“A man who drinks too much on occasion is still the same man as he was sober. An alcoholic, a real alcoholic, is not the same man at all. You can’t predict anything about him for sure except that he will be someone you never met before.” – Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye
2015 statistics revealed that 15.1 million adults were diagnosed with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) in the United States of America. These are shocking statistics. What is even more shocking is that 623,000 teenagers, aged between 12 and 17 years old were also diagnosed with AUD.
Furthermore, alcohol and tobacco use are listed in the top ten leading causes of death in the USA. Therefore, it is clear that something must be done to reduce these statistics.
What is Alcoholism or Alcohol Use Disorder?
At the outset of this article, it must be noted that there is a difference between someone who has a couple of drinks and a person who is dependent on alcohol to get through the day. This fact is echoed by the quotation mentioned above by Raymond Chandler where he states that an alcoholic is unpredictable and not the same person as when he is sober.
Therefore, it is clear that alcoholism is a major scourge in today’s society. Before we look at ways to overcome this disease, let’s look at a comprehensive definition of AUD:
According to Mayoclinic.com, AUD is “a pattern of alcohol use that involves problems controlling your drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol, continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems, having to drink more to get the same effect, or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking.”
In other words, it is unhealthy alcohol use that causes significant health and safety risks. A clear example of this is the case of the Japan airline pilot that was arrested at Heathrow airport when he reported for duty, and he was circa nine times over the legal alcohol limit. If Heathrow officials hadn’t stopped him, he would have flown the plane in his inebriated state.
Alcohol addiction treatment: What you should keep in mind
Therefore, it is clear that alcoholism (or AUD) is a disorder and sufferers need alcohol addiction treatment.
There are essentially two options for alcoholics seeking to kick the dependency on alcohol:
They either book themselves into a rehabilitation centre that offers a natural treatment program, or they attend a rehab program that uses prescription medication to help control the obsession with alcohol.
The challenge with using prescription medication to kick the habit of drinking too much is that while alcohol is a neurotoxin, many of the pills like Naltrexone are synthetic substances that are opioids in themselves.
Therefore, when broken down to its essential element, healthcare experts use similar drugs to treat alcohol and drug addictions. Under these treatment programs, most people need to stay on medication for the rest of their lives; otherwise, they run the risk of relapsing.
On the other hand, natural treatment programs, such as ibogaine, can be preferable because they use natural psychoactive indole alkaloids found in the roots of an African rainforest shrub interact with the brain’s neurotransmitters and help change addictive behaviour patterns.