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Like many other illnesses and diseases alcoholism has recognizable symptoms, a fairly predictable course, and are influenced by various environmental and genetic factors.Being addicted to alcohol means that in spite of the “best intentions”, an individual has little or no control over whether he or she uses alcohol.Stated more precisely, an individual who is addicted to alcohol has grown so accustomed to alcohol that he or she simply “needs” to have the substance in order to “feel right” or to function. It is important to mention, moreover, that addiction can be psychological, physical or both.
Alcoholism can lead people into serious trouble, and can be physically and mentally destructive. There are also many health problems associated with alcohol use such as brain damage, cancer, heart disease, and diseases of the liver. Alcoholics who do not stop drinking reduce life expectancy by 10 to 15 years.
Often people who are not problem drinkers or who don’t drink at all fail to grasp the fact that alcohol addicted Individuals cannot use willpower or self-control to refrain from drinking. Stated more precisely, in the vast majority of situations, alcoholism has more to do with an alcoholics uncontrollable need for alcohol and very little to do with strong character, will power, or fighting the temptations to engage in drinking behavior. In fact, the desire and craving to drink for the alcoholic can be as strong as his or her need for necessities such as shelter, food, or water.
While there is no known cure for alcoholism. Recovery from alcoholism is fortunately, possible. While a relatively small number of alcohol dependent individuals are able to recover from alcoholism without professional alcoholism help or assistance, most alcoholics need medical treatment, counseling, and education for their addiction. The good news how ever, is this: through therapy, rehabilitation, support and professional alcoholism help, many alcoholics are able to stay “safe and sober” as work on reestablishing their lives.
Some myths and facts about alcoholism
Alcohol addiction is voluntary behavior: No. people start occasionally using alcohol and that is a voluntary decision .but as time passes, something happens, i.e. compulsion. Because overtime ,continued use of alcohol changes brain- in dramatic, toxic ways at times, more subtly at others, but virtually always in ways that result in compulsive and even uncontrollable alcohol use.
Alcohol addiction is a character flaw: No. alcohol addiction is a brain disease.
You cant force someone into treatment: No. treatment does not have to be voluntary. Those coerced into treatment by the legal system can be just as successful as those who enter treatment voluntarily. Sometimes they do better, as they are more likely to remain in treatment longer and to complete the program.
People don’t need treatment: people can stop using alcohol if they really want to. No. It is extremely hard for people addicted to alcohol to achieve and maintain long term abstinence. Research shows that long-term alcohol use actually changes a persons brain function, it causes them to crave the alcohol ever more, making it increasingly difficult to quit without effective treatment.
Treatment just doesn’t work: No. studies show drug treatment and a psychological intervention reduces alcohol use by 40 to 60 percent and can significantly decrease criminal activity during and after treatment.
No one voluntarily seeks treatment until they hit rock bottom: No. There are many things that can motivate a person to enter and complete treatment before that happens. Pressure from family members and employers, as well as personal recognition that they have a problem, can be powerful motivators.
People who continue to abuse drugs after treatment are hopeless .No. Completing a treatment program us merely the first step in the struggle for recovery that can last a life time. Alcohol addiction is a chronic disorder ; occasional relapses do not mean failure .psychological stress from work or family problems, social cues- meeting some from the alcohol –using past – or the environment – encountering streets , can easily trigger a relapse. Addicts are most vulnerable to alcohol use during the few months immediately following their release from treatment. Recovery is a long process and frequently requires multiple treatment attempts before complete and consistent sobriety can be achieved.
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