New Methods Offer Real Hope For Curing Alcohol Addiction

If you’ve never loved someone with an addiction problem this article may not make any sense. If you’ve loved someone with an illness for which there is no cure it will. That is because up until now there has been no potentially definitive cure for alcohol addiction. Whilst many have become sober through the traditional routes of AA and rehab, a much greater number have not.

There are moments in history when we can change things and make things a better place. We are at that moment in history with alcohol addiction. For those of you out there who love someone who is addicted to alcohol there is now real hope. But things have to change before we can declare victory and before change can happen there needs to be some education about the causes and the effects of alcohol addiction – not just amongst lay people but those in the medical and addiction professions.

The first and most important point to make is: we’ve never met an addict who wilfully set out to become addicted. Their addiction is almost always masking a pre-existing mental health disorder which in many cases is acute anxiety which has never been properly diagnosed or treated.

Anxiety can have physical affects – panic attacks are a common problem; emotional affects – with feelings of apprehension and dread very common; cognitive affects – fear of suspected dangers like dying and behavioural affects like withdrawing from situations where unpleasant effects of anxiety have been experienced in the past. If you love someone with anxiety they will no doubt look very normal and behave quite normally. But there may be small signs that give you a clue like sweaty palms, anxiety about social situations, disturbed sleep patterns, nail biting and foot tapping.

Whilst these are relatively minor external symptoms, the anxiety they feel will not be minor and their anxiety will start to increasingly impinge upon and affect their lives. That explains why when someone with acute anxiety first tastes alcohol they will already be at risk of addiction because the drug will hit their brain and make them feel normal probably for the first time in their lives. You hear that over and over again in AA meetings and rehab in answer to the question why do you drink? Answer: because it makes me feel normal.

And so the connection with the brain chemistry is made from that very first drink and someone with acute anxiety who experiences this feeling of euphoria will continue to take alcohol in increasingly large doses and so start the journey into dependency and then full-blown addiction.

This will not only spell future disaster for the addict unless they turn it round, it will also lead to broken relationships and devastation within families of addicts as they try to help in vain.

Up until now if you loved an alcoholic the only “treatment” you may have heard about is AA or rehab. In fact many who love an alcohol addict have no real knowledge or information about what to do and may not even understand the options until their loved one eventually ends up needing emergency treatment to help with physical withdrawals or has an accident.

So what about the drinker. What have been your best hopes for recovery historically?

Alcoholics Anonymous is probably the most famous. It is an international organisation whose primary purpose is to help members stay sober and help others achieve sobriety using the 12 Steps which in summary is a process to help them accept they are powerless over alcohol and that a higher power than themselves (not necessarily God) will help them to achieve this. Interestingly, they avoid discussing the medical nature of alcohol addiction despite the fact that they will almost all be suffering from a primary mental health disorder.

AA was founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr Bob Smith in the US who, as alcoholics, found that by supporting and talking to each other they could maintain their sobriety in a much easier way. Whilst it is an organisation which is credited with helping many alcoholics achieve and maintain sobriety there are high drop-out rates in the first year and relapse rates. It does not suit everyone. Despite this the medical and addiction professions have not moved much further forward with the fundamental diagnosis and treatment of alcohol addiction. Go to the most expensive rehab centres in the world and their methods will almost always certainly be based around the 12 Step Programme developed by the members of AA and with cognitive and other counselling services and attendance at AA will be the recommended post-care treatment.

These approaches have worked for some and are to be applauded but many of us have tried and paid a lot of money to find sobriety in this way and that is why new treatments such as those described in our book are exciting and particularly the discovery by French-American cardiologist Prof Ameisen – who became addicted to alcohol when self-medicating his own acute alcohol addiction – that a drug commonly prescribed for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) can cure alcohol addiction – if taken in the right way and to the right dose – by reducing the cravings and eventually making the patient indifferent to alcohol. As it is also a muscle relaxant it also helps to treat the underlying cause of the addiction which is in many cases acute anxiety.

Whilst the science behind this is not yet completely understood what we do know is that it is already having spectacular results. The problem here in the UK is that baclofen whilst available on prescription for MS is not yet available to alcohol addicts and, indeed, many of the medical trials that have been set up or are being set up are only going to use doses which so far have proved ineffectual in treating addiction.

We are calling on the Government and the medical establishment to take the opportunity to change history and the future for many addicts and the families who love them.

It feels to me like the treatments we use for addiction today are medieval. We must understand and treat the route cause of the mental health problems that cause addition and help those who are already addicted. Baclofen needs to have proper trials in the UK and be made available on prescription. If a new cheap, safe and widely available (these are the key characteristics of Baclofen) cancer drug had just been discovered and the Government and medical professions were taking time to do medical trials and not using the dose levels which research suggests are needed to treat the problem there would be a public outcry. That is why we are calling for change. Alcohol addiction happens to people who are already ill with mental health disorders such as acute anxiety and that is why they deserve and need as much help as someone terminal cancer or other life threatening diseases. We must move this treatment on, we must save lives on the grounds of basic humanity.

Looking Further Into Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol in itself does not cause alcohol addiction. Many a person can be a responsible drinker and he/she won’t have a problem. On the other hand, alcohol could be risky. People who have addictive personalities should prevent themselves from drinking for good reasons.

