Alcoholism is a very treatable illness.
This has been confirmed by a study by the US National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, which showed that majority of patients who attend government-supported treatment services recover.
The most common and usual treatment of alcoholic people is the psychological one.
The ways this can be provided are quite varied. Psychiatrists use psychotherapy, one form of psychological treatment.
The therapist and patient examine crucial emotional issues that affect the patient's view of the world, his responses, and behavior.
It is an emotional experience that is hoped to lead to individual growth and the development of different ways of responding.
Psychological treatment can be provided either individually or in a group setting. There is no uniform opinion as to which type is most effective.
Therapy and drugs
Some people need what is known as aversion therapy. Aversion therapy is accomplished by giving the person some medicine that causes nausea and vomiting. This medicine is given at about the same time the person takes his favorite alcoholic drink so that an association of alcohol and sickness is created in the patient's mind.
The person takes the alcohol and shortly after receives an injection of the vomit-producing medicine.
These sessions are repeated every other day until a total of four to six are completed. Every six months, a repeat treatment is administered. Electroshock techniques are also sometimes used in aversion therapy.
Another important form of treatment involves the use of the drug Antabuse, which was developed in Denmark in 1948. Antabuse causes an abnormal physiological reaction to alcohol.
If a person taking Antabuse takes alcohol, he or she will, a few minutes later, feel a rush of heat, turn lobster red, feel a tightening in the neck, begin to cough and develop difficulty in breathing. Thirty minutes later, the person becomes nauseated, pale and scared, and begins to vomit.
The effect usually ends with the person falling into a deep sleep. All people find this experience frightening and uncomfortable. The major drawback of Antabuse is that is must be taken every day to be effective. Most doctors find it helpful in combination with other forms of treatment.
All people who treat alcoholics know that how you behave toward the alcoholic person at the first meeting is most important. The therapist has to reach out actively and be supportive because people with alcohol problems are depressed and expect to be rejected. Once the initial distrust of the patient toward helpers, society, and themselves is removed, treatment can be carried out.
One form of psychologic-spiritual help to alcoholic people is the great self-help organization called Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). This loosely organized voluntary fellowship is well-known worldwide.
Its goal is sobriety achieved with help provided by the fellowship of fellow sufferers. Beyond its life-saving aid to thousands of alcoholic people, its great impact has been to point out to non-interested professionals that alcoholic persons can be helped.
AA waged a battle and created interest while others hid behind attitudes of moralism and pessimism toward alcoholism and its effects. AA supplies comradeship: all members suffer the same disturbance. AA encourages self-examination and confession. It encourages dependency, since members take others under their wing and create a group identity.
There are other forms of treatment. There is behavior modification treatment, which is related to aversion therapy. There are also hypnotism, transcendental meditation, multivitamin therapy, lithium therapy, and so on.
All of these programs, with their special target thrust, depend on an approach tailored to the needs of the individual.
Using the Power of Your Mind to Heal Your Self
There are not few literatures, which prove that mans thoughts have major influence on his health condition. John Wayne Schlatter proudly announces to the whole world that his Dad who was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 69, and said to have only six months to one year left at the most to live, continued to live until the age of 86. For 17 years, Johns Dad dictated to his body how to behave. Whats the motivation behind it? Love.
Johns Dad said, Sorry to disagree with you, Doc. But I'll tell you how long I have to live. One day longer than my wife. I love her too much to leave the planet without her. Even the doctors and nurses at the Department of Veterans' Affairs Medical Center at Long Beach could not decipher how a cancer stricken body could continue to function just as right. Johns Mom died at 85 while his Dad died one year later at 86.
The thought is so powerful that the life of a cancer patient can be extended from six months to as long as 17 years. We just have to know how to direct the vigor of our brain to the parts of our body that need it best. How then can we use the power of our minds to heal our illnesses?
First, think of those you love. Despite of the pain and sufferings, a cancer patient was able to live for another 17 years because of his love for his wife. Now, think of the people you love. Even if they are not the ones who are sick, they share your miseries. Their hearts ache with every ache that your body feels. They will be hurt so much to see you crying. They want you to stay. Will you disappoint them?
