Alcohol addiction or alcoholism is a real disease that can affect anyone irrespective of genes, gender, race, or socioeconomic status. It is considered a real disease as it causes changes to the brain as well as neurochemistry, so alcohol addiction cannot just be overcome by mere use of will power. Alcoholic addiction is common due to easy availability and lack of social taboo around heavy drinking. This makes it perhaps the most difficult addiction to diagnose as it is enjoyed in social events. Alcohol addiction can present itself in different ways. There are some people who drink all day, while there are others who drink heavily but then stay sober for longer. Some tend to drink at unfit times, such as first thing after waking or in places like temples or work. Some tend to be where there is alcohol and avoid being where there is none. Some go to the extent of changing friends and avoiding contact with dear ones. They instead prefer friends who drink heavily too. But regardless of the varied presentation, someone is considered to have alcohol addiction if they are dependent on drinking to function in daily life and can’t stay sober for more than a while and can’t control their emotions when they are not drinking. Apart from increasing chances of accidents e.g., from falls or during driving, alcoholism is also associated with various health complications. These include heart and liver disease, ulcer mouth, diabetes complications, sexual problems, birth defects, loss of bone density, problems in vision, increased chances of cancer and suppressed immunity.
Therefore it becomes increasingly necessary to treat alcoholism early to avoid these complications.
ALCOHOL DE-ADDICTION TREATMENT
Alcohol addiction is a complex but, fortunately, a treatable disease. Alcohol de-addiction is the process of psychotherapeutic treatment in cases of dependency on alcohol. When alcohol is abused over a long period of time, the brain undergoes changes due to such prolonged exposure. This makes craving for alcohol stronger and withdrawal symptoms worse. Due to this, quitting alcohol and going through the process of recovery alone is very difficult for anyone. Therefore the intent de-addiction process is to help and enable the person to confront alcohol dependence, if present and cease alcohol abuse. This is essential in order to avoid the occurrence of any harmful legal, social, medical, financial and psychological consequences. There are various treatment options available, as it is often seen that no single option is appropriate for everyone.
Also, effective treatment modality is the one that caters to multiple requirements of an individual and not just his/ her addiction. For this, it is seen that a combination of treatments proves the best. There are various inpatient/ residential programs where one stays at a treatment center for some time as well as outpatient programs where one lives at his/her home and visits the treatment center. However, the most important criteria for the effectiveness of any treatment depend upon whether the individual with addiction must want to become sober and remains in treatment for an adequate time period. Also, the earlier this process is started more the chances of success and recovery.
Sobriety is mainly the responsibility of the individual who has the addiction. There are cases of relapse during the process of recovery. But only In less than half of patients, after remaining sober for at least one year, they start to drink again. They may binge drink once or repeatedly drink again. But this relapse should not be seen as a sign of failure. Instead, it is only a stage in the process, with an easier recovery. It is seen that only one out of 7 patients continues to have issues with drinking after five years of treatment
The treatment options for drug de-addiction are:-
DETOXIFICATION- This is the key step, especially for those people with significant alcohol use disorder. It takes a few days to weeks usually. The aim is to stop drinking and allow the body to get the alcohol out of the system. This often leads to withdrawal symptoms such as shaking or tremors, seeing or hearing things which are not present or hallucinations and seizures. Due to this, most patients go to a treatment center or hospital where they can be under the supervision of doctors and experts and get help easily.
Counseling- This can be done by psychologists, psychiatrists, alcohol counselors and even social workers. They can teach new skills that can be used in everyday life for alcohol de-addiction such as a change in behaviors that make one want to drink, ways to deal with stress and such triggers, how to develop a strong support system and how to set goals and reach them. Some patients require only a short counseling session, whereas there are others who need several sessions to deal with problems like anxiety and depression. Alcohol addiction also affects the lives of people close to the patient. Therefore couple or family therapies are also advised and conducted.
MEDICATIONS- Medicines by themselves cannot cure alcohol addiction, but they can help to reduce the craving for alcohol. This, in combination with other treatment options, can help for fast recovery.
GROUP THERAPY/ SUPPORT GROUP- It is found to be very effective during rehabilitation and helps the patient stay on track till life gets back to normal. Group therapy is led by a therapist. Therefore it not only gives the benefits of counseling but also the support of the group members. Support groups, on the other hand, are not led by therapists. They are groups of people with alcohol addiction e.g., Alcoholics Anonymous. In this, the members of the group provide understanding and advice and keep one accountable. Many people tend to stay in such groups for years.
HOMEOPATHY AND DRUG DEADDICTION
Homeopathy has a great role to play in alcohol de-addiction. Along with other interventions, homeopathic treatment increases the chances of recovery. Homeopathic medicines remove the craving for alcohol and significantly reduce the chances of relapse once achieving soberness. Even high-risk people having a strong family history of alcoholism show fast recovery when prescribed homeopathic treatment. Homeopathic treatment for alcohol de-addiction is found to be safe and causes no side effects. Best homeopathic medicine is the one most similar to disease manifestation. For this, a trained homeopathic physician elicits symptoms of the patient from both mental and physical spheres. Not only this, but homeopathic medicines can also help deal with the complications of an alcohol use disorder if any.
Common drug de-addiction medicines in homeopathy are:-
HYOSCYAMUS – It is indicated for delirium and insomnia due to alcohol withdrawal. The patient picks at objects in the air and complaints of terrifying visions. The patient, as a person, has marked sexual desire and is jealous and suspicious.
NUX VOMICA- It is indicated for nervous tremors, gastric derangements, and headaches due to alcohol abuse. The patient, as a person, is very impatient and shows extreme anger. He does a good deal of mental work and leads a sedentary life.
OPIUM- It is indicated for weak digestion, weak memory, tremors and difficulty in walking due to years of alcohol addiction.
QUERCUS GLANDIUM SPIRITUS- It is indicated for bad effects of alcoholism such as vertigo with noises in the head and deafness, dropsy due to liver affections. It takes away the craving for alcohol.
QUERCUS ROBUR: It is helpful in removing the craving for alcohol. It has been used in homeopathy for decades.