Is There A Cure For Alcoholism?

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People suffering from alcoholism may feel trapped in their addiction. Although a cure may not always be possible, alcoholism can be treated as a chronic illness, which allows a person to carry on with a full and sober life.

Finding The Cure For Alcoholism

There is a cure for alcoholism—if the cure is learning to live a self-directed life while abstaining from alcohol.

In 1939, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill Wilson wrote: “Physicians who are familiar with alcoholism agree there is no such thing as making a normal drinker out of an alcoholic. Science may one day accomplish this, but it hasn’t done so yet.” In order for a person to quit drinking, they must stop drinking altogether.

In many cases, a person suffering from alcoholism is diagnosed with a nutrient deficiency—especially vitamins B1 and B3—which they seek to relieve by drinking alcohol. A megavitamin therapy is believed to remove a person’s urge to drink, and cure alcoholism.

Is There A Cure For Alcoholism__Alcoholism and Death

Another scholar named David Sinclair, Ph.D. came up with an alcohol treatment process that uses a method called pharmacological extinction. In this practice, the opioid blocker naltrexone turns habit-forming behaviors into habit-forming erasers. Sinclair and his colleagues claimed to have found the cure for alcoholism with the Sinclair Method.

Others argue that illnesses like the flu and common cold have biological factors which can be treated, and thus cured. According to this method, since there are no biological signs of alcoholism, the disease has no cure, but it may be treatable using methods like Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov’s conditioning therapy.

People who suffer from other chronic illnesses like diabetes or asthma are able to live a normal, healthy life by managing their disease. With the right treatment, people can overcome alcoholism as well.

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Understanding Alcoholism

Alcoholism (alcohol use disorder or alcohol addiction) is defined as a chronic illness characterized by a person’s inability to cease or moderate drinking, despite harmful consequences. Alcohol addiction is marked by the obsession and compulsion to drink alcohol.

Alcoholism is a major issue in the United States, and alcohol claims the lives of an estimated 88,000 people each year. In 2015, there were 15.1 million people suffering from an alcohol use disorder like alcohol abuse or alcoholism.

Drinking that exceeds light to moderate drinking is considered alcohol abuse—more than one drink per day or seven per week for women, two drinks per day and 14 per week for men. Individuals who have trouble stopping drinking despite harmful consequences, drink for more or longer than intended on a regular basis, or who continue drinking even if they realize drinking is a problem may have an alcohol use disorder.

Despite how many people are affected by alcohol abuse or alcoholism each year, proper treatment can help people overcome alcohol abuse or addiction. Recovering individuals find that by investing in their mental, physical, and spiritual well-being, they were able to stop drinking, and stay sober.

Detoxification And Medication-Assisted Treatment For Alcoholism

Someone who drinks heavily may build up a tolerance to alcohol. Now the person drinks more alcohol than they used to, and as a result they’ll also be at greater risk of becoming physically dependent on alcohol. When the person tries to quit drinking, he or she may experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, which in turn pushes them to keep drinking

Medical Detoxification

In order to properly treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms, a person must undergo detoxification from alcohol—but detox can be risky, or even life-threatening, to attempt alone. A medical detox helps patients cleanse their body of alcohol and other unwanted toxins, and overcome their physical dependence to alcohol. Detox is often required as the first step of alcohol addiction recovery.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

A medication-assisted therapy (MAT) is an alcohol treatment that uses medications and behavioral treatments to help treat a substance use disorder. Certain medications help individuals manage withdrawal symptoms, and others may be used to help avoid relapse.

Is There A Cure For Alcoholism__FDA Approved Medications

There are three medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat alcoholism. None of these medications are considered a cure for alcoholism, but they can be effective in MAT nonetheless:

  • Disulfiram—helps treat chronic alcoholism by eliciting a negative reaction when mixed with alcohol. This medication is intended to be used for people who have already completed alcohol detoxification.
  • Naltrexone—blocks the euphoric feelings produced by alcohol, and helps patients reduce drinking and motivates them to stay in treatment.
  • Acamprosate—helps people who have already quit drinking abstain from alcohol.

Behavioral Treatments For Alcoholism

Behavioral treatments are a type of counseling that involve working with a mental health professional to identify and change behaviors that resulted in heavy drinking.

A person with alcoholism may find it difficult to speak to their loved ones about drinking without getting defensive. Yet many people come out of their shell once they’re in treatment, and have learned to implement the skills learned in behavioral therapy.

Behavioral treatments help patients develop the skills needed to stop drinking, as well as build a strong social support system, work hard to set reachable goals, and cope with or avoid the triggers that might cause a relapse

Behavioral treatment programs for alcoholism include:

With adequate support and care, people learn to be open and honest about their drinking. For many, speaking to a therapist who keeps information confidential, and has no reserved expectations of their patients, is helpful.

What Does It Mean To Recover From Alcoholism?

There is not a single and simple explanation for why some people develop alcoholism, and others do not. Everyone is different, and therefore each person’s recovery will be different as well.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s working definition of recovery is “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”

With the comprehensive care at an alcohol treatment center, people learn to live life that isn’t run by alcohol, and many reach their full potential in the process. Alcoholism has biological, environmental, and psychological factors. In order to truly recover from the disease, each aspect of health must be treated and overcome.

Reach out to us today if you or a loved one struggles with alcoholism.

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