Alcohol addiction may be by far one of the hardest addictions to overcome. While alcohol addiction often starts out in a way that is very similar to any other addiction it can quickly turn into a complete physical dependency.
Most addiction begins as a way for person to cope with problems and feelings that they would otherwise be too uncomfortable to handle. Drugs, as well as alcohol have a tendency to numb a person’s emotions and make them feel better about situations in their life that otherwise they do not feel good about. Unfortunately, for the addict or alcoholic, the solution is only temporary and it is not long before the person is using more and more alcohol or drugs to find the feelings of relief that they are looking for.
When a person begins to over consume alcohol, as well as many other drugs, it begins to take a toll on their body. Alcohol, when consumed to the point of excess on a regular basis, is very damaging to many organs in the body. It can cause especially severe damage to the liver as well is the brain; however it has the potential to cause severe damage to many other organs as well.
Alcoholic Liver Disease
Many alcoholics suffer from what is known as alcoholic liver disease. There are three stages to alcoholic liver disease; with only one of them being fatal. When alcoholics drink to excess it is not uncommon for them to develop the first and second stage alcoholic liver disease. Only about 20% of alcoholics will develop the third and fatal stage of alcoholic liver disease. The first stage of alcoholic liver disease is what is known as a fatty liver. The only treatment that is necessary to reverse the damage done a this point to the body is to quit drinking. The second stage of alcoholic liver disease is what is known is alcohol induced hepatitis. Alcohol induced hepatitis is not in any way related to hepatitis caused by a viral infection. Hepatitis literally translates into inflammation of the liver which is caused by the overconsumption of alcohol. Again the only treatment that is needed to reverse alcohol induced hepatitis is for the person who is suffering from it to quit drinking alcohol.
The last and deadly stage of alcohol liver disease is when the hepatitis begins to create scar tissue on a person’s liver which leads to cirrhosis. Once the scar tissue begins to develop there is no effective treatment at this point for person except for a complete liver transplant. There are two different methods of liver transplantation. Most people who receive liver transplants are on a waiting list and wait for an eligible donor to die at which point the cadaver liver is taken from the recently deceased and put in to the body of the live person needing a liver transplant. There is a very long waiting list for this procedure and many people die before they ever get the treatment that they need to survive.
However, in recent years it has become possible to actually take a portion of a live donors liver and put into the donee’s body with both people surviving. Because the liver is the most regenerative organ in the body, a new complete liver will grow from the piece of liver that is taken from the live donor in the person’s body receiving the liver and the person who donated a portion of their liver should have complete restoration of their liver as well. This procedure is extremely expensive in the United States; however there are many places in India where this operation is performed successfully all the time that have a much lower cost. Some doctors to feel there is an ethical dilemma with this procedure because the person who is donating a part of their liver has no need of an operation and so harm is done to the person with no benefit for their body.
Alcohol Withdrawal is No Laughing Matter
According to some research, those people who suffer from alcohol induced liver disease are also more likely to suffer from withdrawal when they try to quit drinking. Alcohol withdrawal is by far one of the most dangerous withdrawals that a person can go through. It usually last from about 3 to 7 days; with some symptoms persisting for a few months. When a person is suffering from alcohol withdrawal they can encounter the following symptoms:
· increased heart rate
· increased blood pressure
· increased risk of stroke
· increased risk of heart attack
· Tremors; these include shaky hands and other extremities
· visual and auditory hallucinations
· cold and hot flashes
· irritability and nervousness
· general feeling of malaise
· heart attack
When a person decides that they would like to quit drinking it is highly recommended that they do so under the supervision of a licensed physician. If a person is at high risk for suffering from delirium tremens, they most often are prescribed a benzodiazepine such as Ativan or Librium. Benzodiazepines affect the brain in the same way that alcohol does and they have been found to be very effective in preventing DTs in patients suffering from acohol addiction. Usually a B complex vitamin is also recommended as well as supplementation for magnesium. This is because many alcoholics suffer from deficiencies with these particular vitamins and minerals. B-1 deficiency can be extremely dangerous especially to a person’s brain and can cause long-term brain damage if not treated promptly.
Once a person is through their alcohol withdrawal it is recommended that they go through long-term alcohol addiction cognitive therapy. About seventy-six percent of the people who graduate the Narconon program experience ongoing success with their effort to remain sober. Narconon is a long term individualized self-cognitive treatment program with a seventy-six percent success rate. If you or a loved one need help recovering from alcohol addiction, please feel free to call Narconon of Georgia today. Counselors are always available to take your calls and answer any questions you may have.