Friday, May 11, 2012

Alcoholism: Causes and the Treatment

Alcoholism is the most widespread form of drug abuse.  It is a worldwide problem, with distinct national differences in prevalence that, in general, mirror rates of per capita alcohol consumption.
Unfortunately, there is no single, simple definition of alcoholism.  The term alcoholism or chronic alcoholism is applied to a behavioral disorder characterized by an excessive use of alcohol to the extent that it interferes with physical and mental health.

As alcohol circulates in the bloodstream, it is distributed to every part of the body.  The effects of alcohol on various organs and tissues are of three types: the short-term effects of a single episode of drinking; the long-term effects of chronic alcoholism; and withdrawal symptoms.  Also important is the interaction of alcohol with other drugs in the body that may result in fetal malformations in pregnant women.  The amount of alcohol required to produce such malformations is not known.

Causes of Alcoholism

Nine out of ten people who drink do not become alcoholics.  Why the tenth drinker falls victim to this disorder is a question that has long plagued researchers.  There is no single answer.  Alcoholism probably is caused by a combination of interacting factors—biological, genetic, psychological, and social.

One of the most active areas of research is heredity.  Some studies have suggested that a predisposition toward alcoholism may be inherited in some people.  Children of an alcoholic parent are much more likely to become alcoholics than the children of non-alcoholics.  Also, alcohol is metabolized differently among some racial groups.  Oriental groups appear to produce higher blood levels of acetaldehyde after alcohol consumption, resulting in facial flushing and bodily discomfort.

Although psychologists have long tried to find an "alcoholic personality," no set of personality traits predicts alcoholism.  Some clinicians feel that in many alcoholics their addiction is related to deep feelings of inferiority and insecurity coupled with an inability to cope with frustration.  In others, alcoholism may be rooted in a desire to escape reality or in an underlying desire for self-destruction.

Sociologists have found that family and cultural attitudes toward alcohol have an important effect on people, especially during childhood, and strongly influence their drinking habits as adults.  Among some peoples, moderate or heavy drinking is an important part of social life, while among others the use of alcohol is discouraged or forbidden.  Paradoxically, the rate of alcoholism among those who drink in abstinent cultures is much higher than the rate of alcoholism among drinkers in the general population.

Treatment of Alcoholism

Because alcoholism affects every aspect of its victim's life, treatment often consists of a combination of therapies.  Before any long-term treatment can be undertaken, however, the alcoholic must be free of alcohol and treated for withdrawal symptoms. There are two main goals of long-term treatment. One is to break dependence on alcohol so that the alcoholic can function without drinking.  The other is to relieve the psychological problems that may contribute to the likelihood of relapse.

There are several other alternative therapies available. The Coleman institute uses implants of Naltrexone that block the opiate receptors in the brain and also reduce cravings for alcohol. In addition to Naltrexone Therapy, they also detox  people off of methadone, suboxone, and benzos as well. 

Most experts agree that the ultimate aim is to produce complete abstinence—that is, to keep alcoholics from ever drinking again.  The Coleman Institute wholeheartedly supports a view of total abstinence as essential for a complete and healthy recovery in the life of an alcoholic.  Their innovative services are one reason so many people are coming to them to 'get clean and stay clean'.  If you or someone you love is in need of detox, please call Jennifer at 1.877.77.DETOX (33869)

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