According to an opinion shared by some scientists and members of the public, the rapidly increasing alcohol abuse is a nationwide calamity. Statistics show that a steady increase in the use of alcoholic beverages has exceeded population growth over the last one hundred years.
As by official statistics, Russia has about 7 million alcoholics. Experts indicate that real national totals are a lot higher. Each Russian drinks 27 liters of alcohol (the number includes both legal and counterfeit alcohol) per year. The statistical average is based on every group of the population, the newborn, elderly and abstainers inclusive. The WHO estimates stress the point that a nation is likely to die out if its citizens drink an average of 8 liters of alcohol per year.
Myth No 1: it is never too late to pull the plug on alcohol addiction
Too true, most people believe they can put an end to their drinking problems at any time. In actuality, the task is next to impossible. The human body produces a few milligrams of alcohol, which plays a role in certain vital activities. However, the body of a habitual drinker stops producing alcohol altogether.
The patient at a late stage of alcoholism normally feels nausea because he “hasn’t had enough”; his desire to vomit is not caused by “too much of a drink.” The patient becomes affected by withdrawal symptoms including tremor, anxiety and hallucinations. He feels an irresistible urge to “take a hair of the dog that bit one.” Feeling better after a shot or two means the patient is in trouble. He is psychologically and physiologically dependent on alcohol, the craving for a drink may gradually replace any other interests, and the person will end up in a state of total degradation as a result. The recovery process will be enormously difficult.
The early warning signs are as follows: recreational drinking on a regular basis, three times a week or more, “just a few drops to cheer up and improve digestion”; a lack of self-control, mental and physical fatigue; a small amount of alcohol taken as a medication to relieve nervousness and anxiety. One should seek professional medical help if any of the above take place.
Myth No 2: self-cure can beat alcoholism
Specialists advise categorically against curing much less severe conditions e.g. a common cold without a doctor’s supervision. Needless to say, the same advice goes for such a grave and unpredictable disease as alcoholism. First, patients differ in terms of their medical records, and therefore a certain kind of therapy can be effective in one case and completely useless or simple inapplicable in another. Second, some food supplements or homeopathic drugs may cause acute allergic side effects resulting in most dire consequences including death.
Medications in a treatment program must be handpicked only by certified medical staff on the basis of the results of tests, examinations, and counseling with psychologists. Alcohol-abuse specialists can establish a specific treatment plan and advise on family therapy because family support can be an important part of the recovery process. In fact, involving the loved ones in the recovery process may increase the chances of successful recovery.
Myth No 3: psychological pressure put by the loved ones can help treatment
According to practicing physicians, the loved ones of an alcoholic fall under two behavioral patters. The first one involves blackmail e.g. if you keep drinking I’ll leave you, I’ll throw you out of my house, I’ll slit my wrests, and so on and so forth. The second pattern centers on an admonition and reproach technique aiming to make an alcoholic ashamed of his ways e.g. look what you’ve done to yourself …you just don’t give a damn about me or our children etc. By and large, both patterns rarely work as a means of keeping an alcoholic off the bottle.
In most cases the methods have an opposite effect on the patient who starts to suffer from severe depression due to remorse and a sense of guilt. As a result, he takes to drink as the only “way out” of his deplorable situation. You had better seek counseling and professional advice on psychological support if you believe that a member of your family is alcohol dependent in case you do care for such a person.
Myth No 4: aversion therapy can work wonders
Aversion therapy involves the use of special medications which induce a strong aversive response once alcohol gets into the blood of the patient. The response ranges from nausea to vomiting to coma depending on a number of individual factors. The therapy is based on a fear of pain and death. Prior to taking a potentially lethal drug or shot administered by his doctor, a patient is supposed to fill in a special form to hold the doctor harmless in case of a relapse that may end in death.