Alcoholism is a chronic, often progressive disease. There is a considerable variation in patterns of drinking among individuals in alcohol consumption.
A number of individuals drink socially, or occasionally, and are able to stop after a few drinks. It does not interfere with any other area of their life. But for many others who drink, things go the other way. There “occasional” and “social” drinking progress into regular drinking.
Not everyone who consumes alcohol is alcoholic.An alcoholic is one, whose drinking causes continuing problems in any area of his life (such as family relationships, job, financial status or health) and who continues to drink in spite of these problems because he has developed a physical and psychological dependence on alcohol.A person with alcohol addiction typically craves alcohol and drinks despite repeated alcohol related problems.
Before entering recovery, most alcoholics will deny they have a problem. Often they attribute their drinking to occupational, social or financial stress.
As with all addiction,two main components of alcohol dependence are presence of tolerance to alcohol and withdrawal symptoms.
Which means increased need for alcohol to attain the same effect or reduced effect even with the same amount of alcohol consumption.
Alcohol withdrawal means emergence of two or more signs or symptoms within several hours of stopping or reducing heavy, prolonged alcohol consumption like,
-Increased heart rate
-Difficulties with sleep
-Nausea or vomiting
-Transient illusions or hallucinations
-Restlessness and uneasiness
Alcohol addiction includes
-Consumption of alcohol in larger amount or for longer duration
-Persistent desire to reduce or control drinking
-Too much time is spent in drinking or recovering from effects of drinking
-Important social, occupational, or leisure activities are given up or reduced because of alcohol
-Continued alcohol consumption despite alcohol related problems.
Alcohol abuse is relatively less severe form of alcohol related problems.
-Repeated drinking resulting in failure to fulfill responsibilities at home, workplace or school
-Repeated drinking in situations in which it is physically dangerous like drinking and driving, operating machinery while drunk etc.
-Repeated alcohol-related legal problems
-Continued drinking despite having repeated social or relational problems related to drinking
The first step is to determine if a person has a problem with alcohol or not.
For a person who has become addicted to alcohol, choice of treatment depends upon a number of other factors like,
- Severity of alcoholism
- Motivation to quit
- Support system
- Coexisting psychiatric disorders
- Coexisting medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension etc.
- Previous history of withdrawal symptoms
- Pattern of relapse
Patient can be treated as outpatient if withdrawal symptoms are not severe or when we are not expecting severe withdrawal symptoms and a person is having enough motivation to quit.
It includes medicines to manage withdrawal symptoms and craving and counseling to improve motivation, avoid relapse and to address psychological issues.
If a person’s alcohol intake is severe,he needs inpatient treatment for detoxification and management of withdrawal symptoms.
Inpatient treatment lasts for 5 to 10 days (on avg. 7 days) depending upon the above mentioned factors.
Inpatient treatment involves:
-Complete evaluation of alcohol problem and gastrologists opinion s.o.s.
-Detoxification from alcohol
-Replenishing vitamins and minerals
-Medications to handle the withdrawal symptoms
-Medications to control craving for alcohol
-Regular follow up sessions to maintain the abstinence
Our center also offers Naltrexone therapy,Baclofen therapy and Disulfiram therapy .
With newer therapies it is possible to get rid of alcohol addiction.