Second, think of the things that you have to accomplish. Do your love ones depend on your help? Do you have children that you must send to school? Is your wife unemployed? Are you already contented with the kind of life that you have? You can be a successful businessperson, right?
The world is waiting for you to share the talents and skills that you have. How were the ravishing spots in your place? How was the sunset? Have you tried to build a sandcastle? Isnt it wonderful to have picnic at the beach? Lets go to a party and dance. There are many things that have to be done. Get well, cheer up, and move your body.
Third, eat healthy foods, drink lots of water and fruit juices, and do your exercise. You must get well soon. You must make your body strong enough so that you can kiss and hug your love ones. You must have energy to do the things that you want to do. Fruits and vegetables are delicious; water and fruit juices are refreshing. Move those lazy muscles of yours. It feels nice to sweat the good sweat.
Fourth, smile and forget your illnesses. Sickness, like fire, does not only devour ones physical energy, but as well as his material resources and sense of being. Most ailing people lose their hopes and think of nothing but their state of health. They got so depressed and in almost every remaining day of their lives, they cry for death to come. They want to die because they want to end the physical pain and the emotional suffering that they are going through. However, one must not lose hope.
Smile, even when we feel the pain. When we smile, the whole world smiles back at us. The atmosphere becomes lighter and our pain diminishes. Smile is more effective than morphine because it has a double-acting formula that eliminates not only the patients pains, but also the pain of the patients family and friends. Every time we feel the fang of our illnesses, we should tell our body to behave properly because we still have to make our loved ones happy; we still need to be happy.
We can dictate our own fate. Diseases are not as strong as a persons determined thought to get well, to live longer, and to love further.
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Rehabilitating Drug Abusers
Curiosity is one of the strongest reasons why people try drugs. But it is not the only one. Pleasure is another and a very strong motive for abusing drugs. Obviously, few people would take drugs outside of medical treatment without some kick they get from them. Illegal, mind-altering drugs are one of the chief sources of thrills in a pleasure-seeking society, perhaps made even more thrilling by the very fact that they are illegal.
Once an individual becomes part of the drug scene, his or her rehabilitation is often very difficult. For some drug victims, psychological counseling or psychiatric therapy, on an individual or group basis, may be of help. In addition, a few therapeutic communities deal with the ravages of the drugs mentioned above. But their effectiveness has not been proven yet.
For opiate addicts, there are better opportunities for treatment. One of the most popular and well-publicized methods is methadone maintenance. Methadone is a habit-forming substitute for heroin. It is usually taken orally once a day, ending the addict's craving for heroin and preventing him or her from experiencing the symptoms of withdrawal from heroin.
In well-run programs, approximately 80% of the enrolled addicts remain for at least a year. Their criminal behavior falls off markedly, and many addicts get jobs. At the end of four or five years, 60 to 65% have remained in the methadone program. Most of the former addicts adjust to society in satisfactory ways.
In contrast to methadone maintenance, therapeutic communities strictly forbid all drugs. The addict under treatment lives in a rigidly run communal setting, where group discussions and encounters are the rule.
The addict is made to face himself and accept his faults. He is then helped by the group to adjust his or her personality and life to a completely drug free existence. If the addict does not conform to the group's demands and rules, he is punished in various ways and made to look or feel uncomfortable or even ridiculous.
Narcotic antagonists are drugs that work in a way different from that of methadone. They simply block the pleasurable effects of opiates, without necessarily being addictive. Among these antagonists are cyclazocine and a cyclazocine derivative known as naltrexone hydrochloride. When administered, such a drug may, for example, keep heroin from affecting an addict for as long as three days after he first takes the narcotic.
Some states have tried to compel treatment for addicts who commit crimes or who are signed into programs by their relatives. Most of the addicts receiving forced treatment are not motivated for cure, however. Therefore, many scientists think that the results of civil commitment have so far not been very encouraging, despite the psychological therapy, educational improvement, and job training offered to those in the programs.
There are methods of treating or advising drug users other than those discussed here. They include religious groups and of which there are many. Religion, however, apparently does not appeal to most addicts. As for the other approaches, there is not so much information about their success at present.
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