Alcohol addiction has wide-ranging effects that encompass all aspects of the addict’s life. Some of the potential effects of alcohol addiction could include:
Physical effects – Pancreatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, insulin resistance, alcoholic dementia, nutritional deficiencies, heart disease and in extreme cases; death.
Economic effects – Loss of employment and the subsequent financial problems that follow as a result.
Social effects – Social alienation due to unacceptable social behavior, marital conflict and divorce.
Legal consequences – Alcohol addicts often get into trouble with the law either because of public disorder or because of drunk driving.
Alcohol addiction affects not only the addict but also the addict’s entire family who could experience consequences that range from neglect to domestic violence to spouse and children.
Abruptly discontinuing the use of alcohol could result in severe symptoms including convulsions, hallucinations, seizures and shakes. In severe cases it could cause heart failure and even death. Because of the critical nature of the symptoms, it is recommended that withdrawal issues should necessarily be controlled by a supervised detox.
Treatment for cessation of alcohol abuse typically includes managing the physical symptoms and bringing about behavioral changes. This is done by various therapeutic treatments ranging from medications to psychotherapy.
Antabuse and Natltrexone are two of the commonly used medications in the treatment of alcohol addiction. Antabuse works by creating an adverse reaction when alcohol is ingested and Natltrexone decreases the physical cravings of alcohol. Long term use of folate and vitamin B12 are often recommended to help overcome the damaging effects of chronic alcohol use on the liver.
Alcohol addicts can face a lifelong struggle in their effort to stay sober and relapse is a strong possibility on the long road to sobriety. Unlike drug addiction, where it is often more difficult to obtain the drugs, alcohol is easily available and it is easier for a recovering addict to fall back into the habit of alcohol abuse. Often even one drink at a social occasion can trigger off the addiction. Several professionals hold the view that relapse is part of the learning process and is something that an addict has to go through to finally attain full abstinence from their addiction.
Social support and life training offer recovering addicts much needed support and are indispensable components of alcohol addiction treatment. Alcoholics Anonymous is one such organization that is committed to helping alcoholics beat their addiction and lead normal lives.