symptoms are associated with abuse of alcohol:
temporary blackouts or memory loss.
recurrent arguments or fights with family members or friends.
continuing use of alcohol to relax, to cheer up, to sleep, to deal with
problems, or to feel "normal".
money and family problems.
nausea, or other unpleasant symptoms when you stop drinking.
appetite and insomnia.
of trembling and sweating.
kidney trouble and peptic ulcers.
capillaries on the face; a husky voice; shaking hands; severe diarrhoea;
and drinking alone, in the mornings, or in secret. These symptoms are
specifically associated with chronic alcoholism.
moderation, alcohol can be of benefit as a relaxant, can encourage the
appetite and produce a feeling of well-being. However, when consumed in
excess, alcohol is poisonous to human systems and is considered a drug.
alcoholism is a progressive, potentially fatal disease, characterised by an
constant craving for, increased tolerance of, physical dependence upon, and
loss of control over drinking alcohol.
Alcoholism can cause
physical problems such as hypoglycaemia, kidney disease,
brain and heart damage, enlarged blood vessels in the skin, chronic gastritis, and pancreatitis (see Pancreatic Problems).
Alcoholism can also lead to
impotence in men, damage to the foetus in pregnant women, and an elevated risk of cancer
of the larynx, oesophagus, stomach, pancreas, and upper gastrointestinal tract.
Alcoholics rarely eat
nutritionally adequate meals, they are likely to have nutritional deficiencies. Heavy
drinkers typically have impaired liver function, and at least 1 in 5 develops cirrhosis.
The causes of alcoholism
are a combination of genetic, physical, psychological, environmental, and social factors
that vary among individuals. Genetic factors are considered crucial
A given person's
risk of becoming an alcoholic is four to five times greater if a parent is alcoholic as
children grow up copying one parent. Some children of alcohol abusers, however, overcome
the hereditary pattern by becoming teetotallers.
Drinking is socially
acceptable and approved cultural activity therefore some people, due to upbringing and
conditioning are more inclined to become alcoholics than others.
Certain professions are
more conducive alcoholism, extensive socialising and the open availability of drink are
causes in these cases.
Alcoholics main aim
in treatment is to abstain from any form of alcohol and this is often difficult and
complicated by denial.
Once the alcoholic accepts
he or she has a problem and is willing to stop drinking, treatment can begin. He or she
must understand that alcoholism is curable and must be motivated to change.
Treatment has two
sometimes called detoxification - and
Because withdrawal does not
stop the craving for alcohol, recovery is often difficult to maintain. For a person in an
early stage of alcoholism, withdrawal may bring anxiety and poor sleep.
Withdrawal from long-term
dependence may bring the uncontrollable shaking, spasms, panic, and hallucinations of
delirium tremens (DT). If not treated professionally, people with DT have a mortality rate
of more than 10 percent, so withdrawal from late-stage alcoholism should be attempted only
at an in-patient centre.
Treatment may involve one
or more medications. They must be used with care and supervision, since they may be
addictive and can have serious side effects.
Because an alcoholic
remains susceptible to becoming dependent again, the key to recovery is total abstinence.
Recovery also involves education programs, group therapy, family involvement, and
participation in self-help groups.
Once an alcoholic accepts
his or her condition and stops using alcohol, a number of alternative therapies can assist
the recovery process.
Massage - can help relax
and can aid the stress of withdrawal symptoms
Herbal Remedies and
Nutritional supplements such as the B Complex,
Vitamin C, and a multi-vitamin capsule, beta-carotene and Zinc,
Magnesium and EPO. For withdrawal symptoms for
Various relaxation and
Nutrition and diet - eat
plenty of salads and vegetables, drink fresh juices and avoid fatty foods.
Blood sugar levels may
need stabilising - eliminating certain dietary sugars prove helpful in some cases.
Other ways to help with
To help in learning to live
without the need for alcohol the alcoholic must
Avoid people and places
that make drinking the norm, and find new, non-drinking friends.
Join a self-help group.
Enlist the help of family
Replace your negative
dependence on alcohol with positive dependencies such as a new hobby or volunteer work
with church or civic groups.
Exercise releases chemicals in the brain that provide a "natural high." Even a
walk after dinner can be tranquillising.
Develop a healthy diet of
fresh fruit and vegetables (watching for certain fruits and vegetables which may be high
in sugar) and consume foods high in B and C group vitamins such as wholemeal bread, brown
rice, oats, bananas, citrus fruit, broccoli and parsley.
Drink plenty of filtered
water and be sure to visit a qualified dietician or medical practitioner to obtain a diet
suitable for you
When to seek further
you have any of the
symptoms listed in the description section and are unable to stop drinking on your own.
You need medical intervention to treat alcoholism.
you find your daily
intake of alcohol increasing as you become more tolerant.
you drink regularly and
experience chronic or periodic depression. You may be at risk of suicide.
you have tried to stop
drinking and experienced withdrawal symptoms such as headache, anxiety, insomnia, nausea,
or delirium tremens. You need medical attention by a Doctor or a treatment