Warning: In order to get treatment for alcoholism, it is necessary to get in-patient care. Alcohol withdrawal can be fatal, and requires careful oversight by hospital personnel.

From this giant systematic review and meta-analysis, any alcohol use disorder, leads to “markedly higher” mortality than previously understood.

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The majority of people whom consume alcohol, do so in a manner that does not pose a threat to their health, and it may actually be enhanced. This includes reduced risk of several health problems related to the heart, the incidence of dementia, and a lesser probability of suffering a stroke. Yet there may be some risks. Even light alcohol consumption (about one drink per day), might increase chances of getting various cancers.

If it is ever question of health, please check out this quick screening

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The difference between recreational alcohol use, and alcohol abuse, is the difference between using alcohol to enhance, versus using alcohol to temporarily cope. A substance problem isn’t a specific amount or frequency, it’s when a substance significantly impairs function in everyday life.

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As with use of other drugs, genetics, social identity and group, how one was raised, and mental health, determine alcoholism.

  • You may have a drinking problem if you..
    • Black out from drinking
    • Need alcohol to feel happy
    • Have loved ones whom have expressed concern at your drinking
    • Tend to drink more than you had planned
    • Feel remorse related to your drinking
    • Don’t tell others how much, and/or how frequently, you drink

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Alcohol abusers are able to limit intake more than alcoholics can, but their use still causes dangerous problems.

  • Signs of alcohol abuse include…
    • Continuing to drink, even when alcohol is causing significant social problems
    • Using alcohol to self-medicate
    • Continuing to drink, even when alcohol is causing significant legal issues
    • Putting yourself, and/or others, at risk because of your drinking
      • Operating heavy machinery while under the influence
      • Mixing medications and alcohol
    • Being unable to meet the demands of school, home, and/or work, as a result of drinking

Alcoholics are alcohol abusers who are physically dependent on alcohol to function. Hence, another name for alcoholism is alcohol dependence.

  • Signs of alcohol addiction include…
    • Tolerance (more and more is needed as time goes by, in order to achieve the desired effect)
    • Withdrawal (a set of symptoms when drug and alcohol abuse stops)
      • It usually begins within a few hours after drinking stops
      • It peaks in about 24-48 hours
      • After five days, it gets better
    • Withdrawal symptoms
      • Headache
      • Loss of appetite
      • Insomnia
      • Vomiting
      • SweatingFatigue
      • Depression
      • Irritability
      • Shakiness
      • Anxiety
    • The inability to stop drinking, even though it’s recognized as problematic
    • Drinking more alcohol for a longer period of time, than you had initially planned
    • Your world revolving around drinking
    • The inability to stop or cut down on drinking, though you really want to
    • Spending less time doing previously important things, as a result of drinking

Alcohol-Withdrawal-Timeline

Because alcohol can be a highly addictive drug, there are typical ways that alcoholics tend to rationalize (make sense of) their use…

  • Blaming someone else for the drinking
  • Blaming someone, or something, else for problems created by drinking
    • Oftentimes, close family or friends
  • Significantly underestimating the frequency and amount of alcohol use
  • Making it seem like the negative consequences of drinking aren’t as severe as they are

Direct physical consequences of alcoholism include, but are in no sense limited to…

  • Liver diseases
    • Asymptomatic fatty liver
    • Alcoholic hepatitis
    • Cirrhosis
    • End–stage liver failure
    • Image result for alcoholic liver diseaseRelated image

Image result for alcoholic liver comparison

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  • A host of cancers

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  • Severe heart complications

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  • As seen below, a brain that looks as if it’s been pickled

AlcoholiceVsNormalBrain

Here we have another, similar case:

Image result for alcoholic brain disease

Those who abuse alcohol much more often struggle in society. They have higher rates of unemployment, divorce, involvement in violence, and impoverishment. Children bearing witness to alcoholism tend to experience trauma.

Here we have a more full image of what alcohol use, and abuse, does to various body regions. As stated, for certain people, no amount is safe.

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The good new is that soon after cessation, recovery is rapid.

