Although alcohol is a widely available, socially acceptable and legal substance, it is prone to abuse. The problem for most people is that they do not realise what is classed as alcohol abuse. The Government issued alcohol guidelines in January 2016 that state the safe consumption level for UK adults is no more than fourteen units of alcohol per week. With these guidelines was a warning that there is no safe limit in terms of preventing certain illnesses and that the weekly guideline amount should be spread over a number of days. They also stipulate that there should also be a few days kept alcohol-free.
Despite these warnings, many individuals in the UK regularly drink more than fourteen units of alcohol per week. In fact, there are those that drink more than fourteen units in a single drinking session. This is classed as alcohol abuse, which can be harmful to health and can lead to alcohol addiction.
That being said, not everyone who abuses alcohol will go on to develop an addiction. The fact is that some people are more prone to alcoholism than others, and this is often down to them having a few risk factors. The only thing that they all have in common is a need for treatment. But what is alcohol addiction treatment and who needs it?
How Does Alcoholism Develop?
The only way to avoid alcoholism is to abstain from alcohol completely. But having said that, it is important to remember that most people can drink alcohol in moderation without ever having any problems.
For some, however, alcohol can become a destructive force. It can consume them entirely and can cause massive problems in their life. But how does this illness develop and why does it affect some people and not others? These are questions that many want answers to.
What is common among all alcoholics is the fact that they did not choose to become addicted to alcohol, despite what many others believe. They did make the choice to drink alcohol in the first place, but they did not decide that they would quite like to become alcoholics – it makes no sense. It is human nature to stop doing something that causes harm, but in the case of addiction, the ability to stop is not present.
For most people, addiction begins with experimentation, and there are many reasons people drink alcohol. For one thing, it is a socially acceptable substance that forms a huge part of modern society. Some drink it initially out of curiosity, and if they like the taste or how it makes them feel, they may choose to drink it again. Others drink to change the way they feel or to numb the pain of past experiences, and these individuals are more likely to go on to develop problems.
In the early days, alcohol consumption is a choice. Those who drink it, choose to do so, and they choose when they will stop. However, if they continue to drink alcohol, they are in danger of building up a tolerance to it. Continued regular use of alcohol can lead to habitual use, where the individual drinks without even making a conscious decision to do so.
As a tolerance builds up, the person will feel the need to drink more alcohol to achieve the feelings that he or she desires because the body has adapted and is producing fewer feel good chemicals. Nevertheless, the more he or she drinks, the more likely it is that a dependence will develop. After a while, the individual will have little or no control over his or her compulsion to drink.
How Does Alcohol Affect Us?
Alcoholism does not affect everyone who drinks alcohol, and there is no single cause that can be identified in every alcoholic. What scientists do know, however, is that there are certain risk factors that increase the likelihood of one person becoming an alcoholic over another.
For example, those with a family history of addiction are much more likely to develop addiction themselves than someone who does not have the same family history. It is usually to do with a combination of genes and how they were brought up. Those who are living in a home with an alcoholic parent as a child are known to be five times more likely to develop alcoholism themselves in later life.
Children of alcoholics can be deeply affected by their parent’s actions. They will have been exposed to alcohol abuse at an early age and will see it as normal. Even seeing the harm that excessive drinking can do may not be enough to prevent them falling into the same destructive cycle when they are older.
Experiencing trauma can also lead to substance abuse and addiction. Many people drink alcohol to help them forget about painful memories. It could be that they were the victim of domestic violence, sexual, physical, or mental abuse, or suffered the loss of a loved one. Others were bullied or witnessed a traumatic event. All these experiences can increase the likelihood of addiction, and the more trauma a person has experienced, the higher the risk for addiction.
Mental health issues also go hand-in-hand with addiction. While mental health problems such as anxiety and depression can be a side effect of substance abuse, they can also be the catalyst for it. Some individuals will drink alcohol to cope with their depression or anxiety issues.
