Alcohol addiction can affect anyone, regardless of gender, age, class, religion, nationality, profession or background. Alcohol is by far the most commonly abused drug available in today’s society, yet it is also the most acceptable and accessible.
The problem with alcohol is that it is culturally and socially accepted. It is often seen as a relatively harmless way of relaxing and enjoying oneself. It tends to only be viewed as a drug by those that work in medical or addiction treatment industry.
The stark reality is, that whilst the world is focusing on the latest opioid crisis, people are dying from alcohol related deaths every minute, of every hour, of every day.
In 2016 there were 7,697 alcohol-related deaths in the UK. And, that’s nearly 2,000 more deaths than those attributed to drug poisoning or drug overdose (including illegal and prescription drugs).
Around 80% of these deaths were attributed to alcoholic liver disease.
Alcohol addiction not only has the ability to destroy an individual but also gravely impacts on all those that love and care for them. Losing a family member to alcoholism is something that one never truly recovers from.
If you or a loved one suffer from an alcohol problem, please understand that effective treatment is available. No one need die from untreated alcohol addiction – it is preventable, it is treatable and recovery is possible.
From an outside perspective trying to understanding alcohol addiction can be virtually impossible:
Just because they appear to be choosing alcohol over everything good in their life does not mean they are in control.
Alcohol addiction is a disease of the brain. It compels the sufferer to drink – regardless of the possible or even probable consequences. Someone suffering from alcohol addiction is not in control of their actions or their alcohol consumption. Wherever alcohol is concerned they are insane.
Alcohol addiction does not get better on its own; it is a complex and progressive disease. Alcoholism develops through a process of repeated exposure to alcohol. Over time this causes substantial chemical changes to the brain and to its neurochemistry.
As alcoholism progresses, the individual loses more and more control around their drinking, their decision making and their actions. The consequences to their emotional, physical, mental and financial well being get bigger and bigger. Eventually, unable to stop or trust themselves, an alcoholic may see death as a valid option.
Science and medicine have yet to find a permanent cure for alcoholism. It can however be successfully arrested and treated using a combination of medication and evidence based treatments. Alcohol treatment plans must factor in psychological treatments in order to be successful in the long term.
Alcoholism is a life threatening condition that requires specific professional treatment in order to establish recovery. The sooner help is sought the better.
Video: Dr. Todd Carran – Understanding Addiction
A medical alcohol detox is recommended when an individual has developed a physical addiction to alcohol. It is clinically recognised as the safest and most successful method of stopping.
A medical detox replaces the alcohol with an approved prescribed substitute medication which is then reduced over a period of days. The dosage of medication will vary, depending on the severity of the physical dependence and how it affects the individual.
The purpose of a medical alcohol detox is to drastically reduce the severity of alcohol withdrawal symptoms and make the whole process of stopping alcohol safer and more achievable.
Medical alcohol detoxes should only be conducted in a clinical environment such as a hospital, rehab or alcohol detox clinic. This is due to the seriousness of the mental and physical health implications that can occur during alcohol withdrawal syndrome.
If you or a loved one are physically addicted to alcohol and want to stop, it is strongly recommended that you seek medical and professional addiction advice. Many alcoholics die from alcohol withdrawal symptoms. This can be prevented by seeking the correct professional help before attempting to stop.
Not every individual that suffers from alcohol addiction will drink around the clock. Alcoholism presents in varying forms and stages; it affects each individual differently.
Types of alcohol addiction include alcohol abuse, functioning alcoholic, physically dependent alcoholic, self destructive drinking, top up drinkers, behind closed doors drinkers and compulsive partying.
Regardless of how alcoholism manifests in an individual, there are certain traits and characteristics that are common signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction, these include:
Not every individual that suffers from alcohol addiction will have physical symptoms, especially if the individual binge drinks or keeps themselves from developing withdrawal symptoms. Physical signs and symptoms of alcoholism tend to manifest in the latter stages of alcohol addiction.
Remembering that alcohol addiction is a disease of the brain, most signs and symptoms will manifest in an individuals behaviour with regards to alcohol.
When an individual suffers from alcohol addiction, the alcohol essentially hijacks their brain. It becomes their number one priority. Alcohol will come before family, partners, money, work, security and safety.
