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How to Overcome Alcoholism?

Updated on January 26, 2009


An important concept in my life, as alcoholism runs in my blood. The disease that is thought to be part genetics and hereditary. So, being that my great grandfather died of live failure from alcohol, and my grandfather is a recoverying alcoholic, drinking is something limited and preserved.

Alcoholism can be referred to any condition that results in the continued consumption of alcoholic beverages, whether they be liquor, beer, malt liquor, and any other beverage that contains the slightest alcohol content.

The Journal of American Medical Association defines alcoholism as "a primary, chronic disease characterized by impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking."

One who suffers alcoholism tends to drink regardless of the negative consequences, to which they are fully aware of. They suffer a dependency on the drink, and withdrawals from even short periods away from the bottle.

Now, just because on may be a heavy drinker, it does not necessarily mean that he, or she, is an alcoholic. The quantity, frequency, and regularity, of drinking varies upon each person, so where you may be able to down a pint of liquor, your buddy may not. You must also, take into account, ones genetic make-up and predisposed likelihood of alcoholism, as well as social environment and emotional stability.


Effects of Alcoholism


Drinking can cause several health concerns to one's body.

  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Pancreatitis, epilepsy
  • Polyneuropathy
  • Alcoholic dementia
  • Heart disease
  • Increased chance of cancer
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Death from other sources


Alcoholism will definitely affect one socially.

  • One can lose his, or her, job over coming into work drunk or hung over.
  • Drinking caused reduced judgement, which create legal problems such as drunk driving.
  • One may lose their spouse of constant drinking.
  • Family and friends may pull away.

Effects Caused by Withdrawals

Having alcohol withdrawals can actually become fatal. These withdraws are much different from withdrawals caused by drugs. Otherwise, healthy alcoholics can die from the direct effects from withdrawing if it's not properly cared for.

The heavy consumption of alcohol reduced GABA (a neuroinhibitor) production, and an abrupt stop of alcohol consumption can cause a condition to which neither alcohol nor GABA exists in the body in adequate quantities, which can cause an uncontrolled firing of the synapses, manifesting in hallucinations, shakes, convulsions, seizures, and possible heart failure. These symptoms are collectively known as delirium tremens.

The good things is the under medically controlled detox, these symptoms can be monitored appropriately.

Medications That can be Prescribed

Sometimes doctors will prescribe medications for those people who want to overcome their alcohol problem. Medicines that doctors may consider include:

  • Antabuse (disulfiram)
  • Naltrexone
  • Acamprosate (Campral)
  • Topiramate (Topamax)

Treatment for Alcoholism

The treatment for alcoholism is definitely varied because (1) there are different perspectives on the condition and (2) each person recovers differently. I mean, think about it, if you approach alcoholism as a medical condition versus a social choice, the outcomes would be different.

Most treatments for alcoholism focuses on helping the people stop consuming alcohol with follow up training and social support to help them to continue to resist alcohol use. All of the factors of alcoholism must be addressed in order to encourage the person to successfully stay sober and alcohol free. Combining alcohol detoxification with therapy and self- help groups, most people are able to recover from alcohol.

There are different treatment communities that support different views of recovering alcoholics. The first groups feels that abstinence is the key; this group supports a zero tolerance approach to alcohol. The second group promotes a reduction policy, to which one reducest he alcohol intact.

Consider a combination of the following:

  • Group therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Alcohol/ Drug Rehab
  • Alcohol detoxification
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Medications prescribed by a doctor

Alcoholics Anonymous Medallion


The effectiveness of alcohol treatments varies from person to person. So, when considering the success rate behind a particular treatment or program, one must consider the type of people that underwent that particular treatment and program.

Completion of a treatment and program is the key for success.

Success Rate

About 5% of people actually recover from alcoholism on their own.

About 40% are substantially improved after treatment, but still drink regularly.

About 50% of people stay sober after one year of a rehab program.

About 70% of people stay sober after one year of a rehab program and continuing Alcoholics Anonymous.

About 90% of people stay sober after one year of a rehab program, regular meetings at Alcoholics Anonymous, and go to an aftercare program once a week.

How do you know if you have a problem?

  • Have you ever tried to cut down on your drinking?
  • Have you ever felt annoyed when someone talked to you about your drinking?
  • Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?
  • Have you ever used alcohol in the morning to settle yourself down?

By answering yes to 2 or more of the questions indicate that you may be an alcoholic.

How To Overcome Alcohol and Drug Addiction for Good

How to Recognize Alcohol & Drug Addiction : How to Deal With a Relapse

Disclaimer: Please be aware that the advice in this article should in no way replace that of a licensed physician. If you are an alcoholic, or if you think that you may be an alcoholic, consult your doctor to find the best treatment for you, as not all treatment options will work for everyone.


