What is alcohol?
- It is a sedative drug.
- Its pure form is odorless, colorless and not inflammable.
- It is used in many societies for various purposes.
- It has no nutrient to nourish the physical body.
Though many don’t believe it, alcohol is not only a drug but also the most widely used drug in the United States. However, when people use the word ‘drug’, alcohol is not included. ‘Drug’ means ‘intoxication’. But, it has been given a strong negative connotation that if a bar owner is called a drug dealer or if an alcoholic is called a drug abuser, he would be offended.
If people start calling alcohol a drug, it offers two practical advantages. (1) The user is aware that he is using something that can be dangerous. (2) It becomes a reminder for all that alcohol use is not evil but potentially dangerous. In the end, there is nothing wrong is drinking beer or smoking. The problem lies in the usage time, person, intention, quantity, place, behavior and circumstance.
There are debates going on to find out ‘is alcohol a drug or not?’. Some drug-supplying industries join the alcohol industry and protest together, whereas the others pass the buck to the other. In this, we can only see that none of them are worried about the human health.
Alcohol is available for those older than 18 years of age. This doesn’t mean it is less powerful. It is a depressant that lessens the body’s responses to reality. Having the right amount is good enough. Too much alcohol can lead to a hangover, leaving you with nothing to remember. And if you take more than necessary in a single session, it can either put you in a coma or kill you.
Effects of Alcohol
- It makes you feel relaxed and sociable, numbing your issues and problems.
- Excuses and exaggerations of your mood to get a drink.
- It leads to several health issues due to drinking more than regular levels or binge drinking. Some of the health problems are heart issues, stroke, accidents, cancers, liver problems and high blood pressure.
Children younger than 15 years are prohibited to drink. The best advice is to stay away from alcohol until 18 years of age. If you ever drink before the legal age, make sure you are around some responsible adult who can help you.
- Just drink once a week. For men, not more than 3-4 units and for women, not more than 2-3 units.
- For those adults who regularly drink, men = 3-4 units and women = 2-3 units.
- If you had been drinking heavily, keep yourself away from alcohol for at least 48 hours to prevent emergencies.
Why is it the most widely used?
- It suppress the feelings of anxiety and depression and enhances the mood of the user.
- It is easily available to anyone above 18 years of age.
- It makes a person relaxed but takes away the discernment ability.
Does the role of alcohol in your loved one’s life concern you? There are a few signs you ought to look for to know whether he is addicted and how to help an alcoholic.
Signs of Alcoholism
- The physician has advised him/her to reduce his alcohol intake.
- He/she seems to handle more alcohol now than when he first started.
- He/she often gets into legal problems because of drunk driving.
- When there are others around, he tends to take extra shots when they are not noticing.
- He/she seems to forget what had happened the previous evening though he seems to not pass out.
- Family members and friends have expressed concern regarding his drinking habit.
- He/she has started avoiding family and friends just to get his craving quenched.
- Memory blackouts have been occurring recently.
- There people who abuse alcohol in the family.
- He/she drinks heavily during occasions.
- He/she has reached to others for help in this area.
- He/she wants to have his first drink before anything else.
- He/she has tried stopping himself, but it seems like he lacks self-control.
- After drinking, he/she feels guilty.
- He/she makes promises and bets to try to control the quantity.
- Sometimes, he/she ends up drunk for days.
- He/she does things when he is drunk and then regrets them later.
- When alcohol is not available, he/she is restless and disappointed.
- Because of drinking, there are problems at home, work and community.
- Sometimes, he/she is unable to drink more than a certain amount.
- There is eating disorder due to high alcohol consumption.
- He/she drinks heavily when he is low, depressed or stressed.
- Often, he/she has ‘shakes’ that have to be put under control by a little bit of alcohol.
- After drinking, he/she has signs of hallucinations.
- He/she drinks even after all his friends had had enough.
- He/she feels depressed or anxious if he doesn’t have a drink.
Almost anything can be preserved in alcohol, except health, happiness, and money.
Stages of Alcoholism
There are three stages that characterize alcoholism: early, middle and late stages. These stages show the progress of the disease. In the early stage, an increase in the frequency and amount of alcohol is noticed. However, at this stage, the individual can maintain his responsibilities at work, home and society. At this time, he also continues to develop tolerance towards alcohol, leading to occasional hangovers. Drinking doesn’t become a major problem during this stage, so all the necessary obligations are met. The person is unaware of the following consequences because there seem to be no negative effects caused by his drinking habit.
There isn’t any clear line between early and middle stages, but the dependence on alcohol marks the onset middle stage. In the early stage, the individual can make decisions. He knows and decides when he want to drink. However, in the middle stage, he is unable to avoid alcohol because of his tolerance to and dependence on it. At this stage, the craving to get hold of a bottle of alcohol overpowers the need to meet responsibilities at home, work and society. The consequences of alcoholism are manifested at this stage, leading the alcoholic to the last stage.
In the last stage, the disease is characterized by the need to take alcohol just to face the world. At this stage, the individual loses his job and even struggles to maintain his housing and finances. Relationships also seem to get affected because of this habit. At this stage, there are two options that an alcoholic can choose from: (1) reach out for help and get treated and (2) continue the habit and be subjected to premature death.
