Research from NIAAA also suggests that alcoholism can stem from genes. While the specific “alcoholism gene” hasn’t yet been identified, there are known genes that can boost the power of alcohol and reduce the impact of a hangover. People with these gene combinations may get a bigger high from drinking, and they may not feel ill or sick after a long day of drinking. Their bodies just seem primed for alcohol abuse, and that can make them more likely to develop alcoholism.
Research has identified differences in how the reward center of the brain responds to alcohol in heavy and light drinkers. In either group, alcohol caused the release of naturally occurring feel-good endorphins in the two brain regions linked to reward processing. Once addicted, alcohol withdrawal presents dangerous physical and psychological issues.9
All drugs–nicotine, cocaine, marijuana and others–affect the brain’s “reward” circuit, which is part of the limbic system. This area of the brain affects instinct and mood. Drugs target this system, which causes large amounts of dopamine—a brain chemical that helps regulate emotions and feelings of pleasure—to flood the brain. This flood of dopamine is what causes a “high.” It’s one of the main causes of drug addiction.
Some people hold the misconception that patients in drug rehab treatment are forced to stay. However, this is untrue. Patients in rehab centers are free to leave anytime they choose to. One reason for this is that drug rehab can only be truly effective when the patient has a desire to be there and to change his or her addictive habits. That being said, in instances where individuals are compelled to go to rehab—such as via a court order—the rehab process can still be effective, even if they were initially reluctant to go.
The help of family members can be absolutely invaluable in terms of supporting the addict through their recovery over the long term after they leave rehab, and they can get support and advice on what they need to do to continue to encourage their loved one through the process of their recovery, how to avoid triggering them, how to help them prevent relapse and various other things which together can make the difference between success and failure in recovery.
Addiction is an all-consuming disease, using much of an individual’s time, energy and resources. There are many physical, mental and emotional signs of addiction. If you or a loved one are experiencing a combination of these signs, treatment may be a stepping stone for long-term recovery. Looking for signs and symptoms of drug abuse can be the first step toward identifying an addiction:
Therapeutic communities, which are highly structured programs in which patients remain at a residence, typically for 6 to 12 months. The entire community, including treatment staff and those in recovery, act as key agents of change, influencing the patient’s attitudes, understanding, and behaviors associated with drug use. Read more about therapeutic communities in the Therapeutic Communities Research Report at https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/therapeutic-communities.
Detox is not the expulsion of ‘toxins’ from your system, but a reaction of your nervous system to the absence of alcohol. Withdrawal from alcohol and its sedative effects results in an overreaction of the nervous system. A number of severe symptoms can develop, such as disorientation, extreme anxiety, diarrhoea, very high blood pressure, delusions, heart rhythm changes etc. This is very dangerous if not supervised and monitored by personnel experienced in addiction recovery treatment. These symptoms can now be controlled in a safe way through proper medical attention and pharmacotherapy during the detox period. Our clinical staff has extensive experience dealing with alcohol detox and conducts the process in as much safety and as comforting an environment as possible. This is a vast improvement from a time before modern medicine when there was a death rate of 33% for those going through severe alcohol withdrawal. My experience overcoming alcoholism with Naltrexone "The Sinclair Method"