Alcoholism is a Treatable Condition
Alcoholism is a very treatable illness. This has been confirmed by a study by the US National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, which showed that majority of patients who attend government-supported treatment services recover.
The most common and usual treatment of alcoholic people is the psychological one. The ways this can be provided are quite varied. Psychiatrists use psychotherapy, one form of psychological treatment. The therapist and patient examine crucial emotional issues that affect the patient's view of the world, his responses, and behavior.
It is an emotional experience that is hoped to lead to individual growth and the development of different ways of responding. Psychological treatment can be provided either individually or in a group setting. There is no uniform opinion as to which type is most effective.
Therapy and drugs
Some people need what is known as aversion therapy. Aversion therapy is accomplished by giving the person some medicine that causes nausea and vomiting. This medicine is given at about the same time the person takes his favorite alcoholic drink so that an association of alcohol and sickness is created in the patient's mind. The person takes the alcohol and shortly after receives an injection of the vomit-producing medicine.
These sessions are repeated every other day until a total of four to six are completed. Every six months, a repeat treatment is administered. Electroshock techniques are also sometimes used in aversion therapy.
Another important form of treatment involves the use of the drug Antabuse, which was developed in Denmark in 1948. Antabuse causes an abnormal physiological reaction to alcohol. If a person taking Antabuse takes alcohol, he or she will, a few minutes later, feel a rush of heat, turn lobster red, feel a tightening in the neck, begin to cough and develop difficulty in breathing. Thirty minutes later, the person becomes nauseated, pale and scared, and begins to vomit.
The effect usually ends with the person falling into a deep sleep. All people find this experience frightening and uncomfortable. The major drawback of Antabuse is that is must be taken every day to be effective. Most doctors find it helpful in combination with other forms of treatment.
All people who treat alcoholics know that how you behave toward the alcoholic person at the first meeting is most important. The therapist has to reach out actively and be supportive because people with alcohol problems are depressed and expect to be rejected. Once the initial distrust of the patient toward helpers, society, and themselves is removed, treatment can be carried out.
One form of psychologic-spiritual help to alcoholic people is the great self-help organization called Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). This loosely organized voluntary fellowship is well-known worldwide. Its goal is sobriety achieved with help provided by the fellowship of fellow sufferers. Beyond its life-saving aid to thousands of alcoholic people, its great impact has been to point out to non-interested professionals that alcoholic persons can be helped.
AA waged a battle and created interest while others hid behind attitudes of moralism and pessimism toward alcoholism and its effects. AA supplies comradeship: all members suffer the same disturbance. AA encourages self-examination and confession. It encourages dependency, since members take others under their wing and create a group identity.
There are other forms of treatment. There is behavior modification treatment, which is related to aversion therapy. There are also hypnotism, transcendental meditation, multivitamin therapy, lithium therapy, and so on. All of these programs, with their special target thrust, depend on an approach tailored to the needs of the individual.