Alcohol has a way of aiding a person in cutting loose but that doesn’t mean you should drink. As a matter of fact, this leads to alcohol becoming a problem. People who fight their addiction to alcohol experience the following:

– getting depressed

– high stress levels and/or unable to cope with stress

– feeling anxious

Alcohol is not like any drug. Addiction to alcohol progresses on a consumer’s prospect on the result after drinking. So, does it mean that when someone drinks in order to loosen up, he/she’s getting addicted? Definitely.

Can you recognize alcohol addiction?

Whenever someone goes over the edge, his/her addiction to alcohol can be easily recognized. however, it would be better to recognize it as soon as possible in order to avoid such a problem. Before anyone gets themselves treated for alcohol addiction, such a person has caused enough harm to his/her body, relationships, careers as well as to his/her life overall.

Luckily, there is a possibility in avoiding alcohol addiction from ruining a person’s life. Recognizing early signs as well as nipping this addiction in the bud can ensure the person that he/she won’t reach extreme levels.

If somebody drinks alcohol out of habit, is this alcoholism?

If someone happens to down a couple of drinks every single day just before having dinner as a habit, it is considered as some sort of alcohol dependency. Actually, it’s really not healthy.

Drinking out of habit gets out of hand whenever someone feels the need to down one just to relax, like after work, for example.

Since habitual drinkers still have roles in society, they may not seem to have any problems. However, the longer someone has a dependency on alcohol, the more that someone becomes dependent on it. Drinking out of habit for extended lengths of time can result in physical injury. Depending on who drinks, it nearly elevates into an apparent form of addiction.

But what about drinking too much in the weekends?

If someone could go for certain periods of time sans drinking but drinks more than he/she can drink during weekends then this is another sort of alcohol addiction. Still, binge drinking is a very risky kind of alcoholism that should get treated as straight away.

For some people, it’s good the relax during weekends and go party. Those who binge drink goes too far though.

Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can result in lasting physical harm far more rapidly compared to a habitual drinker though the physical harm could be far worse. An alcohol overdose could be lethal as well as weaken someone’s judgment. This makes risky circumstances for the person and for everyone around him/her.

If you happen to identify alcohol addiction before going too far, you can help in saving someone’s life getting ruined. It doesn’t mean that someone’s fine just because his/her alcohol dilemma isn’t apparent.

Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction or alcoholism can be defined as a compulsive requirement for an intoxicating drink that is derived from a fruit or fermented grain. The drink may be anything from wine, beer, whiskey or rum.

Intake of alcohol becomes addiction when a person craves for consumption of alcohol & is unable to limit the drink. A person can be termed as alcoholic if he or she experiences, certain withdrawal symptoms like sweating, anxiety, nausea. A person can also be called an alcoholic if he wants to have greater amounts of alcohol to experience a high.

Most people think that having a strong will to stop drinking is enough to give up alcohol. However, the process is quite complicating. When a process becomes alcoholic, the craving is so great that it actually suppresses the ability to stop consuming. Most alcoholic requires adept assistance to give up alcoholism.

There are several causes that lead to alcoholism. People may be forced to have alcohol due to the environment they live in or the traumatic experiences they have in their lives.

Alcoholism has a lot of bad effects of the individual. It can lead to some serious trouble. It can also be physically & mentally destructive. Most of the crimes, suicides, accidental deaths & murders are committed under the influence of alcohol.

Several health problems are associated with the use of alcohol such as cancer, diseases of the liver, brain damage, cancer & heart diseases. An alcoholic who does not give up alcohol may reduce his life expectancy by 10 to 15 years.

Here are some of the ill effects of alcohol on health:

a) Excess intake of alcohol can destroy brain cells & ultimately lead to brain damage.

b) Alcohol works towards disturbing the overall structure & function of the central nervous system. It hinders the ability to consolidate, retrieve & process information.

c) Consuming alcohol in moderate amounts can put great effect on cognitive abilities.

d) Consumption of alcohol in large amounts interfere the process of oxygen supply of the brain & causes a blackout under the stage of fully drunk.

e) Addiction of alcohol may result in inflammation of the mouth, stomach & esophagus. It can also result in cancers of stomach, mouth & esophagus.

f) Drinking alcohol in large amounts may result in irregular heartbeats. The addict can also experience a greater risk of high blood pressure, heart damage & heart attack.

g) Intake of alcohol interferes in vision & disrupts sexual function. It also reduces circulation, increases the chances for malnutrition & excessive water retention.

h) The addict may also a suffer from slurred speech, lack of coordination, impaired attention, impaired judgment, unsteady when walking or standing & lack of sleep.

Here are some symptoms of alcohol addiction:

a) The patient develops a sense of compulsion to drink.

b) The addict may choose to drink soon after walking in order to reduce alcohol withdrawal feeling.

c) An alcohol addict tends to develop a reduced ability to control over drinking.

d) The addict usually organizes his lifestyle around drinking.

One cannot overcome alcohol addiction alone. The addict requires good assistance from others in order to find recovery. Most people seek counseling & visit rehab centers to get rid of alcoholism.