Just because all of these negative effects result from drinking to a very toxic effect, that doesn’t mean one can’t recover. The body is remarkably hardy!

Unfortunately, no one can stop an alcoholic from abusing alcohol other than the alcoholic. Even then, they’ll need a lot of support, including dealing with the problems that lead to the abuse in a constructive manner.

This infographic may be all one needs:

Image result for alcoholism therapy

  • What not to do…
    • Feel responsible for how another person acts
      • Including, protecting them from how their environment responds to their poor actions
    • Drink with them
    • Threaten, punish, bribe, or lecture
    • Argue with them, especially if they’re intoxicated
    • Cause guilt by appealing to their emotions
    • Go out of the way to take alcohol out of the environment
    • Protect them

Please see Al-Anon for support if a loved one is suffering from alcohol abuse and/or alcoholism.

Here are some self-help tips to stop drinking, some pertaining to the alcoholic, some pertaining to the non-addicted…

  • After realizing that the drinking is a problem, but having trouble committing to stop
    • Make a table of the costs and benefits of drinking, and the costs and benefits of not drinking
      • Speaking in terms of money lost, relationships with family and friends broken or stunted, negative employment factors, issues in the realm of higher education, and more…
  • Setting down realistic, precise goals
    • Start small, and work up
    • Abstinence
      • Pretty much necessary for alcoholics
      • Take things one day at a time
      • Each day should be kept in mind
        • Just committing to staying sober for the present day
      • All one needs to do is *not* do something
    • Not drinking as much
      • Don’t go over one drink per day if female
      • Don’t go over two drinks per day if male
      • Set down days to drink
      • Set down amounts to drink without deviating
      • Write down every time you have a drink
        • Track this consumption for three to four weeks, to better estimate consumption
      • Start with one day per week with no drinking.
        • Then work up to a week without drinking.
        • After, a month
        • Then, keep going!
      • Drink slowly
      • Keep to low-potency drinks
        • Beer instead of wine
        • Wine instead of liquor
      • Drink with food
      • Don’t drink on an empty stomach
        • Hydration and satiety will decrease the urge to drink as much
      • Drink another, non-alcoholic beverage while consuming alcohol
    • How to accomplish these goals
      • What, if anything, worked in the past to reduce or stop drinking?
      • Remove objects associated with drinking from your living space
      • Stay away from people whom won’t help you stick to the plan
      • Don’t put yourself in an atmosphere in which people are drinking
      • Let people know of your goals to better ally yourself with the process
        • Friends
        • Family
        • Co-workers
      • Communicate to people that there is no drinking in your living space
  • Building a life without drinking
    • Learn how to deal with stress constructively
      • For oneself
        • Volunteer for the community
        • Do something you loved before alcohol took over your life
        • Do something new
        • Read a good book
        • Meditation
        • Exercise
        • Socialization
        •  Go for a walk
        • Go to a movie
        • Mark how much one has saved for time clean
          • Even if sober for a week, that’s a week without booze!
        • Savor the experience of not waking up with a hangover!
      • Therapy has special use in this respect
        • Two major, invaluable therapy techniques (to perhaps ask one’s therapist if they can use)
          • Dialectic Behavior Therapy
          • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
        • Group therapy has a health-promoting dynamic that one-on-one therapy can never offer
      • Meditation helps to process proactive routes to reducing stress
    • Keep a nutritious diet
      • It may take 21 days, but try to become dependent on healthful food
      • Buy your favorite kind of fruit
      • Especially at first, allow plenty of dressing on your salad
    • Keep a healthy sleep schedule
    • Exercise regularly (as stated again and again!)
    • Be with those whom support your recovery

Cravings tend to be most severe within six months of quitting alcohol. You must combat cravings and triggers!

