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Debamita Banerjee

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Alcohol addiction and it's treatment

Alcohol is a vice that is picked up easily but can be hard to get rid of. Consumption of alcohol is a part of a lot of people's social and personal lives. Its occasional ingestion isn't very harmful to the body, but if not managed actively, can turn into an addiction.    

Alcoholism is prevalent within people of all races, economic classes, and genders. It causes 2.8 million premature deaths worldwide every year. The general populace doesn't treat alcoholism as a real disease but it indeed is one. It causes an imbalance in the brain's neurochemistry which affects an individual's behavior and actions.  

TYPES OF ALCOHOLISM  

Alcoholism surfaces in majorly two types as mentioned below.  

Binge Drinking  

A person that engages in binge drinking usually drinks excessive amounts of alcohol in brief periods and then stops doing so all of sudden. This cycle keeps repeating over and over. It's often noticed in individuals who use alcohol as a coping mechanism for their problems or are easily subjected to peer pressure. It can prove to be extremely harmful because one can develop an addiction without noticing it as drinking isn't a regular habit for them.  

Heavy Drinking  

A heavy drinker usually devours various variants of alcoholic beverages regularly and forms a habit of doing so over time. After a point, they might start feeling anxious when they go too long without a drink. This can be hazardous as most heavy drinkers eventually end up developing a serious alcohol addiction and it becomes difficult for them to give up the habit. They're prone to experiencing withdrawal symptoms as soon as they try to get away from alcohol for extended periods.     

SYMPTOMS OF ALCOHOL ADDICTION  

Alcohol addiction can be tricky to recognize because a wide portion of the population consumes alcohol as a part of social activity or just a choice of beverage. Detecting the fine line between enjoying a drink and being dependent on it is difficult. If you're alarmed about the issue, then you could ask your family, friends, or peers to hold you accountable when you are in their proximity. You also get a proper diagnosis from a healthcare professional.    

Meanwhile, here are some symptoms that an individual addicted to alcohol might experience.  

High quantity and frequency of usage  

This is quite an obvious symptom. A person with an addiction will start consuming higher amounts of alcohol progressively over time. They would seek ways to get their hands on a drink as often as possible, to the point that they start to seem perpetually drunk.    

Lesser prone to Hangovers  

The more accustomed your body gets to alcohol, the lesser likely it is for you to encounter drastic hangovers. Higher consumption facilitates higher tolerance because alcohol is an addictive substance that induces dependency.    

Lethargy and Low Energy  

Alcohol reduces the amount of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep you get which is essential for the or daily replenishment of your neurological system. As a result of this, excessive alcohol consumption leads to a lack of energy during the day and disrupts the user's concentration while performing daily activities. Unrestricted alcohol usage also damages bodily functions and hampers a person's physical health resulting in them having ng lower productivity.  

Life starting to revolve around Alcohol  

When a person starts developing an addiction, alcohol starts becoming the center of all their lifestyle choices. This is especially noticeable in their social habits. They start looking for alcohol at every party or function they go to and make plans only at locations where their choice of beverage is readily available. An alcoholic can go as far as altering their current social circle to further assist their habits.    

Because of the flak, people receive from their near and dear ones on harboring such a habit, they frequently begin to avoid contacting their family members. Alternatively, they might even conceal their drinking patterns to steer clear of controversy.  

Develop Anxiety or Depression  

Research shows that Alcoholism and mental disorders such as anxiety and depression often co-occur. For a person suffering from social anxiety or loneliness due to depression, alcohol can seem like an instant rescue because it assuages their negative emotional reactions and induces a trance-like state. But, in the long run, it only worsens their condition.  

HEALTH PROBLEMS CAUSED BY ALCOHOL ADDICTION  

Excessive Consumption of Alcohol and severe health implications on a person's vital organs. It has the potential to even cause death in serious cases.  

Here are a few health issues that can be a by-product of alcoholism.  

