Do you know someone who is suffering from alcoholism? You want to help, but you probably have many questions about the condition. In honor of Alcohol Awareness Month, we will address some of the most common questions you may have about alcoholism.
Here are four questions about the disorder:
"A person can become an alcoholic for a number of reasons."
1. Many people drink, so why is my friend suffering from alcoholism?
A person can become an alcoholic for a number of reasons. Often genetics and social factors play a role. Someone may have turned to alcohol for example, to cope with depression, which, in turn, may have been caused by a traumatic or painful event in his or her life. A person may also drink to suppress anxiety or improve low self-esteem. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, some scientific studies have linked the disease to genetics. While they may play a role, they are not the sole reason why someone becomes an alcoholic.
2. Can alcoholics just manage their alcohol intake instead of stopping?
Once a person becomes addicted to alcohol, they should never drink it again. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which cited a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, , 40 to 60 percent of alcohol addicts relapse. When someone is being treated for alcoholism, professionals look to change bad habits (this is part of Fairwinds Treatment Center's dual diagnosis procedure). However, treating bad habits doesn't mean they'll disappear post-treatment. Instead, these habits are suppressed so the addict can more easily manage them. Once they begin to drink again, habits often resurface.
3. My friend drinks excessively. Is he an alcoholic?
According to a study published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease, , a person may not be an alcoholic even if he or she drinks a lot. Researchers looked to "update prior estimates of the prevalence of alcohol dependence among US adult drinkers." To conduct the study, researchers analyzed past data of drinking patterns of 138,100 adults who completed the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Specifically, researchers looked at trends according to sociodemographic characteristics and alcohol dependence. They concluded that "most excessive drinkers (90 percent) did not meet the criteria for alcohol dependence."
Of course, this research doesn't mean your friend is not addicted to alcohol. The study simply indicates that, just because a person can and does drink a lot, he or she is not necessarily an alcoholic. If you think your friend is suffering from alcoholism, talk to Fairwinds Treatment Center.
4. Can my friend can control their addiction themselves?
Self-medicating is an extremely dangerous strategy, and one that any professional would immediately denounce. Addicts don't just suffer from the physical effects of alcoholism. They also have to deal with the emotional scars that caused them to turn to alcohol in the first place. In order for them to start walking the path of recovery, addicts need to understand why they began abusing alcohol. This is often very difficult to do without an outside party.
Along with better understanding the disorder, it's important for loved ones to know who to turn to for professional help. Talk to Fairwinds Treatment Center of Clearwater, Florida. Fairwinds has over 25 years of experience in diagnosing and treating alcohol-related problems. Under the leadership of Dr. M.K (Khal) El-Yousef, Fairwinds has grown into one of the country's leading centers in using dual diagnosis as a technique to treat individuals with addictive behaviors.