Alcoholism, also called as alcohol use disorder, is defined as a condition in which an individual has a tendency or physical urge to take alcohol, in spite of all its well-documented negative impact on his or her life. Previously, an individual experiencing this condition was called as an “alcoholic”. Nevertheless, this is more of viewed as a negative and non-contributory label. But things have changed dramatically as health professionals now tell that such a person is called an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD).
As per a data published by the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 3.3 million deaths occur yearly from overuse of alcohol. Also, in 2015, the National Institute of Health (NIH) released a data that indicated around 15.1 million American adults have had an alcohol abuse issue at some point in their lives.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) explains the term ‘alcohol use disorder’ as a diminished ability to control or stop using alcohol in spite of its detrimental impact on the health, occupation or societal consequences.
Individuals undergoing this condition aren’t aware of how or when to stop alcohol consumption. A considerable time is spent thinking about drinking, and trying to put a cap on how they drink, even though they’re fully aware of the serious problems it may create personally and at work. Overuse or inappropriate intake of alcohol is not necessarily paramount to dependence on alcohol. If you take alcohol moderately, it generally does not seem to cause any physical or psychological problems. Nevertheless, if an individual who is just a social drinker increases the intake of alcohol or now and then consumes more than how much is recommended, the resultant condition is AUD.
When is a good time for AUD treatment?
There is no good time for AUD treatment. We have already seen in detail how too much drinking or too fast the pace is often the primary public health problem in India. It is a perpetual struggle for many people curbing their alcohol consumption in their lives.
Now, does treatment really work?
We have good news for you, and that is regardless of the severity of the problem, most individuals with AUD can benefit from some initial form of treatment. Further research indicates that approximately one-third of individuals undergoing treatment for alcohol issues experience no further symptoms for one year later post-treatment process. There are many others who considerably lower their alcohol consumption and report reduced instances of alcohol-related issues.
What are the types of treatment?
Behavioral treatments are designed for altering the drinking behavior in the form of counseling, mostly driven by health professionals and corroborated by studies proving they could be beneficial.
Medications are currently in wide use in India that help people reduce or stop their alcohol intake and thwart relapse. They are recommended by a primary care physician or selected health professionals, and their usage may be stand-alone or in combination of other techniques such as counseling.
How can a Primary Care Doctor help you?
How can you start with a primary care doctor? If you’re thinking about starting treatment, you need to talk to a primary care physician, as the first important step—he/she could be an excellent source of referrals for treatment and medications. Other functions of primary care physician include evaluation of the drinking pattern of a patent; tailoring a treatment plan; evaluation of overall health; assessment whether medications for alcohol may be suitable or not. Individuals are recommended to work with their doctors on what is the most effective primary treatment.
What is a de-addiction centre? How can they help with AUD, and are they effective?
A de-addiction centre, also called a detox center, can be highly effective in the process of recovery from alcohol addiction. There are several ways in which a de addiction centre can help in the recovery including Psychoeducation, Detoxification and Family Therapy–the details of which can be beyond the scope of the article. However, as discussed above, complete and effective recovery from addiction is a reality, and therein lies the role of a de-addiction centre; therefore, if you or your loved one is going through potential symptoms of alcohol addition, a reliable de-addiction centre can set the tone for recovery process.