  • Liver damage
  • Cardiovascular diseases  
  • Loss of Vision  
  • Increased risk of cancer
  • Complications in the birth of a child for pregnant women 
  • Inferior sexual performance and lower sex drive
  • Diminished immunity 
  • Diabetes complications 
  • Mouth and stomach ulcers  

TREATMENTS FOR ALCOHOLISM

The treatment for alcoholism is a strenuous procedure because there is no quick fix for it. The patient needs to be mentally and physically prepared for what's coming ahead. If an individual is only in the initial stages of their addiction, then it might be possible for them to revive to their original state by making lifestyle changes on their own. But, if you've developed a serious case of alcoholism, you must reach out to a professional as soon as possible.  

Here are some treatments and remedies to cure alcoholism that one can try.  

Acknowledge your condition  

Curing an alcohol addiction is all about the patient being able to fight back their urges and being determined to get rid of their toxic habit. To accomplish this, the individual suffering from alcoholism must be ready and motivated to get treatment for their condition, no amount of force is going to help them get better until they personally want to adapt to a change in their habits.  

Counseling or Therapy  

Seeing a professional therapist or counselor can help an alcoholic learn strategies to cope up with their withdrawal symptoms and intense desire to go back to their previous practices. This will help them deal with any stress or anxiety that might accompany the procedure and also prevent a relapse.  

It's often observed that alcohol abusers partake in the activity to escape their reality or emotional problems. Talking to a therapist can help you understand if an underlying trauma is triggering you to self-sabotage. You can learn how to deal with your issues and emotions in a much healthier manner.  

Refer a Psychiatrist for Medication  

In India, curing alcohol addiction mainly falls under the working range of psychiatrists. They can properly diagnose your condition and consult you regarding the future course of action.   

Your doctor will likely prescribe you medication that relieves your withdrawal symptoms, prevents relapse, and eases stress. Medication prescribed should be consumed only in the dosage specified by the doctor.  

Rehab  

If despite therapy and psychiatric consultation, a person feels like they're unable to control their urges on their own, getting admitted to a rehabilitation center could be a helpful alternative. The healthcare professionals at rehab are experts at addiction treatment and will make sure that you can never get your hands on any alcohol during your stay at the facility.  

Proper Nutrition  

A person going through an alcohol addiction tends to see drastic changes in their weight, experience a lack of energy, and feel drowsy persistently. A diet adequate in all essential macro and micronutrients helps them to feel physically strong so that they do not easily give in to their desires and can battle their condition headstrong.    

Join Support Groups  

Being a part of a support group is immensely essential in a patient's journey to sobriety. Alcoholism brings with it a lot of shame. Alcoholic often starts feeling worthless for not being able to control themselves. Having a community that understands the exact cues you experience and the implications of your condition can be a boon. They can guide you towards a more positive mindset and keep you on track while you pursue your goal.  

In our country, finding such groups can be difficult, and even when you do, coming out publicly as an alcoholic can cause genuine damage to your career and social standings because of the taboo surrounding it. Visit iAmEars to be a part of a community of kind and understanding individuals. You can share your issues and thoughts at iAmEars without any inhibitions because the platform guarantees complete anonymity. You can read revelations made by other people going through the same problems as you and interact with them to get first-hand advice. iAmEars has a team of experts and healthcare professionals that are open to answering any query you might have and also provide counseling sessions if required.    

CONCLUSION  

Alcohol addiction doesn't emerge in a day, so expecting it to be cured quickly and easily isn't fair. It is undeniably difficult to give an item that so greatly affects you psychologically and physically, but by staying patient and dedicated to your end goal, you can defeat the evil that is alcoholism.  

Below is a video of renowned Psychiatrist Dr. Ashish Mittal where he briefly discusses Alcohol addiction and its treatments.  

If you've noticed a loved one slipping up and are trying to help them revive from their condition, be kind to them on the bad days while making sure that they do not deviate from their motive. Better days are on their way.

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