So, is Alcoholism a Disease or not?
Alcoholism is a disease according to many treatment professionals. It can be treated using the disease model of treatment, which redesigns the process as if the patient is treated for a disease. It can be effective in treating people with several previous attempts at stopping alcohol abuse. This article is a closer look at answering the question, “is alcoholism a disease?”
What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism is a condition where a person’s body becomes addicted to alcohol. The body changes on a biological level to require alcohol to function. When that person stops drinking or all of the alcohol leaves the body, they experience withdrawal.
Alcoholism is an old addiction problem that has been around for thousands of years. However, the understanding of it has evolved in the last 100 years. Some experts now see it as a disease rather than a disorder or condition. This is important because it changes the way that it is treated.
A disease is a condition that affects the way the human body works. In this case, the body changes to require alcohol. Diseases must be treated in a way that changes how the body functions so that alcohol is no longer needed. This process can involve a wide variety of treatment options, including the use of medications.
Why is Alcoholism a Disease?
Alcoholism is a disease because it is an abnormal biological need. It can only be treated by changing the way the body functions so that it no longer needs alcohol to function.
This is somewhat difficult, because it requires the patient to make major changes in their behavior and may require medical intervention. But when it is treated using the disease model of treatment, it is easier for patients to make these changes.
Is Alcoholism a Choice?
Alcoholism is not a choice, although certain risky choices can lead to alcoholism. No one chooses to be an alcoholic. It is a disease that develops after repeated exposure to alcohol.
People struggling with alcohol addiction can make choices that improve or hurt their situation. They can choose to seek help and follow a program. With help, they can choose to avoid alcohol and other triggers that lead to drinking. However, they cannot choose to not be addicted to alcohol. It takes time and treatment to overcome the addiction and to maintain a sober lifestyle afterward.
Can I Quit Cold Turkey?
Quitting cold turkey is not a good idea when it comes to alcohol addiction treatment. The reason is that this method relies entirely on willpower, which will run out. A treatment program offers better outcomes because it provides the education and tools needed to maintain recovery. You can make the choice to quit alcohol, but should seek treatment as a means of doing it.
The Disease Model of Addiction Treatment
The disease model of addiction treatment focuses on patients changing their behavior with help from medical treatments. Essentially, previous behavior led to the development of alcoholism, and changing behavior is necessary as a part of the treatment.
In the disease model of treatment, patients learn how to overcome the disease and regain control of their body functions. It also helps them to learn that they have a condition that can be managed with state-of-the-art medical therapy. This allows them to have a better life than before.
Alcoholism Disease Treatment Methods
There are several ways to treat alcoholism. The most prominent treatment method is Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) supported by medication. It helps patients manage their behaviors so that they are not led to relapse.
Other methods that are used include 12-step programs and therapy. Both of these methods help to eliminate the triggers associated with alcohol addiction. These provide a platform for education and willpower needed in order to abstain from alcohol use.
Alcoholism cannot be cured although it can be treated. Someone who develops the disease will not be able to get rid of it entirely. They are already sensitive to the influences that led to addiction. Rather, treatment tries to minimize the symptoms so that people can live a more normal life.
The symptoms of alcoholism can be treated, minimized, and removed with proper treatment. Although the symptoms are not as prominent, anyone struggling with addiction can still be influenced. This is why it is important to have an ongoing treatment plan.
Many people live for years without a problem provided that they have support and the right coping skills. People that learn to live with alcoholism learn to avoid or control what triggers the need to drink. Once under control, people can live normally as long as they adhere to a plan to limit alcohol consumption.
It is possible to overcome alcoholism with the right help. A high-quality treatment program can provide the resources and support needed to start your recovery. To learn more about alcoholism and treatment options, contact the Harmony Health Group to discuss your options.