Alcoholism: What it is and how it can be treated
Alcoholism is a disease, no matter how much society looks down on the millions of people who suffer from it. Alcoholism, like most if not all substance abuses, implies the user’s impaired control over their need and desire to ingest alcoholic substances and their dependency to it.
Whether dependency is physical, psychological, caused by genetic heritage or social pressure, the phrase “I can stop whenever I want” becomes every bit the denial cliché. Alcoholism is a disease, and like most ailments can be diagnosed and kept in check.How it affects the body
Alcohol provides a feeling of fulfillment, and therefore displaces the need for proper nourishment and ultimately causes malnutrition, while at the same time burning or downright destroying some of the elements needed for the body to survive, such as Vitamin B1. Not to mention that it causes hazardous degradation of the liver, brain and other organs in a gradual but profound manner. It is in essence a poison, but a slow-killing poison that along the way causes severe social disruption such as violent outbursts or traffic accidents, will most likely cause death if given a state of sudden withdrawal after long dependency, and bring along other important health problems like permanent loss of cognitive functions or mobility.How it can be recognized and diagnosed
Alcoholism must first and foremost be accepted as such by the alcoholic, which can be accomplished by a simple self-examination such as the Cage Questionnaire, which consists of four simple and direct questions:
- Have I ever felt the need to slow down or cut down on drinking?
- Have I been consistently or repeatedly criticized for my drinking habits?
- Do I regularly feel guilty about my drinking?
- Have I ever felt the need to start the morning with a drink to help nerves or a hangover?
Once the alcoholic is ready to recognize the existence of a problem, medical or proper diagnosis can much more easily take place to determine the presence and level of the condition. Such can be done either with:
How it can be treated
- Genetic predisposition testing: is a person’s body more likely to become addicted to the properties of alcohol.
- DSM Diagnosis, or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which helps determine if there are psychological causes for a person’s refuge toward alcoholism.
- Urine and Blood Tests, to identify changes in a person’s metabolism due to long-term abuse.
- In Depth Questionnaire, a more thorough look at one’s lifestyle and habits of consumption to determine his or her ability to go on without the substance.
Alcoholism can be treated and kept in check, but never cured. Some call it recovery, others remission. No matter the nomenclature, the end result is the same: the symptoms are no longer evident, and the underlying causes are being addressed. However, a return to consumption would simply have the body pick up where it left off.
Since alcohol destroys or damages vital organs like the brain. liver and intestines, nutrients are essential in counter-balancing the effects to repair the organs and metabolize the toxicity of what alcohol left behind. A high-regimen diet of multi-vitamins and minerals, as suggested by a doctor or health specialist, will lay the ground work to be followed by organic and vegetarian food to avoid adding toxins of any kind from fast food and junk.
Physical properties are only one side of the battle to be fought, though. Like any illness or disorder that effects or is caused by behavior and social environment, underlying issues need to be addressed by the victim with constant support and help.