Alcohol addiction is a menace with losses being incurred both at the personal front and also at the societal level. Violence, poor family life, poor personal achievements, risks of diseases like heart attack, blood pressure, stroke, accidents, injuries and poor liver functions are some of the ill effects of alcohol dependence.
The problem in controlling this menace is not communicating the ills of drinking. Developed nations like United States and European countries have aware citizens who very well understand the wrong alcohol is doing to them, their family and to the society at large. On the other hand, good de-addiction programmes are not made familiar to the patients of addiction and their caregivers. Mere doses of medications like disulfiram and valproate may not bring the patient out of the problem on account of temporary de-addiction, tolerance and many other factors specific to the patient and his physiology.
In order to ensure de-addiction much more is required from the patient himself and his caregivers than administering a medication. In fact in the absence of personal and mental factors discussed below the efficacy of any medication would be minimum. Hence any de addiction plan would stress more on psychological factors than others. These are enumerated below:
1. Caregivers need to be empathetic : The right balance of patience and empathy are a pre requisite so that your near and dear one can come out of the problem of alcohol addiction. This miracle cant happen in a day or a month, it might take anytime from months together to years together to come out of the problem depending upon the extent of addiction. However, being too soft and gentle also would not help as it may cause indiscipline in adhering to the de addiction module. Hence persistence, caring, empathy and patience along with awareness can help you and the patient too.
2. Have a day’s plan for the patient : “Rome was not built in a day”. Hence, there is no use of planning and committing to self that he would not drink for the lifetime initially. Hence, it is best to remain practical and ascertain short term goals rather than striving to achieve far fetched long term goals. It is wiser for the patient to believe in himself and develop self confidence slowly rather than expecting him to turn around suddenly thereby causing severe withdrawal symptoms. Also, it would be a lot more easier for the patient to abstain from alcohol for a few hours to maximum of a day initially and this abstinence would boost his self confidence towards de addiction.
3. Try diverting the mind : The patient would get episodes of craving when it would really test his self control. These episodes could be due to sudden losses of alcohol in blood, relatively free mind or just a stimulus including the sight of the bottle. All these need to be carefully handled by diverting the mind to some productive activity or even a walk outside in fresh air.
4. Nourishing diet : For all alcohol takers, alcohol provides many calories and this in turn makes them return to the drink when the energy level goes down. Hence it is very important to take a well balanced well nourished diet so that the cravings can be reduced. A full stomach would not crave as much for alcohol as an empty stomach would.
5. A chocolate or perhaps an ice cream could satiate the urge to take in alcohol during each craving.
6. Change your group of friends and if possible try to make new friends who have something else in common with you rather than drinking. Friends are not made in a day but a beginning has to be made. De-addiction societies can help you find people like you who want to come out of the drinking habit and this might boost your will power.
7. Avoid mood changing drugs : Drugs in form of benodiazepines or hypnotics and depressants would offer only a temporary relief , what is more impotant is will power and psychology to come out of the problem. However, if it helps you can pop up a pill occasionally to come out of cravings.
8. Stop associating happiness with drinking and consider watching a movie and spending time with friends and family as alternatives.
9. If someone offers you a drink, be clear about saying NO thanks in a clear confident voice rather than being apologetic. The effort could be enormous, but it is well paying.
Cheers to Good Health !