Recovery from Alcohol Addiction
by Nirmala Raniga
Despite the fact that alcohol is a socially accepted legal drug, the over use of this substance can lead to alcoholism, leading to the same dire consequences as other forms of drug addiction.
People often drink alcohol during social functions, as drinking in moderation often helps individuals feel at ease. However, because alcohol affects brain function and loosens inhibitions, consuming too much alcohol can interfere with judgment, decision-making, and reflexes and lead to serious injury or even death. For example, in one evening of social drinking, an enjoyable time can cascade into a series of embarrassing and dangerous situations. Ultimately, alcohol addiction can be detrimental to a person’s long-term health, their relationships and livelihoods, and can negatively impact every facet of their lives.
Alcoholics fall into two main categories: problem drinkers who are alcohol dependent or those who are alcohol abusers, and they can sometimes be categorized as both.
Five percent of all those who consume alcohol can be considered alcohol dependent. Those who fall into this category are unable to stop drinking even if they want to. People who are dependent on alcohol lose control of their drinking, consistently drink more and for longer periods than intended, and have developed a high tolerance for alcohol. After a period without drinking, these people suffer from the physical symptoms of withdrawal syndrome and therefore continue drinking, regardless of how it affects their lives.
Many people who are alcohol dependent can hide it from their peers for years, continuing to function in a way that appears normal, as long as they have their required number of drinks each day. Without treatment, alcohol dependence can cause problems with friends and family, work, health, finances, and the law. Additionally, people who are drunk that insist on driving often become the cause of terrifying accidents where they are responsible for the loss of innocent lives.
Much like those who struggle with alcohol dependence, people whose drinking falls into the category of alcohol abuse are unable to control their use of the drug. However, for these addicts, drinking leads to the failure to fulfill responsibilities at work, home, or school, and they often put their own lives and those of others at risk.
Over time, excessive drinking can lead to serious health consequences, including liver damage, brain and nerve damage, high blood pressure and strokes, greater risk of heart disease, impotence, infertility, breast and throat cancer, and premature aging, among many other issues.
Alcohol is the most common cause of preventable birth defects, including fetal alcohol syndrome, which means the baby may have physical abnormalities, behavior problems, and other difficulties. Research shows that for pregnant women, there is no known safe level of alcohol consumption. A woman who drinks during pregnancy is more likely to have a miscarriage, to have the baby born too early, to have a stillbirth, or to experience other problems. Similarly, if a woman is breastfeeding, alcohol can be passed to her baby through breast milk. This may affect the baby’s feeding, sleep, and development.
Physiologically, our brains are hardwired to a reward circuitry that provides us with pleasure. We naturally repeat behaviors that give us the reward or pleasure we desire. If the effects of alcohol give us a feeling of confidence, or an increased sense of self-worth, we “logically” reach for another drink. Therefore, people who overindulge in intoxicants, such as alcohol, are searching for something that will make them feel better and whole.
The Road to Recovery
While alcohol addiction can lead to chronic diseases, it can be treated. Unfortunately, treatment is often complicated by denial and/or a lack of understanding about substance abuse. Successful recovery requires multiple forms of treatment, and individuals with this condition are prone to relapse. The first step on the road to recovery is recognition of the problem. The second is to seek help to stop drinking. Abruptly stopping alcohol use in a person who is dependent on alcohol can be dangerous. An alcoholic who needs to drink daily should stop his use of alcohol under the supervision of a physician and may need medication during the withdrawal process.
Long-term preventive treatment should begin after the addict recovers from immediate symptoms. Total and lifelong abstinence from drinking alcohol is recommended for most people who go through withdrawal. In addition, therapy and self-help groups provide support and help addicted individuals understand their behavior and motivations.
Here at the Chopra Addiction & Wellness Center we help people with addictive behaviors to “re-wire” their reward circuitry and create a new memory free from harmful cravings. Dr. Deepak Chopra says this re-wiring of the nervous system–-called neuroplasticity—enables the brain to reorganize itself so human beings can create new neural pathways through new experiences.
Under the guidance of the professional staff at the Center, emotional pain can be identified and experienced with safety and support not previously possible. This re-wiring can produce new, empowering, liberating experiences that do not need alcohol to bring about pleasure. New choices that nourish the mind, body, and spirit, can be revealed, thus bringing about healing and transformation.
The healing team at the Chopra Addiction & Wellness Center combines the latest breakthroughs in modern Western medicine with the healing arts of the East, thus offering the first truly holistic addition recovery method in North America. The goal of the Center’s holistic health care experts is to restore balance and wholeness in the lives of the people who seek help.
Guests at the Center have an opportunity to become free of the initial magnet that drew them to alcohol abuse and to discover the joy of a non-addicted life. Four-week and six-week residential programs offer intensive, personalized treatment to address the deeper issues at the root of addiction and help individuals identify and release stored emotional pain, destructive thought-patterns, and life-damaging beliefs. Such destructive behaviors are replaced with more nurturing, self-empowering behaviors and experiences that offer individuals a strong foundation of lasting recovery and help them build a balanced, addiction-free life.
Here at the Chopra Addiction & Wellness Center we are dedicated to assisting you or your loved one recover from alcoholism and other unhealthy patterns of behavior. If you need help or have any questions, please call us now at: 1 (888) 802-3001. Click here to learn more about the programs we offer.