An alcoholic may well have periods of regaining some control only to once again lose it. An alcoholics behaviour is predictable where alcohol is concerned as they suffer from an overwhelming obsession and compulsion to drink.
Those with alcohol addiction respond best to a bespoke alcohol recovery programme that is tailored to their personal treatment needs. No two individuals are the same, therefore a treatment programme with tailored alcohol counselling will need to be specific.
Addiction is most successfully treated using a combination of medication (where there is a physical dependence or mental health illness), talking therapies and holistic therapies.
The best treatment options for alcohol addiction will treat the mind, body and spirit of the person. It is important that the individual is treated as a whole being and healed comprehensively – not just from a physical or a mental aspect alone.
Successful treatment options for alcohol addiction will take into account the bigger picture and include the individuals social circle, their family, education, living environment, health and nutrition, coping mechanisms, any underlying trauma, mental wellbeing and any risk factors that could potentially jeopardize their future sobriety.
A long term treatment plan is also necessary to assist in integrating a recovering alcoholic back into society on an alcohol free basis.
The first stage in treating alcohol addiction is to stop the alcohol safely. For those with a physical dependence this will usually mean an alcohol detox.
Medical alcohol detoxes use pharmaceutical medications that are approved to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms and include anti-seizure medications and benzodiazepines.
In the majority of alcohol dependent cases, inpatient alcohol detox is recommended.
Pharmaceutical medications can also prove helpful in reducing alcohol cravings and in helping an individual to resist the temptation of alcohol. Medications that have been approved by the National Institute for Health and Care (NICE) for this purpose are:
Medications do NOT cure alcoholism, they are only recommended to be used in conjunction with approved evidence based alcohol treatment therapies and on a short term basis.
Talking therapies and addiction counselling are a vital part in rehabilitating any individual from alcohol addiction. Once the alcohol has been safely removed, intensive talking therapy can then be of maximum benefit.
Any alcohol treatment programme that is missing this vital cognitive component falls spectacularly short.
The following talking alcohol therapies are proven to help treat alcohol addiction:
All of the above therapies are best used in a combinationation that is tailored to the individual alcohol patients treatment needs.
Holistic means “whole” and in addiction treatment terms it covers all aspects of the patients being. Essentially, talking therapies are holistic but not every individual will be able to express themselves best through talking. Some patients will respond better to other methods and mediums of treatment.
Holistic therapies that have proven to be useful in treating alcohol addiction include:
Basically any therapeutic activity that encourages an alcohol addict to connect with their spirit and soul will assist them in their rehabilitation.
Sadly, due to large government expenditure cuts across the UK to drug and alcohol services, alcohol rehab is rarely funded these days by the NHS.
There are numerous private alcohol rehabs available both in the UK and overseas. When choosing an alcohol rehab it is important to ensure that they hold the relevant registrations and qualifications..
Residential alcohol rehabs has been shown to have the best treatment outcomes. This is because everything is delivered and accessed under the one roof. The environment is more controlled and there is less chance of alcohol being a temptation during the course of treatment.
There is no quick fix to successfully treating alcohol addiction, establishing the foundations of recovery takes change, time and work. A minimum of 6 weeks rehab treatment is recommended as the optimum treatment time.
Continuation of implementing recovery practices is a vital part of relapse prevention. Detoxing the body and brain from alcohol does not remove the disease of addiction and only serves to safely remove the alcohol.
Step by Step Recovery provide fully residential alcohol rehab in Essex. We are experts on treating all forms of alcohol addiction and its common co occurring illnesses.
The Lighthouse rehab in Essex offers primary alcohol rehab, secondary alcohol rehab and a supported housing/sober living community. We have taken every measure possible to ensure that our CQC registered alcohol rehab meets all of the recommended treatment criteria for successfully treating alcohol addiction
We treat our alcohol patients firstly with a full medical alcohol detox (where required) then a full bespoke rehabilitation programme consisting of evidence based talking and holistic therapies. Further benefits of our alcohol rehab include:
If you have any questions regarding the services that we please call and speak to member of our team. Alternatively, you can complete and return our online assessment form.
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