Medications also are available that may help a recovering alcoholic avoid returning to drinking. These have been used with variable success; different medications may be more or less successful for different individuals. Disulfiram (Antabuse) is a drug which, when mixed with alcohol, causes unpleasant reactions including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and trembling. It was estimated that in 2008, 200,000 recovering alcoholics in the United States were taking disulfiram. Naltrexone (Depade, ReVia) helps to reduce the brain's craving for alcohol. Acamprosate (Campral) works by reducing anxiety and insomnia that often occur when habitual drinkers become abstinent. Drugs alone will not prevent relapse. They are most effective when used in conjunction with a self-help program and/or psychotherapy aimed at changing behavior.
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The World Health Organization estimates that as of 2010 there are 208 million people with alcoholism worldwide (4.1% of the population over 15 years of age).[9][10] Substance use disorders are a major public health problem facing many countries. "The most common substance of abuse/dependence in patients presenting for treatment is alcohol."[125] In the United Kingdom, the number of 'dependent drinkers' was calculated as over 2.8 million in 2001.[148] About 12% of American adults have had an alcohol dependence problem at some time in their life.[149] In the United States and Western Europe, 10 to 20 percent of men and 5 to 10 percent of women at some point in their lives will meet criteria for alcoholism.[150] Estonia had the highest death rate from alcohol in Europe in 2015 at 8.8 per 100,000 population.[151] In the United States, 30% of people admitted to hospital have a problem related to alcohol.[152]

The Sinclair method is another approach to using naltrexone or other opioid antagonists to treat alcoholism by having the person take the medication about an hour before they drink alcohol and only then.[137][138] The medication blocks the positive reinforcement effects of ethanol and hypothetically allows the person to stop drinking or drink less.[138]
To start with, getting sober and drug-free requires the desire and determination to get clean, and having both of these is crucial. If you’re looking for help for a loved one or a friend, know that they’ll need to be “on board" with the idea of recovery if they are going to have a solid chance of getting clean. If they have not yet recognized their own problem, an addiction intervention may be necessary. During the beginning phases of recovery, an alcohol and drug detox is always necessary to remove any unwanted chemicals from the body, followed by intensive addiction recovery therapy. The latter may take 28-90 days (sometimes more), but completing the program provides all the tools needed to stay substance-free. It is highly beneficial for those leaving rehab to join a recovery support group and even consider spending time in a recovery home.
AA describes alcoholism as an illness that involves a physical allergy[107]:28 (where "allergy" has a different meaning than that used in modern medicine.[108]) and a mental obsession.[107]:23[109] The doctor and addiction specialist Dr. William D. Silkworth M.D. writes on behalf of AA that "Alcoholics suffer from a "(physical) craving beyond mental control".[107]:XXVI A 1960 study by E. Morton Jellinek is considered the foundation of the modern disease theory of alcoholism.[110] Jellinek's definition restricted the use of the word alcoholism to those showing a particular natural history. The modern medical definition of alcoholism has been revised numerous times since then. The American Medical Association uses the word alcoholism to refer to a particular chronic primary disease.[111]
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide, short-term residential programs developed the idea of using a modified 12-Step approach to provide a shorter stay in treatment that included follow-up through a 12-Step fellowship. This is seen as a way to provide the important post-treatment structure that helps people maintain long-term recovery. Other programs have also incorporated the 12 Steps, both by encouraging clients to attend 12-Step fellowship meetings, and by incorporating 12-Step ideas into their practices.

Newcomers are advised that in order to make serious changes in their lives, they must change their social habits and find a new source of support in the 12-step fellowship. Instead of spending time with other alcoholics or drug addicts, they are encouraged to attend meetings, find a sponsor and contact their fellow recovering addicts when they need support. The fellowship and one’s “Higher Power” fill the emotional and spiritual voids that the addict once attempted to fill with drugs or alcohol.
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When it comes to maintaining long-term sobriety outside of a rehabilitation treatment program, the oldest and probably most well-known organization is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Founded in 1935, AA and its 12-Step Program has been the go-to for treating alcoholism for decades, with many addiction treatment centers incorporating at least some version of the 12 Steps in their own treatment therapies.

Many 12-Step groups exist for individuals who are uncomfortable with the religious nature of traditional AA, such as AA Agnostica, which is designed for atheists and agnostics. The goal of Step 2 is often taken to be more spiritual in nature than religious, as it asks each individual to accept that they require help from something greater than themselves in order to move forward in recovery.
Moderate alcohol consumption (1–2 drinks/d) reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease in men and women by approximately 30%. [13, 14, 15] The effect of heavy alcohol consumption on the risk of cardiovascular disease varies in different studies. The person's drinking pattern appears to have an effect on cardiovascular disease. Drinking with meals may reduce the risk, while binge drinking increases risk (even in otherwise moderate drinkers).
