Alcoholism can also be categorized into 2 types: early-onset (biological predisposition to the disease) or late-onset (brought on by environmental or psychosocial triggers). Understanding and studying the difference between early- and late-onset alcoholism facilitate the selection of the appropriate therapy. Drugs that affect the rewarding behavior of neural activities, such as ondansetron, naltrexone, topiramate, and baclofen, have been shown to alter drinking behavior. 
Anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts are all common results of alcohol dependency. This is because prolonged heavy drinking effects the neurotransmitters in the brain which regulate mood. Two of the most important neurotransmitters for mood are dopamine and serotonin, which are responsible for creating the positive feelings vital for a healthy mind. Research shows that the levels of both serotonin and dopamine are often heavily altered in the brains of alcoholics, leading to deteriorating mental health and, often, a negative spiral of alcohol use.
In the precontemplation phase, the individual does not express any interest in the need for change. Many individuals with substance use problems are firmly entrenched in this stage. The options in dealing with patients in this stage are limited and include pointing out the discrepancy between patient action and patient goals, suggesting that the patient bring a family member to the next appointment, and suggesting a 2-week abstinence trial.
Focus on one area where you are experiencing the urge. Notice the exact sensations in that area. For example, do you feel hot, cold, tingly, or numb? Are your muscles tense or relaxed? How large an area is involved? Notice the sensations and describe them to yourself. Notice the changes that occur in the sensation. “My mouth feels dry and parched. There is tension in my lips and tongue. I keep swallowing. As I exhale, I can imagine the tingle of using.”
At Gateway Foundation, we employ a variety of addiction therapy services that aid in treatment. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Trauma Therapy are some of the most common that our therapists use to help patients begin on the road to recovery. Each of these treatments and therapies is part of a larger overall program, specifically designed for individual patient recovery at one of our 17 drug treatment centers. To speak to someone about treatment at a Gateway Foundation center, call 877.381.6538 today.
While a trial period of controlled drinking with careful follow-up might be appropriate for a diagnosis of alcohol abuse, this approach increases a physician's professional liability. Complete abstinence is the only treatment for alcohol dependence. Emphasize that the most common error is underestimating the amount of help that will be needed to stop drinking. The differential diagnosis between alcohol abuse and dependence can be a difficult judgment call.
This is an ongoing debate in the medical community, but it is generally agreed that there is no one cause for the development of addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, contributing factors may include a genetic predisposition to develop addictive tendencies, an environment that is permissive of drug abuse, access to illicit substances, and certain developmental issues. The existence of a Dual Diagnosis is one of the biggest risk factors for the development of addiction. Heroin Withdrawal | First Week In