Treating The Three
Main Issues In Alcoholism
The American Medical Association defines the term Alcoholism as: "alcoholism is an illness characterized by
significant impairment that is directly associated with persistent and excessive use of alcohol.
Impairment may involve physiological, psychological or social dysfunction.
The treatment for alcoholism must therefore address all of these issues:
the physical needs of the body,
the psychological issues
and the social dysfunction.
The physical issues revolve around how the persons body is processing and coping with the drug alcohol.
The psychological issues revolve around how the person is responding cognitively and emotionally while under the
influence of alcohol and in-between periods of drinking.
Alcohol comes from an Arabic word that mean "essence" and has been used over the ages and in many different
cultures to celebrate the essence (substance or spirit) of occasions like weddings, births, coming of age, even
passing of loved ones.
Alcohol has been used for medicinal purposes and for drowning out sorrows and pain.
Alcohol is a common beverage for sporting events and social gatherings. It is abundantly available in any
Our exposure to the drug alcohol, is evident, how much we understand about it and what to do when we ourselves,
or someone we love has become dependant upon alcohol is of vital importance.
Treatment: The purpose of treatment is to evaluate the problem, to help the person understand the disease and
how to manage it.
Initiation of treatment may be voluntary, or court ordered, if the person has encountered legal problems
associated with his or her drinking.
Treatment starts with the understanding that there is cause to explore how alcohol is affecting someone. The
person, who is drinking, must be evaluated to determine if they are indeed suffering from the disease
A physician, preferably someone who has the medical history of the person in question, can do the evaluation or
refer them to someone who is competent to do the evaluation.
If the doctor is unfamiliar with the person, a complete medical history will be assessed at the time of the
Even if there is a medical history, a form to be filled out will assess some alcohol related information about
the person and his or her drinking habits and consequences experienced.
After evaluation and possible testing, a diagnosis will be made and a treatment plan fashioned to address the
three issues. Support Groups:
If a determination has been made that the person is suffering from alcoholism - a disease where the person is
dependant on alcohol; a detoxification process will be initiated. Detoxification is usually done while under
careful medical supervision at centers or hospitals.
Medical and mental health professional are involved in the detoxification process to address all of the issues
faced by the patient. Support groups will be recommended to help the person stay in control of their disease.
Did You Know
The Addictive Side Of Alcoholism
Yes, it is a disease, but Alcoholism is also an addiction.
It is the undeniable need for a drink that makes if an addiction.
It is the inability to stop at just one drink, and the level of difficulty in
quitting, requiring professional assistance and the need for a support group to be able to kick the
drinking habit; that makes Alcoholism an addiction.
Alcohol is after all a drug. As an addiction the condition is a progressive one. It
changes in intensity growing and taking over like weeds in a garden.
Addiction robs the drinker of the ability to see beyond the haze of alcohol to the
reality of situations. They may see an exaggerated reality that is fuzzy and unreal.
Addiction makes choices for you that you would not otherwise make. Addiction often
takes the romance out of relationships.
Some support groups are: Alcoholics Anonymous http//www.aa.org Smart Recovery http://smartrecover.org Al-Anon
and Alateen - http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/ This is aa support and a place to form discussion groups for the
relatives of people suffering from alcoholismj. Alateen is for teens. Rational Recovery http://www.rational.org
Ongoing Care: Alcoholism is a chronic, progressive disease. That means that it will not disappear because it
has been diagnosed, or because it has been treated.
Drinking steadily and consistently over time can cause a physical dependence on alcohol as
well as withdrawal symptoms when going without alcohol for very long.
Physical dependence will not lead to alcoholism by itself.
There must first be issues involved that cause the person to abuse alcohol and to abuse
alcohol in an effort to deal with painful emotions and/or experiences.
Many factors lead to alcoholism and alcohol abuse.
These things are important to recognize when the alcoholic goes through recovery and quits
Any factors that can be removed or solved need to be addressed as part of the alcoholism
Everyone who suffers from alcoholism must understand the lifelong commitment involved in managing the disease.
All three issues must be monitored on a routine basis and treatment plans adjusted accordingly. As of the date
of this article, there is no known cure for alcoholism.