Alcoholism, like other addictions, involves loss of control over alcohol. It is a medical illness and can affect people of all ages and backgrounds. The diagnosis of alcohol dependence involves symptoms of tolerance, withdrawal, and ongoing compulsion to use despite adverse consequences. Alcoholism has a strong heritable component and runs in families. It often takes a terrible toll on marriages, careers, and family life. Despite the ongoing problems of alcoholism, the person continues to drink.
Withdrawal from alcohol can be life-threatening. It can lead to seizures, confusion, and death. This is different from the withdrawal from other drugs, such as heroin. Effective treatment for alcohol withdrawal is best done in a residential, detox, or hospital setting. Skilled nurses are needed to administer the necessary medications to keep the patient safe. If you believe you are struggling with alcohol dependence and having withdrawal, you may need to contact urgent medical care to prevent life-threatening complications.
After a person with alcoholism completes the detox process, he or she will need some ongoing treatment to stay sober. Dr. Fehling works with many patients who have become sober from alcohol. He sometimes prescribes medications designed to improve sobriety. Medications to treat alcoholism decrease the cravings to drink and sometimes lead to consequences if the patient relapses. These medications are not abusable themselves.
Alcoholic’s Anonymous is the primary group therapy organization to help alcoholics get sober. It is the grandfather of all 12-step recovery and involves making many changes in a person’s life to reach the peace of sobriety. It also promotes letting go of resentments, shame, and bad relationships. Many people with alcoholism have found hope and stability through attending AA meetings and working with a sponsor.
If you or a loved one are trying to become sober from alcohol and finding this difficult, you are not alone. Professionals like Dr. Fehling offer the support and resources needed to enter a life of recovery.