Changes in the brain chemistry also increases the risk of experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking. As mentioned, alcohol impairs the way in which the brain functions and it can interfere with the way in which it communicates messages and chemical signals around the body. It slows down signal transmissions, which explains why you might experience sedation and sleepiness when intoxicated.
For example: As a result of heavy traffic, a recovering alcoholic may decide one afternoon to exit the highway and travel on side roads. This will result in the creation of a high-risk situation when he realizes he is inadvertently driving by his old favorite bar. If this individual is able to employ successful coping strategies, such as distracting himself from his cravings by turning on his favorite music, then he will avoid the relapse risk (PATH 1) and heighten his efficacy for future abstinence. If, however, he lacks coping mechanisms—for instance, he may begin ruminating on his cravings (PATH 2)—then his efficacy for abstinence will decrease, his expectations of positive outcomes will increase, and he may experience a lapse—an isolated return to substance intoxication. So doing results in what Marlatt refers to as the Abstinence Violation Effect, characterized by guilt for having gotten intoxicated and low efficacy for future abstinence in similar tempting situations. This is a dangerous pathway, Marlatt proposes, to full-blown relapse.
Substance abuse has plagued the nation for decades. This has prompted the need for rehab centers, but these facilities must first consider the dynamics of drug and alcohol abuse to effectively treat it. For example, a man who’s been struggling with severe alcoholism for five years will likely need a different form of treatment than a woman who’s been abusing alcohol for only a few months. This is why drug rehab centers like The Recovery Village offer individualized inpatient and outpatient rehab programs — including inpatient detox — to allow them to accommodate the varying needs of patients.
Meditation is all about focusing inward; it is about living in the here and now. Combining meditation with counselling enables patients to come to terms with themselves and the chronic illness they are dealing with. It focuses on what needs to be done now to get well. Each of the individual instances of living in the moment eventually add up to a lifetime of thoughtful living. Many recovering alcoholics find this way of thinking indispensable to their recovery.
An average of about three months of residential treatment seems to be effective. The optimal treatment time seems to be similar in non-residential treatment, suggesting a combination of residential and non-residential treatment might be effective over that time. But completing the treatment program and actively participating seem to be more important than treatment setting or length.
Attend a support group, most of which are completely free. A supportive community of like-minded, recovery-focused peers can play an important role in your recovery. Alcoholics Anonymous is a free 12-step support group. Although members are not required to be religious, many of the steps involve the belief in divine being. Visit the official site of AA: Alcoholics Anonymous
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. Involuntarily Committed to Drug & Alcohol Treatment (2018)
Note: These PET scans compare the brain of an individual with a history of cocaine use disorder (middle and right) to the brain of an individual without a history of cocaine use (left). The person who has had a cocaine use disorder has lower levels of the D2 dopamine receptor (depicted in red) in the striatum one month (middle) and four months (right) after stopping cocaine use compared to the non-user. The level of dopamine receptors in the brain of the cocaine user are higher at the 4-month mark (right), but have not returned to the levels observed in the non-user (left).
Alcohol dependency is not a failure of will or lack of strength of character, as was believed for many years. However, progress in science over the last few decades has shown us that alcoholism is rooted in both biology and behaviour, making it a ‘bio-behavioural disorder’. Biology and behaviour are two sides of the same coin, and alcohol dependency cannot be treated by just focusing on one side alone.
Psychoanalysis, a psychotherapeutic approach to behavior change developed by Sigmund Freud and modified by his followers, has also offered an explanation of substance abuse. This orientation suggests the main cause of the addiction syndrome is the unconscious need to entertain and to enact various kinds of homosexual and perverse fantasies, and at the same time to avoid taking responsibility for this. It is hypothesized specific drugs facilitate specific fantasies and using drugs is considered to be a displacement from, and a concomitant of, the compulsion to masturbate while entertaining homosexual and perverse fantasies. The addiction syndrome is also hypothesized to be associated with life trajectories that have occurred within the context of teratogenic processes, the phases of which include social, cultural and political factors, encapsulation, traumatophobia, and masturbation as a form of self-soothing. Such an approach lies in stark contrast to the approaches of social cognitive theory to addiction—and indeed, to behavior in general—which holds human beings to regulate and control their own environmental and cognitive environments, and are not merely driven by internal, driving impulses. Additionally, homosexual content is not implicated as a necessary feature in addiction.
The length of a rehab program can vary greatly, and largely depends on the needs of each individual. For some, a weekly outpatient program may suffice, while others may participate in inpatient care that lasts on average 30–40 days. You may ask yourself, “How does rehab work?” Like many things in life, long-term recovery is usually achieved with time and dedication. For some, this may include long-term inpatient drug rehab that involves staying on-site for an extended period of time. This can help some clients better regulate their recovery needs for sustained sobriety. These types of programs may also include sober living housing, which provides patients with a stable place to live while transitioning back into normal life.
Research the history of the Treatment Center or facility. What is their success rate? Can you find any medical recommendations for them online from members of the established rehab or medical community? How long has the Center been in operation? Is their leadership on solid ground? Are there any signs of financial corruption associated with the Center that is readily visible on the Internet? It is your responsibility to dig for this information. If you cannot find any information about a given Treatment Center online or at your local library, move on to the next Center on your list! 3 Stages of Drug Alcohol Rehab-How It Works