Here is how to end that alcohol addiction

The state of physical and mental dependence on alcohol is addiction. It is a condition where one cannot live without alcohol. Here, one wants to give up alcohol but is unable to do so.

The state of physical and mental dependence on alcohol is addiction. It is a condition where one cannot live without alcohol. Here, one wants to give up alcohol but is unable to do so.

The amount of alcohol consumed to produce alcoholism is variable depending on type and amount of alcohol taken, physical and mental built of the person, nutritional status and genetic factors. In general women and children are more prone to develop addiction as compared to men.

Because of the physical and mental  dependence, body craves for alcohol if one does not drink it. Withdrawal symptoms like depression, agitation, tremors of hands, insomnia, etc,  develop when not drinking for more than 12 hours or so. If the withdrawal symptoms are mild, affected person can ignore them. If they suffer much, hospitalization for surveillance is needed.

Some people advocate reducing intake of alcohol gradually and then stopping it totally. But this does not serve the purpose. A good nutritious  diet is must for the ex-alcoholic as he is deprived of essential nutrients due to chronic alcohol intake.

Extensive counselling is needed for both the individual and his family. The person should be told about the deleterious effects of alcohol on the mind and body. They should be told to stay away from the bottle. When one has a craving to drink, he can take some snacks or fruit juice at that moment. Getting out to take a breath of fresh air or some creative activity done will  distract the mind from the craving. If  done regularly, the desire to drink will reduce gradually.

Family of the alcoholic should avoild damnation or criticism. With criticism, an alcohol he is likely to revert back to the bottle. The alcoholic should be given all the time and company they need. They also need observation because extreme depression and suicidal tendencies can occur after quitting alcohol and may lead to suicide.

For some days after quitting alcohol, the person is given sedatives and tranquilisers to overcome the physical problems due to withdrawal.

Regular physical exercise helps to keep the body and mind healthy and joyful. Yogic breathing exercises are useful in reducing the craving for alcohol and thus help in reducing addiction.

If in spite of all these measures one finds it difficult to quit, institutional help can be taken. Such institutions use   drugs like disulphiram, popularly known as antabuse. When one takes this drug before alcohol, unpleasant reactions are produced in the body. These reactions gradually induce the person to abandon drinking. These drugs should be used only under medical supervision.

Giving up alcohol is not difficult. The one major thing needed is determination of the alcoholic and support provided by family and medical professionals.

Dr Pande is a specialist in internal medicine at Ruhengeri Hospital

Subscribe to The New Times E-Paper


You want to chat directly with us? Send us a message on WhatsApp at +250 788 310 999    

 

Follow The New Times on Google News