There is a group of physicians within ASAM who are concerned that twelve-step recovery is not being taught to new physicians entering this field (most physicians currently enter addiction practice in mid-career, rather than straight out of residency training). Referring to themselves as “Like Minded Docs,” they communicate regularly among each other, leaning on each other via email for support and guidance, and occasionally reaching out to ASAM regarding policies of the Society. One of their stated concerns is that continuing education programs for physicians newly involved with addiction or considering a mid-career switch into addiction medicine have more content on pharmacotherapies and less content on psychosocial therapies, and that Twelve-Step Facilitation therapy and twelve-step recovery overall are at risk of becoming ‘dying arts.’
There are two types of rehabilitation that help treat alcoholism: inpatient rehab and outpatient rehab. Inpatient rehabs are intensive treatment programs that require you to check into a facility for a certain period of time, usually 30, 60 or 90 days. Outpatient rehab allows individuals to participate in a recovery program while continuing with their daily life. Talk with your doctor about treatment options to determine which form of recovery will best fit your needs.
Having more than one drink a day for women or two drinks for men increases the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, and stroke.[29] Risk is greater in younger people due to binge drinking, which may result in violence or accidents.[29] About 3.3 million deaths (5.9% of all deaths) are believed to be due to alcohol each year.[11] Alcoholism reduces a person's life expectancy by around ten years[22] and alcohol use is the third leading cause of early death in the United States.[29] No professional medical association recommends that people who are nondrinkers should start drinking wine.[29][30] Long-term alcohol abuse can cause a number of physical symptoms, including cirrhosis of the liver, pancreatitis, epilepsy, polyneuropathy, alcoholic dementia, heart disease, nutritional deficiencies, peptic ulcers[31] and sexual dysfunction, and can eventually be fatal. Other physical effects include an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, malabsorption, alcoholic liver disease, and several cancers. Damage to the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system can occur from sustained alcohol consumption.[32][33] A wide range of immunologic defects can result and there may be a generalized skeletal fragility, in addition to a recognized tendency to accidental injury, resulting a propensity to bone fractures.[34]
Many people use alcohol as a de-stressor. While some beer may be a temporarily relief from the stress of the day, ultimately alcohol is stressing you out even more. Research shows that long-term drinking can increase perceived stress in the brain. For example, a stressful situation would be handled worse by an alcoholic than by a non-alcoholic. Many other factors play into how we handle such situations, but without a doubt drinking alcohol will not help.
observations The most frequent medical consequences of alcoholism are central nervous system depression and cirrhosis. The severity of each may be greater in the absence of food intake. Alcoholic patients also may suffer from alcoholic gastritis, peripheral neuropathies, auditory hallucinations, and cardiac problems. Abrupt withdrawal of alcohol in addiction causes weakness, sweating, and hyperreflexia. The severe form of alcohol withdrawal is delirium tremens.
So changes in the brain caused by alcohol actually cause alcoholism. However, alcohol itself also causes issues with the body. Short-term effects include drunkenness, difficulty walking, slurred speech, slowed reaction time, trouble with balance, poor judgment, unpredictable behavior, and temporarily memory loss… basically all the things associated with being drunk. Long-term effects are much nastier, and can include Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, delirium tremens, liver failure, up to ten types of cancer, and ultimately death.
Prioritizing coping over healing. While AA obviously wants its members to avoid relapse and maintain sobriety, the means of doing so is heavily focused on using skills to cope with addictive behaviors rather than addressing the underlying issues that are causing them. Because of this, many people find the 12-Step program might help them stay sober, but leave them still struggling with the problems that led to becoming alcoholics in the first place.
The NIAAA defines risky drinking of "standard drinks," with one standard drink equal to about 12 ounces of typical American beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor. These figures are based on "typical" (mass market) forms of beer and wine; particularly for beer, many specialty beers may contain up to twice the amount of alcohol as a mass market beer does. For wine, the alcohol content is more constant, but wine coolers often contain less alcohol and some types of wine, such as zinfandels and port, may contain twice the average amount of alcohol. For men, 4 or more drinks a day or 14 or more a week within the last year is considered risky, while for women it is 3 or more a day or 7 or more a week.
A cross-sectional survey of substance-misuse treatment providers in the West Midlands found fewer than 10% integrated twelve-step methods in their practice and only a third felt their consumers were suited for Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous membership. Less than half were likely to recommend self-help groups to their clients. Providers with nursing qualifications were more likely to make such referrals than those without them. A statistically significant correlation was found between providers' self-reported level of spirituality and their likelihood of recommending AA or NA.[87]
Addiction is a complex brain disease that impacts people emotionally, physically, socially, financially, behaviorally, and personally. Families and loved ones are negatively affected as well. Addiction recovery is aided by professional treatment programs and by engaging in support groups that can offer encouragement, hope, and healthy peer interactions. These self-help groups aid in facilitating the formation of groups of people who have similar goals for sobriety and long-term abstinence from drugs and alcohol. The idea of a 12-Step program began with Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA, a program designed to support individuals struggling with addiction to alcohol in their recovery efforts.
