While casual or moderate drinking has some potential advantages – relaxation, heightened enjoyment of stimuli, etc. – problem drinkers are unable to enjoy these advantages without alcohol. In other words, casual or moderate drinkers will be able to find other ways to relax or enjoy themselves even if alcohol is not present, or they make the choice to abstain. But if someone is completely unable to function for pleasurable reasons without alcohol, they cannot conceive of having a good time without getting drunk, or reaching for the bottle is their first response to any kind of trigger (either stressful or pleasurable), then this is a sign that they are abusing alcohol and need help to stop. Be Recovered: Breaking free from the Disease of Addiction | Dean Taraborelli | TEDxSedona
Anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts are all common results of alcohol dependency. This is because prolonged heavy drinking effects the neurotransmitters in the brain which regulate mood. Two of the most important neurotransmitters for mood are dopamine and serotonin, which are responsible for creating the positive feelings vital for a healthy mind. Research shows that the levels of both serotonin and dopamine are often heavily altered in the brains of alcoholics, leading to deteriorating mental health and, often, a negative spiral of alcohol use.
These are all very different drinking patterns, but they have one thing in common. People who drink like this have lost some modicum of control over their consumption. The beverages drive their behaviors. It can seem like a subtle distinction, but it’s an important one to understand, as people who don’t amend troublesome drinking behaviors can become people who have symptoms of alcoholism.
Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences.† It is considered a brain disorder, because it involves functional changes to brain circuits involved in reward, stress, and self-control, and those changes may last a long time after a person has stopped taking drugs.11
After physical dependency comes addiction. At this stage, you are drinking because you have a physical and psychological need to do so, and not for pleasure or because you want to. You will crave alcohol and it will be interfering with your ability to enjoy life. It is likely to be having a negative impact on your relationships with others as well as on your health and finances. Even knowing the harm that it is causing will not be able to stop. You will be compelled to drink and will be powerless to resist.
Thanks to years of research, doctors and health professionals now have a full menu of options to treat alcohol use disorders. Building on this progress, scientists continue to work on new medications and discover new ways to improve the effectiveness, accessibility, quality, and cost-effectiveness of treatment for people who have alcohol use disorders. What is alcoholism & how do we treat it? Alcohol Use Disorder / Kati Morton
In the past decade, there have been growing efforts through state and local legislations to shift from criminalizing drug abuse to treating it as a health condition requiring medical intervention. 9 states have legislations for safe syringe use like exchange programs or purchasing at pharmacy. In addition, AB-186 Controlled substances: overdose prevention program was introduced to operate safe injection sites in the City and County of San Francisco. The bill was vetoed on September 30, 2018 by California Governor Jerry Brown. The legality of these sites are still in discussion, so there are no such sites in the United States yet. However, there is growing international evidence for successful safe injection facilities.
The specific medicines prescribed will vary depending upon your own particular experience of withdrawal and the symptoms you are manifesting, and it may be that certain medications will not be appropriate depending on your substance of abuse or your own personal health history; an experienced medical professional will be able to make those decisions to ensure you go through withdrawal as safely as possible. What happens in rehab?