Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to refer to compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually drinking in such a way that it causes problems to the individual or family. Actually, The term “alcoholism” refers to a disease known as alcohol dependence syndrome, the most severe stage of a group of drinking problems which begins with binge drinking, alcohol misuse or alcohol abuse. Alcoholism (alcohol dependence) and alcohol abuse or misuse are two different forms of problem drinking.
- Alcoholism is when you have signs of physical addiction to alcohol and continues to drink, despite problems with physical health, mental health, and social, family, or job responsibilities. Alcohol may control your life and relationships.
- Alcohol abuse is when your drinking leads to problems, but not physical addiction.
Treatment Completely stopping the use of alcohol is the ideal goal of treatment. This is called abstinence. A strong social network and family support are important in achieving this. Completely stopping and avoiding alcohol is difficult for many people with alcoholism. There will be times when it is difficult. You should aim to avoid drinking for as long as possible. Some people who abuse alcohol may be able to simply reduce the amount they drink. This is called drinking in moderation. If this method does not work, you should try to quit drinking completely.
DECISION TO QUIT Many people with alcohol problems do not recognize when their drinking gets out of hand. The ideal approach to treatment is to help the person realize how much their alcohol use is harming their life and those around them. Studies find that more people with alcohol problems opt for treatment when their family members or employers are honest with them about their concerns, and try to help them see that drinking is preventing them from reaching their goals. Withdrawal from alcohol is best done in a controlled, supervised setting. Complications from withdrawal can be life threatening. For more information, see: Alcohol withdrawal
Your health care provider should order blood and urine tests to check for health problems that are common in people who abuse alcohol.
SUPPORT Alcohol recovery or support programs can help you stop drinking completely. These programs usually offer:
- Counseling and therapy to discuss alcoholism and its effects and how to control your thoughts and behaviors
- Mental health support
- Medical care
You may be treated in a special recovery center (inpatient), or you may attend a program while you live at home (outpatient). Medications are sometimes prescribed to prevent you from drinking again.
Support Groups Support groups are available to help people who are dealing with alcoholism.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS (AA) Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a self-help group of recovering alcoholics that offers emotional support and specific steps for people recovering from alcohol dependence. The program is commonly called a “12-step” approach. AA offers help 24 hours a day and teaches that it is possible to participate in social functions without drinking
Over the years, I have developed much confidence on the 12 steps problems due to the way it embraces spirituality. Thus spirituality can be seen as vital in management of alcoholism.
THE TWELVE STEPS PROGRAM OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS 1 We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
2 Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3 Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as weunderstood Him.
4 Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5 Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
6 Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7 Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8 Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9 Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs