Alcohol Abuse Treatment: Saving Lives

We talk about alcohol abuse in terms that sometimes allow us to look too casually at what is a very serious problem. Alcohol abuse is not just a bad habit that makes for some uncomfortable mornings and a few problems at work. It is a real and dangerous practice that could result in serious injury or death. In light of that, alcohol abuse treatment can save a life – maybe even yours.

Alcohol abuse treatment can take many forms depending on the seriousness of a drinker’s problem and where he or she chooses to be treated. As a general rule, however, treatment for alcohol abuse is rooted in the principle of eventually eliminating alcohol consumption altogether. The drinker may start by gradually reducing how much he or she drinks, but totally eliminating alcohol from one’s daily routine is the only real way to make sure relapse doesn’t occur.

If you are concerned that your drinking habits might constitute alcohol abuse, we urge you to continue reading to learn more about treatment. The same is true if you are concerned about someone you love. The more information you have about alcohol abuse and treatment, the better equipped you will be to make any decisions that have to be made.

Definition of Alcohol Abuse

Before we get into talking about alcohol abuse treatment, we must first define what alcohol abuse is. New guidelines were issued by the NHS to reflect the updated scientific knowledge we now have about the effects of alcohol on the mind and body. Simply put, a person who routinely consumes between 14 and 21 units of alcohol per week is misusing alcohol. Regularly exceeding 21 units per week puts one in the category of alcohol abuse.

Alcohol abusers tend to be the kind of people who drink nearly every day of the week. They may drink more heavily on weekends, and they may binge drink multiple times over a one or two-month period. What must be understood is that alcohol abuse can quickly lead to dependence if it is not dealt with. Every alcoholic is an alcohol abuser, although every abuser is not an alcoholic. So it is important to get a handle on alcohol abuse before it becomes dependence.

How Alcohol Abuse Treatment Works

Undergoing alcohol abuse treatment begins with a medical evaluation. The point of the medical evaluation is twofold. First, medical professionals want to determine if the patient’s drinking problem does constitute clinical alcohol abuse. One form of treatment will be preferred if it does, another if it does not.

Second, it’s important for medical professionals to understand the overall health of the patient before proceeding with treatment recommendations, as there may be other underlying physical and mental issues that need to be dealt with alongside alcohol abuse. Without this medical evaluation, it is very difficult to come up with a comprehensive treatment plan that offers the greatest chances of success.

If a person is diagnosed on the lower end of the alcohol abuse scale, treatment could involve things such as:

  • prescription medications to reduce alcohol cravings
  • prescription medications to deter further drinking
  • one-on-one counselling with a professional
  • participation in a local alcohol support group
  • family counselling (if necessary)
  • routine medical monitoring.

Should a medical evaluation reveal that the alcohol abuser is at the upper end of the abuse scale or is already dependent, a more aggressive treatment is necessary. That treatment almost always begins with alcohol detox.

Alcohol detox separates the patient from alcohol in order to allow his or her body to cleanse itself and start the healing process. After 7 to 10 days of detox, the patient is ready to move into several months of psychotherapeutic treatments that identify the root causes of addictive behaviour and to help the patient develop strategies to avoid future relapse.

Consequences of Not Getting Treatment

We began this article with the proposition that alcohol abuse treatment could save your life. Let’s deal with that now. In order to do so, we must make it clear that alcohol dependence (aka alcoholism) is a condition that does not occur overnight. It occurs gradually, as a person progresses from alcohol misuse to abuse to eventual dependence. Along that road, long-term alcohol consumption damages the body.

Alcohol can be filtered by the liver at a rate of about 10 mL per hour. That’s not much. Any amount of alcohol the liver cannot handle travels through the body via the bloodstream, affecting multiple systems as it goes. The results can be very harmful over time. For example, long-term alcohol abusers are prone to developing heart disease, a higher risk of stroke, liver disease (including cirrhosis), pancreatitis, and multiple forms of cancer including cancer of the mouth, bowel, and liver.

The reality is that long-term alcohol abuse can kill you. You can suffer from serious liver damage that requires a transplant procedure to save your life. Or you could suffer a heart attack or devastating stroke. You could even experience the long-term suffering that comes with being a cancer patient.

The point of alcohol abuse treatment is to help you stop drinking before you experience any of these devastating health issues. Along the way, you will also be getting help for the psychological problems associated with abuse. By seeking treatment as soon as possible, you could be embarking on a path that will help you avoid premature death as a result of drinking.

Contact Us for Help

There is little argument over the fact that long-term alcohol abuse can be devastating both physically and psychologically. So now the question is this: are you ready to get help for your alcohol problem? If you are, contact us right away. We are a referral service offering free advice, alcohol abuse assessments, and referrals to residential and outpatient rehab clinics. We can help you find the alcohol abuse treatment that could potentially save your life. The alternative is not to seek treatment and take chances with your life.

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