Alcohol is used as a pastime activity to remain energized in social interactions or to even relax and unwind.
However, if a person consumes alcohol in excess, they run the risk of harming their lifestyle. The problem with addiction, be it alcohol or otherwise is, that its negative influences seldom just stay till the addict only; they extend to the people around him as well.
And alcoholics are no exception to this.
Understanding Alcohol Abuse:
Alcohol abuse is when drinking patterns result in destructive after-effects.
Alcohol gets in the way of responsibilities – school, family life and career. Moreover, alcohol abuse induces the person to engage in criminal activities, resulting in imprisonment, penalties or rehabilitation.
Alcoholism, also known as alcohol dependency, is when the person has lost control of their alcohol consumption. The person is unable to stop when once he starts, no matter how much he drinks. The dependent person develops tolerance to alcohol and withdrawal symptoms – such as restlessness, irritability or nausea – when consumption stops.
Important Factors that Lead to Alcoholism:
Considering the biopsychosocial model, alcohol consumption could be due to various genetic, environmental and psychological factors. Different risk factors affect individuals differently. Individuals may engage in alcohol consumption due to peer pressure, need for adjustment, dysfunctional family, broken family, emotional problems, abuse and easy access to alcohol.
Genetic makeup may make an individual prone to excessive consumption. Once consumption increases, the victim depends on alcohol to remove pain, discomfort or distress.
Alcohol-dependent people may not be able to stop consumption on the basis of willpower alone. Due to wide-ranging factors and risk of relapse, the person needs specialized help to stop drinking, not suffer from withdrawal symptoms. Once their health improves, the counselor needs to address their emotional issues for successful treatment.
Counseling an Addict:
The counselor could talk to the person’s family to motivate him/her to change. Counseling requires evaluating the types and severity of problems faced by the drinker as well as problems caused to significant others. Since there are several therapeutic approaches, the counselor needs to determine the approach that works best for the victim in avoiding alcohol and preventing relapse. The earlier the help is sought, the better.
Counselor needs to motivate the drinker to stop alcohol consumption, make him acknowledge the cues in the environment, learn to adopt healthy coping mechanisms to maintain well-being and seek help from support groups.
Cognitive behavioral, family and group therapies are effective in helping dependents abstain from alcohol. Family members should be taught how to offer support to the drinker and understand how it works, what is causing it and what can be done to stop it. The person may not be able to resolve his alcohol issue alone. Counseling, family support and environmental support all play a combined role in thwarting alcohol consumption. The counselor needs to make sure the family and environment are not reinforcing alcohol consumption.
The success of treatment depends on the willpower of the person in question, the effectiveness of therapy, family support and environment. Depending on the degree of the problem, some people may stop after a few months while others may take months or years. If someone you know is suffering from the problem, refer them to a qualified, experienced professional and motivate the person to change.