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Time to treat alcohol related problems like a mental health problem

A lot of people view alcohol dependence as a moral failing when in fact, it is a mental disorder. Unfortunately, alcohol dependence, if left untreated, may have devastating implications. Despite being a global concern, people with different alcohol-related problems are still wary of seeking proper treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD).

In a recent study by the Washington University School of Medicine, researchers reported lack of treatment-seeking behavior among a vast majority of people with AUD. The study suggested that only one in 10 persons who saw their doctors regularly for a range of issues, ever received treatment to overcome their alcohol dependence.

Further, doctors who did not refer or advise their patients to undergo treatment were also held responsible for lack of continuing treatment among these patients.

As stated by senior author Laura Jean Bierut, MD, “Some primary care doctors may not feel comfortable telling patients they should cut down on drinking, prescribing medication to help them cut back or referring them to treatment because they don’t specialize in treating alcohol misuse; but the result is that many people who need treatment aren’t getting it.”

Understanding AUD

AUD is a condition in which an individual, despite facing serious problems in life, including physical, mental and social, continues to consume alcohol. It is a stage when a person needs more and more alcohol to feel ‘high’. Sudden abstinence from alcohol in AUD patients may lead to immediate withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety or nervousness, mood swings, fatigue, irritability, nightmares, tremors, and the inability to think clearly. Other symptoms often observed in AUD patients may include sweating, clammy skin, insomnia, headache, enlarged (dilated) pupils, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, rapid heart rate and tremoring in hands or other body parts.

No clear cause of AUD is known; however, experts believe that a combination of genetic, environment and psychological factors may contribute to AUD. Moreover, consuming alcohol in excess amounts may also increase the risk of AUD. Being a young adult with peer pressure, easy access to alcohol, low self-esteem, troubled relationships, stressful lifestyle or mental health disorders such as bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, depression and schizophrenia may also increase one’s likelihood of developing AUD.

Treatment of AUD

The treatment for AUD involves controlling withdrawal symptoms, preventing complications related to alcohol use, managing cravings and triggers and maintaining abstinence from alcohol.

At Athena, our therapists generally begin a de-addiction program with detoxification or detox to manage withdrawal symptoms. Detoxification, a process of weaning a person from a psychoactive substance, is a safe and effective way to decrease one’s dependence on a substance. A detox is an effective strategy to help control withdrawal symptoms, prevent further complications, prepare the body and the mind for further treatment and abstinence, and rid the body of toxins accumulated with years of use.

After detox, our therapists curate customized treatment plans that include goal setting, identifying behavior change techniques, and counseling. The medical team also decides if the patient needs medicine management. After treatment, the main target of the doctor and the patient is to work towards maintaining abstinence from alcohol. This needs efforts from both the doctor and the patient. Aftercare programs and support groups are effective ways to help patients recover from AUD, stop drinking, manage relapses and triggers and transition back into social life.

Athena Among Best Treatment Centres in India

Athena is a reputed de-addiction centre in Gurgaon, India offering effective treatment interventions to help people overcome alcohol addiction. We administer evidence-based personalized treatment programs that suit the patient’s needs and requirements. To know more about our treatment plans for alcohol related problems, call our 24/7/365 helpline 9289086193. Alternatively, you can also chat online or WhatsApp our representative for an immediate response.