Millions of people worldwide suffer from alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder (AUD), which is a complicated and diverse illness. While some people might see drinking too much as a personal shortcoming or a lack of self-control, it is crucial to understand that alcoholism is largely viewed as a chronic condition.1 This classification is not only a matter of opinion. Rather, it is based on scientific knowledge and is backed by extensive study as well as clinical proof. Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches examines the biological, psychological, and social elements of this disorder and answers the question, “Why is alcoholism considered a chronic condition.”
Why Is Alcoholism a Chronic Disease?
Alcoholism is a chronic disease because it has distinct characteristics and a progressive nature that sets it apart from simple excessive alcohol consumption. The biological characteristics of alcoholism are a major factor in its classification as a chronic disease.
Heavy and prolonged alcohol use modifies the structure and function of the brain, resulting in profound adjustments to neurotransmitter levels and patterns. The hallmark characteristics of alcoholism, tolerance, dependence, and cravings are influenced by these neurological changes.
Additionally, alcoholism has a protracted course that frequently includes phases of remission and relapse. Due to alcohol’s lingering effects on the brain and addiction’s stronghold, those who become sober nevertheless face a high risk of relapsing. This chronicity emphasizes the need for continuing care, monitoring, and assistance to help people effectively manage their condition.
The psychological effects of drinking are another aspect that supports the diagnosis of chronic disease. Mental health illnesses like anxiety, sadness, and personality disorders frequently coexist with alcohol use disorders. These comorbid conditions can make the disease more difficult to treat and add to its chronic nature. Additionally, major social and vocational disabilities, strained relationships, and legal problems can result from alcoholism, further contributing to its chronic nature.
According to the chronic disease model of alcoholism, AUD is not caused by moral laziness or a lack of willpower. Instead, it highlights the intricate interaction of genetic, environmental, and psychosocial factors in the onset and spread of illness. Understanding this helps people shift the emphasis from blame and shame to compassionate understanding that motivates people to get assistance and receive the right kind of care.
The Process of Healing From Alcohol Abuse
Understanding why alcoholism is considered a chronic disease is only one small step in the journey of fully addressing this problem. It is not a process that should be attempted on one’s own, as there are many physical health risks that can occur in these cases. Still, the first and most crucial step that a person can take is to acknowledge and accept that a problem is present.
Once a person admits they have a problem, they can take several approaches to recovery, including:
- Detoxification: Medical detoxification may be required for people with severe alcoholism. This procedure entails supervised alcohol withdrawal, frequently in a hospital environment, to control any potential withdrawal symptoms and guarantee the person’s safety. Detoxification is a crucial step to help the body rid itself of alcohol and start the healing process.
- Rehabilitation: After detoxification, both rehabilitation and treatment programs are frequently advised to address the root reasons for alcohol dependence and create healthy coping mechanisms. Programs for rehabilitation that are either inpatient or outpatient offer regulated settings where people can receive therapy and counseling while learning how to keep their sobriety.
- Therapy and Counseling: In order to treat the psychological and emotional aspects of abusing alcohol, therapy is essential. Individual therapy sessions can assist patients in examining underlying problems, traumatic experiences, and possible triggers for their alcohol misuse. Evidence-based therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing, and others are frequently employed to create healthy thought patterns, habits, and coping mechanisms.
- Building a support system: The development of a solid support network is crucial for sustained healing. This may entail connecting with loved ones who understand and support the sobriety path and support groups. Support groups, such as AA meetings or other peer-led gatherings, offer a secure setting for exchanging stories, delivering words of support, and upholding accountability.
- Relapse prevention: Alcohol abuse recovery is a lifelong process. Maintaining your commitment to being sober and working on relapse prevention techniques is essential. This includes continuing counseling, going to support group gatherings, and actively taking part in aftercare initiatives. A key component of avoiding relapse is cultivating good coping skills and being aware of potential triggers.
Access These Services and More at BHOPB
For those looking for alcohol addiction treatment in Lake Worth, Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches is here to be that beacon of hope. Additionally, our BHOPB detox program for alcohol will ensure that you or your loved one that is struggling can navigate withdrawal safely and effectively.
There is so much more to life than worrying about the next drink. Let our team of professionals help you discover this for yourself.