What must be mentioned here though is that not everyone with risk factors for addiction will go on to develop problems such as alcoholism. It is just not possible to predict who is going to be affected.
Alcoholism - No Longer for Life!
It is hard to admit that alcohol use has crossed a line, and most alcoholics struggle to come to terms with the fact that they might need professional help. Others find it hard to accept that they are going to have to give up alcohol forever. They are convinced that they can stop drinking anytime they want, but it is only when they try that they realise it is not going to be so easy.
The good news is that help is available for those with alcoholism, but what is alcohol addiction treatment, you may be wondering? Moreover, do you really need it?
It is important to consider your level of alcohol abuse to determine whether you need alcohol addiction treatment. It could be that you have simply been drinking more than you should lately and that if you cut back on your consumption, you could quickly get your drinking habits back under control.
Nonetheless, if you have tried to cut back and found yourself going back to alcohol, then you may have a problem that requires help. Furthermore, if you have begun experiencing symptoms such as sweating, shaking, headaches, and nausea when in need of a drink, it is likely that you now have a physical addiction. In this case, you are almost certainly going to need a detox, followed by rehabilitation. If you want to get your life back on the right track, it is important that you consider a comprehensive recovery programme that includes both detox and rehab, followed by aftercare.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment - Helping You Heal
The first part of the recovery process is a medical detox that is designed to separate the individual from the substance. Detoxing from alcohol can be quite complicated, especially for those who have been drinking heavily for many years. For that reason, it is a good idea to complete the process in a dedicated facility under medical supervision.
The process of alcohol detox typically begins within six to twelve hours after the patient has had his or her last drink. For most people, the earliest symptoms will be mild and will include headaches, nausea and mood swings. As the detox progresses, the symptoms will become more moderate in their intensity before reaching a peak and then subsiding.
Although most individuals will not experience severe withdrawal symptoms such as seizures and convulsions, the risk is present for everyone, which is why careful monitoring and supervision is necessary. In a dedicated facility, the worst symptoms can often be prevented with the use of medication or nutritional supplements. Medical staff can also make the patient more comfortable and can ease any discomfort with appropriate medication.
Detox programmes usually last for between one and two weeks and should be followed with a programme of rehabilitation. Rehab programmes are either inpatient or outpatient based. Inpatient programmes are suitable for everyone with addiction, but are particularly useful for those with a severe addiction who would find it challenging to stay sober in the real world.
Inpatient programmes allow the patient to leave his or her everyday life and move into the comfortable and save surroundings of a dedicated facility where fully trained and experienced staff are on hand around-the-clock to provide care and support.
This distraction-free environment is one where the patient can be completely vulnerable and honest about his or her addictive behaviour. Patients are encouraged to open up and take a good look at their life so that they can move on and overcome their addiction for good. With no access to any temptation or distractions from the outside world, patients are forced to focus on their recovery and nothing else.
Bespoke Treatment Plans
Most treatment providers believe in the bespoke treatment plan for patients as opposed to treating everyone in the same way, which was once the norm. It is now accepted that everyone with addiction is different and therefore requires a treatment plan designed around their own specific needs and circumstances.
Treatment providers have many different therapies and techniques at their disposal and will fully assess all patients before creating a plan that they believe will work for the individual. Bespoke treatment plans usually contain a combination of traditional treatments such as:
- cognitive behavioural therapy
- individual counselling
- dialectic behavioural therapy
- group therapy
- motivational interviewing
- contingency management
- 12-step work
- family therapy
- relapse prevention
- work and life skills.
The above therapies are often used in conjunction with holistic therapies such as yoga, meditation, massage, and acupuncture. Using holistic therapies alongside traditional treatments can help to improve wellbeing and reduce stress levels and has shown to be effective in the long-term success of patients.
If you have often wondered ‘what is alcohol addiction treatment?’, please call us here at UK Rehab for more information about what to expect. We can discuss your treatment options in full and answer any queries you may have. Please call our dedicated helpline today.