" Our lives begin to end when we remain silent about things that matter "
... Dr Martin Luther King
M ental I llness Concerns All carers

 

Alcoholism is defined in two ways.

1.
Generally when the next morning brings withdrawal behaviour - anxiety and exaggerated tremor, settled by an alcohol drink.

The person is addicted - they do not get through every and any day without drinking. If they do not drink, more anxiety returns, than they are prepared to bear .

2.
The alcohol drinking has gone on over so long a time, or in sufficiently large amounts that the body organs, particularly the liver, the heart, eventually the brain, show damage,so that the organs cannot do their work.


What is the 'normal' purpose of alcohol drinking?
Generally it is to allow convivial meeting between people who are not constantly in touch, but who have to come together on occasions.
They may bring with them unresolved tensions and anxieties, and this is a time to set them on one side. <
Anxieties left over from a workday 'need' a settling before easing into home .
Alcohol relieves the carrying over period when people have to establish an agreeable meeting, 'to level with each other'.

All cultures seem to have one generally used substance serving more or less the same 'social' function.
Problems can arise when new cultures immigrate bringing different historically acceptable usages of their cultural substances, which the home country does not historically know about, and therefore the old inhabitants does not know the 'mores' for the usage of the new import - the level of usage, the day by day allowance.

the Home territory inhabitants have long traditional historical 'rules' for the local substance. They may not easily accept or provide standards of behaviour for 'new' 'social' drugs


Cultures use different 'sedatives' and develop different rules of behaviour to govern drinking behaviour or whatever other substance is used
People who work and live in common, are familiar with each other's ways, are usually supportive of each other, and are generally not anxious when together; or they hold back from alcohol for their anxieties because of the sanction against it, in a particular company - when in charge ... on duty ... with responsibilities ahead - family children etc.


People are addicted, when the brain is not able to clear itself from of alcohol in the blood stream and the brain.
The brain adapts to the sedative that is alcohol [ and other sedatives ] by 'pushing up' - upraising its level of 'sensitivity'.

A pr the adaptation required for 'swimming' in alcohol. A test of addictive alcoholism, is if the brain cannot overnight, clear itself of the effect of alcohol.

When it does not do this, the person is anxious in the morning, and the normal tremor is exaggerated with 'jumpiness', till another 'drink' or substitute sedative comes along.

A practical test of the alcholism from chronic drinking, is the test of liver and heart enzyme activities, and the 'queasiness' in eating, perhaps because the stomach lies next to the liver.

Prevention.

Give the brain, enough time free from alcohol [ and its sedative substituting class members; sleeping pills , benzodiazepines-ativan, valium - etc ] so that the brain is able to clear itself by the next morning.

In effect this means leaving, one, two, three days separable in the week when no alcohol is taken: or restricting the amount drunk each day, to a quantity which allows the brain to clear itself of alcohol overnight.

Restricting alcohol consumption to three units and less a day is deemed effective, in doing that.


Some times alcohol starts to be taken to excess as a medicament,
for anxieties which cannot be resolved by distancing that is not available, that have suddenly become worse with some additional worry - a sudden loss of supporting companionship.

In general, depression in alcoholism is not the endogenous kind that responds to medication.

Uncommonly, it is taken to relieve the anxiety coming early in onset of depressive state which needs medical treatment.

Alcolism can be hidden, until enough intake, cannot be sustained, the stomach or the liver, rebel ; an intervening illness, a source of alcohol lost.

Then a sudden withdrawal exposes the physical and mental rebound ' the shakes' ... .... that can go on to paranoia and delirium ... sometimes the physical rebound reaches an epileptic fit, which may drain the brain of what it needs, and leaves permanent damage with loss of memory; a persistent loss of the ability to make new memories.

Treatment consists of segregating the person from alcohol access, prescribing a substitute member of the sedative group which is less harmful to the bodily organs, to avoid delirium, subsquently tapering off the dosage of the preparation.

EEG records show that after alcoholism the brain record is abnormal for a further three months or more, suggesting that the brain will remain sensitive to a desire for alcohol during this time.

Most treatments which succeed, take the addict away from their normal - abnormal - ways for this length of time .

For success during this time an adjustment in life style and lead relationships can be found

A treatment - less used now - is for the addict, after withdrawal is over, to take a substance [ antabuse ] which produces an obnoxious body reaction, if alcohol is taken.

It can be supervised daily, given by a significant person so that there is no undiscovered escape.

That is that I would recommend.the aftercare, Public acknowledgement and the meeting with others recovering, as in alcoholic anonymous fortify the recovery. The chemical dependency is over after around three months, the call to the habit, indefinite.

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" Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history ".... Lincoln.