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Alcohol addiction

SolutionS Belgium / Addictions / Alcohol addiction

Addiction to alcohol

Alcohol addiction is by far the greatest form of addiction and occurs at all levels of society. Because the substance is broadly accepted in society, the boundary between problem drinking and addiction is difficult to indicate and often the chances of becoming addicted are underestimated. Alcoholism is a creeping illness which, without a drastic change in lifestyle, leads to physical and mental decline and not uncommonly to death.

What is alcohol abuse?

We talk of alcohol abuse when someone consumes more than a normal quantity of alcoholic drinks. A maximum of two to three alcohol consumption’s per day ranges within the normal values but if you drink more in a day or a bigger quantity once a week, you can call it alcohol abuse.

The reasons people give for their alcohol abuse, are very diverse. They range from partying to grief, from stress to boredom, from insecurity to overconfidence. But whatever the reason may be, as soon as you drink more than the normal amounts, you are guilty of alcohol abuse.

Alcohol abuse in higher social circles

SolutionS also treats people with an alcohol problem from the higher social strata. These can be entrepreneurs and people working independently but also people working in the media or lawyers, physicians, accountants, politicians and judges. These are usually people who set high demands on themselves.

In this society ever higher demands are set. The speed with which it becomes necessary to change gear, the deadly competition both inside and outside companies, the economic tensions and the fight at the top often lead to stress and burnout symptoms from which an escape is sought. This escape is often found in alcohol. Although this does not necessarily mean that you are addicted to alcohol.

From alcohol abuse to addiction

When alcohol use shifts over the boundary to abuse, alcohol addiction may be lurking in the background. Alcohol addiction can quickly take full-blown forms and develop in three areas:

Psychologically -> you develop an irresistible need for alcohol
Physically -> you develop an increasing tolerance of alcohol
Socially -> you start to perform differently at work and in leisure time

People with an alcohol addiction increasingly look for people and situations directly involving the intake of alcohol.
Alcohol addiction results in great and harmful consequences for the user in psychological, physical and social areas but also in his or her environment.

Psychological consequences of alcohol addiction

Alcohol needs ten minutes to reach the brain and to numb it. This numbness influences the manner in which nerves pass on signals to each other. The more you drink, the more this signal transfer becomes disturbed. This takes away inhibitions, reduces your concentration and memory and self criticism disappears.

Long-term alcohol use makes you dependant. Your memory stores situations in which you consume alcohol. If you are reminded of these situations, by stimulation but also when looking at photographs, your memory asks for alcohol again. This way an irresistible need is created. There is always a reason to have a drink and once you are drinking you can no longer stop.
Because your self-criticism has disappeared you will almost always deny your alcohol addiction. You believe for a long time that you are in control of your drinking habit even if practice proves otherwise. Fear, depressive moods, burnout symptoms and confusion are symptoms often associated with alcohol addiction.

Physical consequences of alcohol addiction

When you drink a lot of alcohol you develop an increasingly greater tolerance to alcohol. This means you need greater quantities of alcohol in order to become intoxicated. Detoxification symptoms such as nausea, perspiration, bad sleep and an anxious and tense feeling occur increasingly more often when you don’t consume alcohol. In order to get rid of these symptoms, you drink more alcohol and this is how you find yourself: stuck in vicious circle of addiction.

Long-term alcohol abuse causes great physical damage in the vulnerable organs such as the pancreas and the liver. Pancreatitis, cyrrhosis of the liver, hepatitis B and even cancer of the liver are a consequence of this. Cardiac arrhythmia, a heart attack or cerebral infarction, dementia or the Korsakov syndrome often constitute underestimated damage to your heart and brain which can even be fatal.

Social consequences of alcohol addiction

Because of your alcohol addiction you no longer perform as you should. Your alcohol use has been moved from being a side issue to being the main issue in your life. Maintaining this costs time and energy which you no longer can put into your work or social environment. You don’t keep appointments, your appearance is neglected, targets are not reached and your feeling of loneliness is increased because you are busy hiding and denying your addiction. In the end you are pulled down into a downward spiral resulting in a total lack of initiative.

Action plan

At SolutionS both your physical as well as psychological problems will be dealt with. This takes place during admission to one of our rehabilitation clinics. The admission period is experienced as extremely intensive but at the same time also as a period of reflection. Reflection on who you really are, making the causes of your alcohol addiction a subject of discussion and looking for possibilities and opportunities for the future provides relief and thereby improves the quality of your life.

When you leave the clinic SolutionS will immediately begin the after-care programme. An alcohol addiction you built up over many years is not tackled in four weeks. Despite the fact that you will receive all possible tools to build up your life without alcohol, support and actual help during the first period outside the clinic is absolutely necessary. The aim of our after-care with regard to the treatment of your alcohol addiction is for you to be able to lead an independent and balanced life without alcohol.

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