Too often, people view recovery from substance abuse as one large category. In reality, recovery from different types of addictions differs substantially. One of the most difficult substances to detox and recover from is alcohol; alcohol operates differently than all other substances that are commonly abused, and its recovery entails specialized care. Here is a brief overview of the nature of alcohol addiction and why it differs from other forms of addiction.
Why Makes Alcohol Different?
Most drugs are considered psychoactive substances. They have a measurable effect on certain parts of the brain, and these effects manifest in the high that drug users experience. Alcohol, on the other hand, has a generalized, systemic effect on the body. Instead of targeting specific receptors, it instead affects all systems of the body. These effects lead to a generalize sluggishness, and some people find the sedative effect to be comforting. Alcohol also affects motor skills and judgment more profoundly than almost any other substance.
Why is Alcohol Addictive?
Is not immediately clear why some people seem prone to alcohol addiction, but those who do become addicted face one of the most difficult addictions to fight. Increasingly, researchers are finding that genetics plays a profound role in the development of alcohol addiction. Some speculate that some people metabolize alcohol into opiates, which can further increase the strength of the addiction. However, it should be noted that even those who have no family connection to alcoholism can become addicted, and psychological addiction can be especially strong.
What is Professional Detox?
Detoxing from any substance can be challenging, but detoxing from alcohol is especially dangerous. In fact, alcohol detox is so severe that it has its own medical name: delirium tremens. Unlike detoxing from other substances, delirium tremens can result in death in severe cases, which is part of why alcohol addiction is so difficult to treat. With help from professionals, however, it is possible to detox from alcohol safely.
How Does Rehab Help?
One of the difficulties that arise in fighting alcohol addiction stems from the fact that alcohol is so easy to find. Alcohol is one of the few addictive substances that requires no prescription purchase, and it is easy to obtain. Rehab helps addicts find ways to fight their temptation, and the techniques taught in rehab arm patients with the tools they need to successfully fight the urge to drink for the long term. In addition, rehab helps addicts find the underlying causes of their addiction. If depression, for example, leads to alcoholism, the beginning of treatment will commence in rehab. Upon finding relief for underlying causes, most people are better equipped to fight their addictions.
Is Long-Term Rehab Possible?
One of the most pervasive myths about alcohol addiction is that it never ends. While it is true that former addicts will need to use techniques to deal with urges to drink, all agree that these urges are easier to fight over time. While it may take years, former addicts will be able to live normal lives without thinking about alcohol on a daily basis. Although it may seem difficult for those in the throes of addiction, like after beating addiction is far superior to life while being an addict, and all who are addicted are encouraged to begin the route to recovery.
Alcohol addiction is pervasive, and those who have become addicted may struggle along the way. While the road may seem difficult and fraught with pain, those who have successfully fought alcohol addiction agree that life improves substantially once the addiction has been vanquished. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, seek out professional help as quickly as possible.