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    • profile image

      Dumb G 

      5 years ago

      I just stopped drinking after 9 years. Studying Amino Acids and nuerotransmiters. I found out That GABA Gama Aminobutryc Acid effects the same parts of the brain as Antabuse and Valiums. The Shakes Suck! The brain need this the be balanced and Healthy. Two good sources Grapes and Avocados and I love both. The internet has loads of sources for foods that contain Glutamine (The Amino Acid that helps your body produce GABA). Hope this helps.

    • jamiesweeney profile image


      7 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      Informative medical hub. Lots of learning here.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      The success rate you posted are from what? AA succeed rate are really unknown because they don't record it. What a shame because getting good data on this will point people in the right way. For myself, my family don't have alcohol problem beside myself. I was a binge drinker for years. I'm finally getting over it and can have a few drinks and stops. Would have never thought I could do that because in recovery if you have one sip then your going downhill. I'm prove you can overcome your alcoholics. Not easy and have 2 DUIs under my belt but life is better and I don't use alcohol to avoid my problems.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I quit reading after the first paragraph. I sought information about overcoming alcoholism but too many misspelled words reduced my interest and your credibility.

    • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Georgia

      It's a disease, and if you're going to get married, you need to decide if this is something you want to deal with. He obviously hasn't hit rock bottom, and won't think he needs to quit until that point. It's a hard thing to do, but if you can deal with it, then try, but sometimes you have to make the decision of him or you.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      fiancée in alcohol treatment again, fifth time in one year. 39, resigned 3 mos ago from well paying tenured position. in last 2 years drinks to point of passing out. two ambulance rides, one public intox charge, one dui, slept in own feces, hides in trees to drink, etc., etc. never able to do stay in rehab & therefore sober, for more than 30 days. this time she's in 90 day program. stupid intelligent, had much of it gone. i'm unsure about whether this thing qualifies as a true "disease", or if its an absence of self discipline. she is fully cognisent that her drinking puts her at risk, but evidently the amygdala/"lizard" overrides the logic/rationale based parts of the brain and "tells" her to drink. How does that work? If one is "in control", as "Agent Orange" argues until you consume too many, then that suggests the addict is still able to "choose" whether to drink or not. Why would an addict choose to drink when they also realize the probable outcomes? please help me understand this.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This was very informative. I'm going through this right now and often people don't realize that I have a problem. I've finally admitted it to myself and now it's time to do something about it because its embarrassing to me now. Thanks so much for touching on this topic.

    • the clean life profile image

      Mark Bruno 

      8 years ago from New Jersey Shore

      Great Hub! And very good information in there. Thanks for sharing with all of us.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Had not touched a sip for two months... until last night, had a fiver, one was left, but dumped in drain.

      I hate drinking, but like many, it became as routine as showering in the morning.

      I drank tonight because I wanted to, and now I want to apologize to myself.

      I went from a 12 pack a night, to a 10 pack, to a 6 pack, to a no pack, then a slip up. I'm going back to a no pack.

      Good luck all.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Struggling to quit and grateful for the fact that there are how to live sober pages where people actually post helpful info and the fact that other people share. It makes a big dif to the ones like myself that are scared and desperate. TX Will

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      This is a very good hub and very thorough. I have experience with alcoholics in my family that are now sober. They got sober when they hit bottom and its not the same place for everyone.

    • Jenna Pope profile image

      Jenna Pope 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for the info on medical detox. I'm an alcohol and drug counselor, and non-monitored alcohol detox is like playing Russian Roulette. JP

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 

      9 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      This is a very thorough, very accurate hub. I really like the YouTube videos at the end! Would question some of the success stats -- they seem really, really high to me. But they are the kinds of numbers we would LIKE to see!

      Bottom line. Alcoholism is a horrible disease. However, overcoming alcoholism and living in recovery is beautiful.

      I hope you never manifest the "alkie gene" -- it strikes family members seemingly randomly, so there is no guarantee "you" would be the one in yours.

      But it's great that you have made yourself, and now us, aware.


      P.S. Also great info on the dangers of non-medical detox. Thanks! MM

    • markhouston profile image


      9 years ago from Houston, TX

      great job on the hub. Don't forget about the important role that family plays in overcoming an addiction to alcohol as well.

    • bluesbaby811 profile image


      9 years ago from NorCal

      This really hit home for me cuz both my parents are alcolics :/

    • Teresa McGurk profile image


      9 years ago from The Other Bangor

      Just picked up my nine-years chip! Glad to know you're here on Hubpages, Whitney, and thank you for writing on this topic. Hugs!

    • profile image

      alcoholism treatment 

      9 years ago

      alcoholism treatment will be more effective in a short period of time if the addict himself will participate every activity during the treatment process. Family support as well as friends will be a great help too.

    • Bob Ewing profile image

      Bob Ewing 

      10 years ago from New Brunswick

      a very informative hub, great job.


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