Some signs and indicators you can be watchful for if you suspect that you or a loved one has an alcoholism problem include: tolerance (increased resistance to alcohol’s effects) and physical withdrawal symptoms (when drinking is stopped even briefly).
Alcoholism wasn’t always considered a disease. For the longest time, it was considered a moral failing or character flaw, and even after it was acknowledged to be a disease, alcoholics were clapped in irons, stuck in asylums or sanatoria, and were subjected to the cruelest rehabilitations.
After a successful intervention, a recovering alcoholic enters detoxification. The purpose of detoxification is to purify the body of alcoholic residues and to mitigate potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms. This is a much safer alternative to quitting “cold turkey.” Quitting alcohol by yourself carries with it a host of risks—even death. It’s essential that the detox process be overseen by a medical expert, who may administer medications as necessary to prevent the onset of drastic withdrawal symptoms. Physicians may also recommend nutritional supplements and dietary changes to speed the detoxification process and aid the patient’s recovery.
Detox breaks a person’s physical attachment to alcohol. Treatment, however, has only just begun. Though the individual’s physical dependency has been destroyed, their psychological dependency continues, and can only be addressed with a lengthy, intensive period of therapy and counseling. The risk of relapse are exponentially higher during this stage, as the mental cravings set in.
To help the addicted individual manage cravings effectively, NC Drug Rehab Charlotte‘s rehabilitation facilities retain a staff of competent mental help professionals and counselors. Their job is to teach the patient how addiction works, help them come to terms with the behaviors and factors which caused them to begin drinking, and to usher them safely through the early days of their recovery. They help patients avoid temptation and teach them coping skills which they can use to prevent relapse, skills they can put to good use long after rehabilitation ends.
After a 45- or 90-day stay at a recovery center, the patient will then be free to commence his or her drug-free life. To help the patient maintain their sobriety during this crucial time, NC Drug Rehab Charlotte offers aftercare services and support groups on an outpatient basis. Frequent meetings and continued counseling sessions keep relapse at bay and solidify the patient’s foundation for recovery.