We all have that one friend who can’t go a day without drinking. And it’s not just for fun, but to cope with the stresses of life. But is Alcoholism a mental illness? Do you need help if you find yourself or your loved one drinking more than should be normal? This blog post will explore this question and give some answers to your questions about alcohol dependence.
What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism is defined as “a disease that includes loss of control over drinking, preoccupation with alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking.”
Is Alcoholism a mental illness?
Yes, Alcoholism can be classified as a type of mental illness. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, an AUD diagnosis should qualify as a mental disorder. Also, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence describes Alcoholism as “a mental obsession that causes a physical compulsion to drink. ”
But how does alcohol affect the brain?
The consumption of alcohol affects the brain by acting as a depressant and affecting neurotransmitters in areas involved with pleasure and movement (e.g., dopamine and serotonin). Alcohol initially causes the release of dopamine (the neurotransmitter involved in reward) which leads to feelings of euphoria. As alcohol continues to stimulate the brain’s reward system, the amount of GABA is increased, slowing down nerve cell activity. This process decreases sensitivity to dopamine, and serotonin levels are reduced due to their reuptake into nerve cells. If an individual has a predisposition to addiction, continued drinking leads to the release of endorphins and forming a stronger relationship between alcohol and pleasure.
You may also like: 5 Signs You’re an Alcoholic
Treatment options for Alcoholism
Some of the treatment options are:
1. Alcoholics Anonymous (also called 12-step programs)
Alcoholics Anonymous is an international mutual aid fellowship for people with Alcoholism seeking recovery. The organization is one of the most widely known worldwide and is made up of various support groups that require a common commitment to abstain from alcohol as the only requirement for membership. Although many maintain that Alcoholics Anonymous is effective, it has been criticized as being potentially beneficial only when combined with other treatment methods.
2. Behavioral therapies
Behavioral therapies are designed to help individuals learn how to drink in moderation as well as avoid situations that may lead to further alcohol abuse. Behavioral therapies include:
- Contingency management therapy – a treatment approach in which patients are rewarded for not drinking or by reducing their alcohol consumption
- Community reinforcement and family training (craft) – a type of behavioral therapy that uses community resources to reward positive changes in behavior
- Problem-solving therapy – an approach that helps an individual identify and solve problems related to alcohol
- Motivational enhancement therapy – an effective approach in which participants are taught specific skills and behaviors needed for change and encouraged to develop a sense of commitment and willingness
- Life coaching therapy– a process in which a person is coached to identify and express personal goals, strengths, weaknesses, and progress.
- Family therapy- a counseling approach that helps members of a family learn about the impact of alcohol on themselves and their loved ones.
3. Sober companions
They can help individuals who cannot seem to gain control over their drinking. This support person may be someone who has had success with sobriety or a family member or friend of the individual. At the addictions coach, our certified sober companion can assist you as you navigate life after addiction, from medical detox to staying clean in triggering situations. We offer 24/7 sober companions, as well as those who are present just for high-risk situations, like weddings and other celebrations.
4. Medications for Alcoholism
Some of the medications used for treating Alcoholism are as follows:
Naloxone- is a medication that can be administered by emergency responders to block the effects of opioids and prevent overdose.
Pro recovery RX– is a revolutionary approach to nutritional supplementation for those experiencing the negative impacts most commonly associated with the use of opiates. This line of supplements is created by Dr. Cali Estes, who has had 25 years of experience in recovery treatment for various addictions in collaboration with two other experts.
Methadone- is an opioid agonist medication that is used as maintenance therapy for patients who are dependent on opiate drugs, such as heroin. It decreases an individual’s cravings for opiates without producing any psychoactive effects or euphoria.
Buprenorphine- is a partial opioid agonist that is used to help individuals recover from an opioid use disorder. It works by binding to the same receptors as opioids, resulting in replacement therapy with fewer intensity effects if abused.
Prevention methods of Alcoholism
The best way to prevent someone from developing an addiction is through early intervention and prevention programs that focus on awareness, education about risks associated with substance abuse, and proper guidance for those that do abuse substances. In the current pandemic, one of the best treatment options has also been private alcohol rehab. To read more on this, check out the site.
Consequences of untreated addiction to alcohol in the long term
Some of the consequences of untreated addiction in the long term could be:
-Poor judgment leading to dangerous sexual behavior and serious damage to one’s reproductive system.
-Serious liver diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver or hepatitis caused by a virus similar to hepatitis B or C.
-Damage to other organs such as the brain, heart, and kidneys.
– Lost of interest in social engagements.
It is also important to understand that Alcoholism doesn’t only affect that particular person but their loved ones. Thus, it’s best to take precautions to overcome your addiction. It’s never too late to ask for help.
How to get help with your addiction to alcohol?
If you are looking for addiction treatment, then your search is over. We are here for you. The Addictions Coach does provide services throughout the U.S. and even internationally at times. We at the addictions coach offer a number of comprehensive services to help you overcome your addiction to help you get back on track to a happy living. You can reach us if you have any questions regarding our services or want to schedule an appointment with one of our counselors today! Our lines are open 24/7 for your convenience!