Along with nicotine and caffeine, alcohol is one of the most abused substances around the world. Fermentation was discovered about 9,000 years ago and has been used since that time to create beverages containing alcohol. This use of fermentation has been adopted by people all over the world. It is not surprising, therefore, that the abuse of alcoholic beverages has a long history as well. Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) has been treated in a variety of ways, ranging from self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous to medicinal treatments such as Antabuse. Various treatments may work better for different groups of people. What is most necessary is effective alcohol rehabilitation for those who suffer from AUD.
Withdrawal symptoms begin to appear within hours after the last use of alcohol. Early symptoms include anxiety, tremors in the hands, headaches and nausea. Depending upon the severity of the alcohol abuse, more serious symptoms such as hallucinations or seizures may appear a day or two after terminating alcohol use. Some serious symptoms, including high blood pressure and high fever, can be dangerous and may require medical supervision, depending upon severity. People who have lived with AUD for some time may also be deficient in electrolytes. This can be addressed with nutritional supplements. Detox, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient treatment are all effective options for help during alcohol withdrawal.
Once withdrawal symptoms have been treated, it is time to begin the process of alcohol rehabilitation. This is the process of providing the recovering alcoholic with the skills necessary to manage life without the use of alcohol. They will also need to learn skills to avoid and prevent relapse into alcohol use or abuse. Some treatment centers make use of drugs such as benzodiazepines as part of their treatment program. But since drugs like that risk creating yet another addiction, that decision must be made very carefully. Either way, a strong aftercare program is key.
The first step in alcohol rehabilitation is to help the person in recovery to understand and deepen their motivation for recovery. This involves both an acknowledgement of the damage their alcohol abuse has caused to themselves and their loved ones and an understanding of how they will benefit from sobriety. If they do not know why they want to quit drinking, this may undermine their commitment to sobriety, especially when they face cravings and when they find themselves struggling to manage their lives.
It is also important that the recovering alcoholic have a grasp of the particular situations that previously led to the abuse of alcohol. This can include such things as social anxiety, emotional distress, economic challenges, and stress within the family. A clear understanding of what caused the drinking problem will enable the person to recognize when they are vulnerable and prepare themselves to withstand the impulse to return to previous behavior.
Alcohol rehabilitation will also involve helping the person recovering from alcohol abuse and their family and friends to learn new ways of relating to one another. In many families where one of the members is abusing alcohol, other family members adopt codependent roles in relating to the person who is abusing alcohol. Such roles include the caretaker, the hero, the scapegoat, the mascot and the lost child. When the person who was abusing alcohol becomes sober, this will impact all of the roles that other family members have adopted. In some cases, other family members may resent the newly sober person for upsetting their roles. Even if there is no codependent family system, both the person in recovery and their family and friends will need to learn new skills for relating to one another.
Not to be ignored is the possibility that alcohol abuse was an attempt to manage an emotional or mental disorder of some kind. Many people who have become victims of AUD began drinking as a means of managing or escaping emotional and mental pain. Until these underlying issues are addressed, it is unlikely that the newly sober person will be able to sustain their recovery in the long term. NEATC provides therapy to address such co-occurring issues.
NEATC also provides aftercare and ongoing support for those in recovery. Aftercare includes 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and other self-help groups. It is our intention to provide the skills necessary to maintain sobriety into the long term. Our role does not end when the initial stages of recovery are completed. The former victim of Alcohol Use Disorder may need help along the way as new challenges and new problems develop. We want to see you succeed not just for awhile, but for life, in your recovery.
Alcohol addiction is a serious problem, especially in light of the fact that alcohol is so widely available. Bars, convenience stores, supermarkets and many other locations provide alcohol for purchase. In many social situations, alcohol is available or provided, whether it be wedding receptions, office parties or other events. To the recovering victim of AUD, it may sometimes seem as if there’s alcohol everywhere they look and around every corner. Sobriety, therefore, can be very challenging. You can succeed, and NEATC is here to help. If you’re ready to begin your recovery, please contact us today.
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