The twelve steps of the program are listed above and on the steps page in generic form. Other groups who have adopted the 12 steps to address their own particular addictive or dysfunctional behavior have similar ideas, usually with only minor variations. These steps are meant to be worked sequentially as a process of getting rid of addictive behaviors and should result in a growth in freedom and happiness, as outlined in the Promises. The general governing approach for A.A. groups was originally laid out in the Twelve Traditions, and they remain the guiding principles for most 12 step groups today.
Some people don’t like or are not interested in the 12-Step model, even with the variations above or through organizations that facilitate the 12-Step model. Some people don’t like basing their recovery on the idea that they cannot control their addiction, when there is evidence that there are ways of practicing internal control over the recovery process.
If you feel as though your alcohol consumption is taking a toll on your life, it’s important to find treatment options that will help you kick you alcohol addiction to the curb. Your doctor will be able to offer professional medical assistance if you are concerned about your drinking. Seeking help for alcoholism sooner rather than later gets you back on track to living a healthy, fulfilling life.
If you feel as though your alcohol consumption is taking a toll on your life, it’s important to find treatment options that will help you kick you alcohol addiction to the curb. Your doctor will be able to offer professional medical assistance if you are concerned about your drinking. Seeking help for alcoholism sooner rather than later gets you back on track to living a healthy, fulfilling life.
In my 30 years as an addiction counselor I've been amazed by the practically obsessive attempts to push the 12-step philosophy to the forefront of treatment methodology, and to ignore research.  Does anyone remember that Bill W. once remarked that he never considered AA to be a panacea for addiction?  In fact, few people know he considered the nutritional therapy of Vitamin B3 to be perhaps the most effective means of treating symptoms of depression he found closely linked to alcoholism.  He wanted to be remembered more for promoting B3 therapy than AA itself.  The point is, support is support, and science is science.  I've never had any qualms whatsoever about my clients attending AA or NA meetings. It's their free time; they can attend or not.  If my role is to teach or persuade them to go, why do I need a clinical license and a Master's Degree?  Why did I need to take exams? (Which, by the way, never 'assessed' my ability as AA promoter.) I take my work more seriously than just encouraging support group concepts or involvement.  I see my role alternately as providing up-to-date information about behavioral therapies, relapse prevention approaches, and being a force for connection and inspiration.  We should be appalled by the slow transfer of research to practice.  There's a lot more we can do for our clients, and we're not doing it.  I think it's high time for the traditionalists in our field to recognize that our clients need the benefits of science, not more AA instruction and orientation.  
Standing by your friend or family member’s progress during and after treatment is important, too. For example, alcohol is everywhere. Even after recovery, your person will be in situations they can’t predict. Ways you can help include avoiding alcohol when you’re together or opting out of drinking in social situations. Ask about new strategies that they learned in treatment or meetings. Stay invested in their long-term recovery.
Risk factors for developing a drinking problem include depression, anxiety, or another mood problem in the individual, as well as having parents with addiction. Low self-esteem and feeling out of place are other risk factors for developing alcohol dependence. In women, antisocial behaviors and impulsivity are associated with the development of severe alcohol use disorder. Both men and women are more likely to develop alcoholism if they have a childhood history of being physically or sexually abused. Children and teens who have their first drink of alcohol between 11 and 14 years of age are more at risk for developing a drinking alcohol problems than those who do so when either younger or older.
A disorder characterized by a persistent pattern of alcohol use that causes harm or distress. It typically involves cravings for alcohol, inability to control the amount consumed, withdrawal symptoms in its absence, and the need to consume greater quantities in order to feel the same effects, and often results in impaired social functioning and significant damage to physical health.
A. At age 17, it may seem like fun to go out and party and get drunk every night, but its symptomatic that you have let your self cross over the line that leads to self destruction. You have already admitted that you are worried about becoming an alcoholic and being referred to as a "drunk". If that bothers you, you had better get help or stop. If it doesn't bother you that people see you as "a drunk", then there's no point in anyone making any further replies to your post. Sooner or later, something bad will surely happen, that may make you wise up. But for many alcoholics which includes me, they have to hit absolute "rock bottom". Your life will surely go "south" if you keep it up, until you either wise up because of the hangovers, or you get to the bitter end of your rope. The end of the rope could be any of the following: jail, death, car wreck, lose job, lose spouse through divorce, get thrown out of the house, get sick from heart disease, beco
Chuck Lorre's Mom (2013-), follows dysfunctional daughter/mother duo Christy and Bonnie Plunkett, who are estranged for years while simultaneously struggling with addiction. They attempt to pull their lives and relationships together by trying to stay sober and visiting Alcoholics Anonymous. The show also explores themes of alcoholism, drug addiction and relapse.
Jump up ^ Alcoholics Anonymous (2001-06-01). "Chapter 2: There Is a Solution". Alcoholics Anonymous (PDF) (4th ed.). Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. p. 21. ISBN 1893007162. OCLC 32014950. These observations would be academic and pointless if [he] never took the first drink, thereby setting the terrible cycle in motion. Therefore, the main problem...centers in his mind....The fact is that most alcoholics...have lost the power of choice in drink...unable, at certain times, to bring into [his] consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of a month or even a week ago. [He] is without defense against the first drink.
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