Alcohol Rehab: When Does Too Much Drinking Become Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is certainly, as described by the American Medical Association, a disease that is progressive, chronic and if left untreated, can be fatal. The question many alcoholics and their families battle with is how to best treat the disease of alcoholism.


0d1fd34f22c9730e91eb5170fbddc114 LAlcoholism refers to the chronic consumption of alcohol regardless of negative consequences. The person can not stop drinking due to their mental obsession and physical cravings, both related to their alcoholism. The person can not stop drinking even though they experience a decline in their physical and mental health, a decline in their finances, their performance at work and their personal relationships. The alcoholic is completely preoccupied with their next drink.

Due to the many medical and psychiatric issues associated with recovery from alcoholism, initial treatment should begin in an alcoholism rehab or alcoholism treatment center, specializing in the treatment of alcoholism.

The first step in the treatment of alcoholism lies in alcoholism detox. Alcohol detox is a combination of managing the symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal, existing medical problems resulting from alcoholism, as well as, any existing psychiatric issues. Alcoholism detox programs have come a long way in their ability to manage the symptoms of withdrawal through the use of detox specific medications. These medications greatly reduce the chances of seizure, while reducing the patients’ anxiety and pain. Please note that no detox is a pleasurable experience, but everyone can be made comfortable.

After the person is no longer exhibiting any symptoms associated with withdrawal, they may then be transitioned to the alcoholism rehab or alcoholism treatment level of care. Alcoholism treatment or alcoholism rehab is a combination of group and individual psychotherapy, nutritional counseling, family therapy, relapse prevention and medication management. These services are all focused on providing the person the tools they require to achieve long term sobriety.

For most people, the consumption of alcohol is nothing more than pleasant activity that takes place at some type of social activity. Generally speaking, two drinks per day for men and one for women does not produce any harmful effects. Regardless, a large number of Americans suffer serious consequences due to their drinking. Current statistics state that nearly 13 million Americans abuse alcohol or are alcoholic.

The consequences we speak of are quite serious and can be life threatening. Alcohol slows down and can alter brain activity, as well as, the central nervous system. Alcoholic drinking can increase the risk for cancer, cause cirrhosis of the liver, problems within the immune system, damage the fetus of a pregnant woman or create medical complications within the stomach or heart.

It should be clear that alcohol in itself is a drug that can produce serious medical consequences, but when mixed with other drugs or prescription medications it becomes even more lethal. It is highly recommended that a person consult with their physician or pharmacist if they drink alcohol and consume prescription or over the counter medications.

Alcoholism, also known as “alcohol dependence” has been termed a disease by the American Medical Association and this disease includes four distinct symptoms:

  • Craving or the compulsion to drink alcohol,
  • The development of a physical dependence with symptoms of withdrawal present,
  • Loss of control or the inability to control ones alcohol consumption,
  • Tolerance or the need to drink greater amounts of alcohol in order to get drunk.

Many people wonder why some people can consume alcohol without any consequences, while others drink without limits. One reason has been linked directly to genetics. Another factor has to do with the environment and peer pressure, while a person’s brain chemistry can play an integral part in how a person drinks alcohol. In most cases, it is a combination of the above.

Lastly it is important to note that not everyone that drinks regularly is alcoholic or even has a drinking problem. Everyone is different. The best thing to do if you think you or someone you know might have a problem with alcohol is to consult a professional who specializes in the treatment of alcoholism. You can also take the Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test online right now. If a person does have a problem with alcohol the one thing we are sure of is that without intervention, alcoholism treatment or an effective alcohol rehabilitation program, the amount and frequency of drinking will become progressively worse. So, if you know someone who is struggling with alcohol, find an alcohol rehab program and get them help today.

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