Alcoholism is one of the most difficult diseases to recognize and treat because addicts often rationalize their behavior. It's easy to see why their excuses are prevalent when we consider alcohol is one of the most easily accessible and widely used substances in the U.S. Reportedly 17.6 million Americans abuse alcohol and several million more binge drink yearly.
Treating the disease not only requires using a combination of psychiatric and clinical treatments, but also understanding what alcoholism is and is not and what addicts should and shouldn't do when trying to heal. In part one of our two-part series, we examine three myths about alcoholism, which will help a friend or family member better help an addict.
1. An addict must hit "rock bottom" to heal
While many alcoholics hit "rock bottom" before they seek help, they can still recover without falling that low. In fact, it's encouraged they seek treatment prior to this happening because of the tremendous health risks involved with waiting. One of those dangers includes the possibility of developing Wernicke's Encephalopathy, which is a disorder that leads to confusion, a loss of muscle coordination and short-term memory loss, as well as other symptoms. If left untreated, an alcoholic may also experience cirrhosis of the liver, which is the final stage of alcoholic liver disease.
2. An alcoholic is strong enough to combat the disease alone
In order for an alcoholic to overcome his or her addiction, they must first understand their situation and embrace treatment. However, after doing so, they often need assistance from loved ones to ensure they are properly treated and don't relapse.
Proper alcohol treatment centers such as Fairwinds Treatment Center can help an addict, their family and friends understand the root cause of the addiction as well as suggest clinical treatments. While there are sufferers who are able to stop drinking by going cold turkey, they are often the exception to the rule.
3. An addict has a job and social life. Therefore, they're not an alcoholic
Alcoholism is an addictive process that controls an individual even if they believe they are free from its influence. It has a tendency to suppress the person's true self while the disease continuously and furtively feeds through gratifying, negative behaviors. After suppressing the addict's self, he or she naturally make excuses as to why they don't need to seek treatment. In this case, the excuse is their seemingly well-structured and active professional and social lives. However, what the addict fails to understand is how their destructive habits will only further deteriorate their world as time progresses.
Fairwinds Treatment Center, under the leadership of Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef, specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of alcoholism. Using a Dual Diagnosis approach to treatment, El-Yousef and his staff of full-time psychiatrists, nursing professionals and licensed therapists work to first diagnosis the reason behind a person's addiction. Upon understanding the cause, they then treat the disease and its symptoms.
Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef, a leader and pioneer in the field of dual diagnosis and psychiatry, founded Fairwinds Treatment Center in 1989 to treat a range of behaviors from alcohol and drug addiction to eating disorders. Upon opening, it was one of the only centers in the country to recognize the importance of the Dual Diagnosis technique.