How to Help Your Loved One?
When most of the points mentioned above seem to sync with your loved one, it is time to show that there is an issue, and it has to be addressed. You can talk to him individually or as a family and show him that you all are concerned. If he is inclined to what you are saying, then the best way of how you can help an alcoholic is by referring them to a rehab center.
Drug and alcohol rehab centres provide both inpatient and outpatient facilities. They have all the necessary treatment process to help an addict overcome his addiction. Some of the common treatments done in rehabilitation centres are medical detoxification, counseling, medications and extended aftercare for preventing relapse. Reach for help to the nearest centre and save your love one from self-harm and other dangers that come along with alcoholism.
Choosing an Alcohol Treatment Program
Through organisations like Alcoholics Anonymous, alcohol rehabilitation have been established and registered. Here, they treat all the alcohol-related issues. Alcohol rehabilitation becomes necessary to save a life from the edge of hope. When alcoholism is an issue, the best approach is to take help from a rehabilitation. If the cause for the drinking habit is the environment and the people around, then rehabilitation is the option to help the addict.
Alcohol rehabilitation is a place to help an individual get rid of his unhealthy by finding out the root that lead to this habit. The support given here enables him to overcome the addiction slowly but with dignity. Though most individuals make the rehabilitation their last resort, it is best to make this your first option for a speedy recovery. Therefore, other chronic side effects are avoided or are treated on time.
What do they do?
The rehabilitation process starts once the detoxification process is done. The rehabs take care of the recovery process. Here, the core issues and reasons behind the addictions are found and addressed so that they effectively move on without any relapse.
During individual therapy session, the addict is given enough free space to pour out his heart and discuss the core things that matter to him. This process makes the recovery easier. In the group sessions, the patient is allowed to mingle with people who have the similar difficulties. Here, stories and life experiences are shared to help and strengthen every patient part-taking in the session. They get to know that they can overcome the addiction and live productive lives.
Time management skills are taught for them so that they learn how to use their time wisely instead of using them for alcohol. They are taught how to identify triggers and how to deal with them. Cognitive behavioural therapy helps the patients address the relation of their thoughts with alcohol, helping them reform their thought patterns which eventually help them live productively.
Family therapy is done to help the family understand the patient’s problem and to help them be a support system throughout the recovery process. Due to the addiction of one person, the whole family gets affected, from finance to relationships. Oftentimes, it affects the lives of other siblings. For the recovery of the addict, the family plays a vital role. By this therapy, the family understands where there was a lack that lead to alcoholism, so they can help the patient by providing the proper love and support. The therapy also helps the members of the family to resolve the issues the right way and stand as a support system for the complete recovery of the patient.
Residential Alcohol Rehab Treatment Programs
A teen’s life is full of distractions like school activities, friends, projects, sports, television, dating, etc. These can affect the recovery for teens who have a drinking problem. Residential alcohol rehab centre are the best for helping them come out of addiction successfully. This is also called inpatient treatment facility. It takes about 1-3 months or more, and the teen is requested to stay on site for the whole process. This treatment process offers individual and group counselling sessions, academic classes and support meetings. The environment is free from distractions, and it is easy for a teen to focus on his recovery.
Many public health care centres and private facilities offer residential alcohol treatment. Some parents feel that inpatient services are not safe, but they have proved to be effective in helping a number of addicts. Here, clients get to meet their therapists and counsellors anytime of the day, which makes them feel safe and cared for.
There are other options for alcohol addiction treatment like outpatient rehab. The treatment procedures are similar to that of inpatient facilities. However, in an outpatient setting, the teen gets to go back home and stay with his family and live a normal life as he continues to be under treatment. Some of the benefits of outpatient treatment are the following:
- Teens are allowed to spend time with their families and attend school without interruptions.
- Teens get connected to community resources like tutoring centres and placement services.
- The privacy of the family is not disturbed because the teen can get his treatment in his home itself.
However, outpatient facilities have major disadvantages. Being in the same environment can quickly distract them from being focussed. Peer pressure is one of the common problems. Outpatient facility doesn’t promise a structured and 100% supervised care. This can give opportunities for a teen to miss his counselling sessions.
How Efficient Is Residential Treatment?
Studies have found that residential alcohol rehab treatment is best to help alcoholics overcome addiction. In fact, outpatient facility is best for light drinkers, whereas inpatient treatment is the best for heavy drinkers. This means that teens who require intensive treatments and medical detox programmes, they should opt for residential treatment. Here, they can expect successful recovery.
Some teens who have serious issues that led them to addiction need a safer and private environment. Some of the issues can be
- Physical, mental and sexual abuse
- Suicidal thoughts and attempts.
- Undiagnosed psychological disorders like depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder.
- Relapses after attempting alcohol addiction treatment.
- Complicated co-existing issues like diabetes
Things to Consider
There are some things you should find out before you opt for an inpatient treatment programme.
- The services provided by the centre
- The centre’s accreditation and licencing status
- The length of the whole recovery treatment
- The number of staff members and their qualification
Residential alcohol rehab centres not only provide treatment for recovery but also offer aftercare and support to help patients keep from relapses.