Alcoholism is a chronic disease characterized by a physical and psychological addiction to the excessive consumption of alcohol or liquor. Additionally, alcoholism is defined as mental illness or compulsive behavior that is a direct result of alcohol dependency. Alcohol rehab offers a solution to this disorder. In alcohol rehab, patients are able to break their physical and mental addiction to drinking. There are a number of alcohol rehab options, depending on the patient and their history with alcoholism.
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It is possible for a person to abuse alcohol but not be physically or mentally addicted to alcohol. There are key differences between abuse and addiction, including how the brain reacts to moderate and heavy drinking. Recent studies show that the brain releases a larger amount of “feel good” chemicals when a person drinks heavily, as opposed to a smaller amount when a person drinks in moderation.
When a person abuses alcohol, he or she may drink to the point of blacking out or participate in binge drinking. Addiction is similar as alcoholics also binge drink and blackout. However, the person who is addicted also has a physical and psychological dependency to liquor. Additionally, the alcoholic cannot control how much or when drinking occurs.
Unlike the majority of people who suffer from alcoholism that develops by the 30s, late on set alcoholism occurs later in life; most commonly after the age of 60. This occurs when a traumatic event such as divorce, illness or the death of a spouse occurs, spurring excessive drinking that develops into full-blown alcoholism. Depression is commonly a factor in late on set alcoholism.
Alcoholism is extremely dangerous and contributes to a wide range of physical and mental issues including an increased risk of various cancers, cirrhosis of the liver, anemia, cardiovascular disease, depression, seizures, gout and nerve damage. Cognitive impairment, permanent brain damage and dementia are also linked to alcoholism.
Alcohol intervention is often necessary when a loved one suffers from alcoholism. An intervention can be conducted in a confrontational or non-confrontational manner, with or without the assistance of a professional.
In severe cases, a forced intervention may be necessary, which normally requires a physician’s signature. When confronted with the realities of addiction, it is common for people to become angry, hostile or wish to leave the intervention. Family and loved ones may also become upset or irrational, as past and present issues and concerns are voiced.
The process of detoxification for long-term alcohol abuse should always be done in a professional detox center. Not only does it ensure the patient’s comfort and safety, but it also increases the chances of a successful long-term recovery. Alcohol detoxification often requires the use of medications to prevent serious side effects such as delirium tremens, which can be deadly if not monitored.
Alcohol withdrawal should only be attempted in an alcohol rehab center. In some cases a dangerous condition called delirium tremens or DT develops, which can be deadly. This occurs when the brain, which is being deprived of the alcohol it has grown accustomed to, cannot adapt to the chemical changes it is experiencing. This can lead to delusions, hallucinations and even death. In a controlled setting, medications are available to treat this condition should it occur.
Detoxification from alcohol can last from two to seven days. During this time a person can experience a wide range of side effects that include nausea, vomiting, shaking, headaches and an intense craving for alcohol. Alcohol detox programs use medications that make the transition to being alcohol-free more comfortable and safe.
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