Alcohol related problems
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How to recognize an alcohol addiction
Symptoms and Complications
Alcoholism is generally defined as the excessive use of alcohol, to the detriment of personal health and well being
(both physical and mental). Often this is associated with a physical dependence on alcohol.
It has been characterized as both a physical disease, and as merely a symptom of social (or psychological) maladjustment. However, at present there is no factual basis on which to categorize alcohol problems as either purely biological
or purely psychological.
The alcoholic’s destructive behaviour affects not only his own life, but the lives of family members.
According to naturopathic approach alcoholism is a symptom of an underlying deeper imbalance that lead to addictions.
How to recognize if alcohol consumption is becoming an addiction?
1. amount - large amounts are consumed
2. frequency and obsession – the individual cannot stop thinking about alcoholic beverages, can’t do other things
until craving is satisfied, life is rearranged to accommodate craving.
3. lack of control - can not stop drinking until all is gone
4. denial – the individual maintains that their drinking habits are not a problem (i.e. are not excessive)
or downplay the health risks associated with their drinking habits
Symptoms and Complications:
· The withdrawal symptoms of addiction can be quite extreme: from hangover to headache, nausea, vomiting,
trembling, dizziness, weakness, depression, sleep disturbances, hallucinations, seizures, and delirium tremens
which can be fatal if untreated.
· Malnourishment can be both a contributing factor for alcohol addiction, and as a consequence of it.
Excess alcohol depletes the body’s reserves of many essential nutrients. Lack of vitamins and minerals create
metabolic imbalances that produce cravings, ultimately leading to an addiction.
· Hypoglycemia: can contribute to addiction as alcohol can satisfy sugar cravings
· Alcohol is a toxic substance which can cause direct damage to the brain (lack of concentration and memory loss)
and to the liver (producing symptoms like depression, melancholy, fatigue), and after long periods of liver injury
(caused by excess alcohol consumption) fibrosis and cirrhosis might develop.
· Yeast overgrowth
Conventional medicine use pharmacological treatments such as antidepressant and
antabuses (a medication people take and when they drink alcohol makes them feel very lousy, and sick,
this is a kind of an aversion therapy)
Naturopathic medicine is a very good alternative of treatment when we consider the relative high rate of relapse
with the conventional model. Excessive consumption of alcohol is seen as a result of an underlying disease process,
the high rate and volume of use are merely the symptoms of an illness.
The idea is to treat these underlying issues making the person more balance and stronger so they will have the courage
to be able to abstain and restore the harmony within.
Naturopathic treatment strategy:
· Remove the addictive substance (alcohol)
· Educate patients about the toxic effects of alcohol (physical and emotional)
· Help patients come to an awareness of their addiction and develop the resolve to quit.
· Nutritional healing plan: prevent or reverse the damage done by the over ingestion of alcohol, reduce the craving
for alcohol and the withdrawal symptoms using supplements (vitamins and minerals) and a nutrient-dense customized diet.
· Botanical medicine: use herbs such as alfalfa, burdock root, dandelion, silymarin and valerian to cleanse the bloodstream,
to repair damage done to the liver, to provide a good source of minerals and to calm the mind.
· Acupuncture appears to be one of the most successful therapies in eliminate or reduce the desire to drink, alleviate the withdrawal symptoms, facilitates detoxification, relieves nervous tension, improves sensory and mental function,
promotes emotional stability, decreases pain and relieves long term depression. In addition to restore the imbalance.
· Homeopathy to improve on both physical and mental level.
· Counselling: stress management, lifestyle changes, self-help groups ( AA)