Alcoholism is a complex condition classified as a substance use disorder. It involves both mental and physical alcohol dependence. In later stages, memory problems, central nervous system damage, and loss of self-control occur.
Alcoholism develops through three stages. Initially, alcoholics feel a constant urge to drink but can control themselves. With prolonged abstinence, the urge fades. At stage two, large alcohol doses are compulsory. Internal organs and the central nervous system may suffer damage (lowered libido, incontinence). Stage three features nearly complete loss of cognitive-behavioral control and extended binges. Now even tiny amounts of alcohol alter consciousness (damaged organs exacerbate this). Abruptly stopping heavy drinking at stage three risks psychosis or death.
Alcoholism blends physical, mental, social, and spiritual facets, so no single treatment works for all. But therapies generally fall into these categories:
Combining all four approaches works best, but their balance depends on one's stage of alcoholism. Medical treatments are essential for stages two and three, providing a foundation for further recovery. But they may not be needed at stage one. Medications target the instinctive fear of drinking's effects. They use drugs that don't mix with alcohol, especially disulfiram, naltrexone, and acamprosate in Russia. Psychotherapy (including spiritual therapy) aims to instill an alcohol-free worldview. Social methods help change the alcoholic's environment through new settings, activities, and practical personal and family problem-solving assistance.
We've compiled the top 10 methods to help you gain independence from alcoholism's chokehold.