In 2013 alone, more than 16 million adults over the age of 18 in the United States have reported that they suffered from alcohol dependence, yet many more cases go unreported (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism). The World Health Organization estimates 76.3 million people worldwide suffer from alcoholism as well. Alcoholism and alcohol abuse have very distinct and varying properties. The term ‘alcoholic’ refers to the drinker who physically desires to consume alcohol, beyond their capacity to control the amount they intake and regardless of consequences.
Frequent signs and symptoms of alcoholism may include:
- Blacking out – not being able to remember a block of time
- Requiring more and more to feel the desired effect (tolerance)
- Drinking alone in secrecy
- Hiding stashes of alcohol
- Financial problems
- Legal problems
- Health problems
- Losing interest in hobbies
- Losing meaningful relationships
- Feeling the urge to drink
- Withdrawals: nausea, sweating, shaking
Alcohol abuse is defined as a pattern of drinking within a 12-month period, which may result in:
- Binge drinking – drinking large amounts in one sitting
- ‘Night caps’ – a drink taken before bed
- Failure to appear at work, school, or family obligations due to intoxication or hangovers
- Continued drinking despite ongoing legal or relationship problems
The alcoholic who suffers is physically and mentally addicted. But it is not their fault. Alcoholism is a progressive and fatal disease that is influenced by genetic and environmental factors. Most people cannot stop drinking on their own.
Once the first drink is taken, the obsession of the mind and the allergy in the alcoholic’s body begins, making them crave alcohol. In the beginning of use, many alcoholics drink for the desired effect they experience. However, once the tolerance develops, it takes more alcohol to receive the same desired effect, often referred to as ‘the phenomenon of craving’.
The mental obsession makes it impossible for the alcoholic to predict when they will start drinking, and the allergy makes it impossible for them to predict when they will stop drinking.
The obsession to reach the state of euphoria is stronger than the emotional, physical, and spiritual pain that alcoholism causes. Because of the coupling of both mental and physical components, the alcoholic is powerless over alcohol.
Alcoholism does not discriminate; it spans globally, no matter what age, race, gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. Men and women, in all stages of life, from all over the world, seek treatment in order to recover from this disease. But they are not alone because there are many recovered alcoholics who have found a solution.
There Is A Solution!
Yes, there is a solution! Whether you are the family member of a loved one, or the loved one seeking treatment, here is where Ambrosia Treatment Centers can help. The Ambrosia Treatment Centers specialize in the holistic restoration of the individual as a whole: mind, body, and spirit. We take into account the mental and social factors, rather than just the physical symptoms of the disease. Our professional counselors employ both traditional and innovative healing approaches such as:
- Herbal remedies
- Nutritional Therapeutics
- Relapse prevention skills
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
…and many more!
The Mentality of It All
The stigma behind ‘an alcoholic’ must be smashed and the fears of getting sober need to be empathized. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or the DSM-III, alcoholism combines both elements of a mental illness and a physical disease. Mental and emotional symptoms exist long before the grave physical complications of the disease may appear. Some of the mental symptoms consist of:
- Loss of control over the amount taken
- Persistent desire to drink (compulsivity)
- Chronic brain deterioration (loss of memory)
- The need to drink to ‘de-stress’ (problem drinking)
- Guilt and shame
- Low self-esteem
- Lack of self-worth
- ‘Controlled’ drinking (changing brands, changing environments)
- Firm resolution to stop (but doesn’t)
- Depression and anxiety worsened
- Denial (“I haven’t done ______ yet, so it must not be that bad”)
You may now be considering whether you or a loved one is the real deal alcoholic. Let us ask you this question: can you (or they) envision life without alcohol? Many see milestone occasions (weddings, graduations, even family picnics) centered around wine coolers and beer koozies. Take your time to answer and be honest with yourself.
The stigma behind an alcoholic (the label, loss of status, character flaw or weakness, the unemployed, the dropouts, etc.) is far from the reality of the situation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 51 percent of American adults, with salary-based careers, have entered treatment and recovery communities. And of that percentage, 33 percent have maintained sobriety by progressing in their 12-step programs and redirecting their lives through helping fellow alcoholics on their road to recovery.
Our society deems alcoholic-dependent persons as less frequently mentally ill compared to those who suffer from other mental and medical disorders. Alcoholics are held more responsible for their condition and often ridiculed. The stigma of an alcoholic often brings about denial, shame, low self-esteem, and little self-worth. Because of the surrounding blame, those who suffer from alcoholism may deny seeking help and treatment. In order to prevent worse complications, the public attitude toward alcoholics needs to be shifted from rejection to acceptance.