  • Come back to all of the health hazards you are reducing your risk of
    • Graphic showing Mechanisms related to the positive and adverse effects of alcohol on cardiovascular conditions, such as coronary heart disease and stroke as well as cardiomyopathy. Different mechanisms may be in effect depending on the dose, duration, and pattern of alcohol consumption.
  • Ride out urges to use non-judgmentally, with the understanding that they will soon pass
    • This is called urge surfing
    • This can be more effective if you find something productive to do while the craving presents itself
  • Call a member of your support team to get feedback and voice your concern
    • Even diverting your attention for a few minutes can have you outlast the craving
  • Remind yourself that the downsides of drinking far outweigh the benefits
    • It should help you to write down all of these drawbacks to come back to when cravings develop
  • Rehearse for the inevitable moment when someone offers you a drink
    • A clear, polite “No thank you.”
    • Each time this is done, you become more in control
  • Stay away from just about anything that you sense is a trigger
  • Each time you ride out a craving, your mind and brain become stronger

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Staying clean is a hell of a lot more likely, and less painful, if you have people supporting you.

  • Alcoholics Anonymous might be the way to go
    • Get a sponsor, regardless! Several.Image result for alcoholics anonymous 12 steps
    • If you ask for the book, chances are you’ll be loaned one out for a long time, if not given one Image result for alcoholics anonymous
  • Make sober friends by exploring activities in the community
  • Ask for support from loved ones
  • Apply to live in a sober home

As for treatment…

  • The care you need is dependent on several different things
    • No one alcohol treatment program is most ideal for everyone
    • An ideal care strategy fits your unique circumstances well
  • If an underlying mental illness was self-medicated through alcohol, directly treat that mental illness
  • Treatment should help one recover all aspects of their life that was damaged by their alcohol use
  • There are a variety of mental health, religious, and otherwise health-practicing figures to seek treatment from
  • Every alcoholic needs some kind of long-term care

Here we see the many clinical options open to alcoholics:

Image result for alcoholism therapy

  • Detoxification is a two to seven day period of withdrawal in a hospital
  • Practicing spirituality
    • My method is meditating and listening to motivational music
    • May you find solace in the comprehensive section and sub-sections of the Philosophy and Theology section
  • Treatment of various health issues caused by alcohol
  • Oral medication for alcoholism
    • Antabuse (disulfiram)
      • Produces vomiting, headaches, and flushing if combined with alcohol
    • Revia (naltrexone)
      • Blocks alcohol-induced euphoria
    • Campral (acamprosate)
      • Helps with cravings
  • Injected medication for alcoholism
    • Vivitrol (naltrexone) is a monthly injection
      • The addict decidse to take their medication monthly, as opposed to every day
        • One day per month, as opposed to thirty days per month

    Image result for alcoholism medication

Sources: http://www.helpguide.org, http://www.mayoclinic.org, http://americanaddictioncenters.org, http://www.nutritionmd.org/health_care_providers/gastrointestinal/hepatoxicity.html, https://recovergateway.wordpress.com/2015/04/02/alcoholism-treatment/, https://www.alcoholtreatment.net/different-methods-on-how-to-treat-alcoholism/, http://nidsun.org/alcohol-can-be-guilt-free-beverages-if-you-want/, https://7dayalcoholrehab.wordpress.com/, https://www.arcr.niaaa.nih.gov/arcr382/article03.htm, https://novarecoverycenter.com/addiction/3-stages-of-alcoholism/, https://www.linkedin.com/feed/, https://www.puffpuffpost.com/cannabis-protect-alcohol-liver-disease/, https://www.slideshare.net/Sanzux/cns-final-ppt-35420920, https://www.thinglink.com/scene/862173783731994624, https://slideplayer.com/slide/224612/, https://slideplayer.com/slide/7642675/, http://school-series.com/drugs/62-alcohol, https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-illustration-alcoholism-infographic-some-possible-long-term-effects-alcohol-medical-set-elements-symbols-design-image62650177, https://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2016/02/09/how-does-alcohol-cause-cancer/, https://www.slideshare.net/seseikel/medication-assisted-treatment-for-alcoholism-2008, http://www.aa-mississippi.org/, https://kevinfitzmaurice.com/free-stuff/recovery-issues/the-12-steps-of-alcoholics-anonymous-aa/, https://alcoholfree2016.com/2016/07/18/am-i-an-alcoholic/