Dependency on alcohol can be described as a strong need to drink alcohol. And it is always a big problem for people suffering from it and their relatives. Alcoholism not only physically affects a person but it also has a strong social impact.
The actual mechanism of alcoholism disease has a biological explanation, and the mechanism is pretty simple. The use of alcohol causes a release of endorphins into the blood. Endorphins are complex biological compounds that make neural pathways stronger. All this works like a rewarding mechanism for the body to repeat a performed action. So, it is a sort of learning mechanism for the human body. But at the same time it leads to the formation of alcohol addiction - alcoholism.
The actual term "alcoholism" is not widely used by professionals these days. Most doctors try to differentiate between two problems related to alcohol - "alcohol dependence," and "alcohol abuse". In fact, these terms describe the actual problem more precisely than the term alcoholism.
Although the mechanism of addiction can be explained pretty easily, it is not that easy to find the actual roots of this problem. There are several opinions in that area.
Many people believe that the main problem that causes alcoholism lies in the moral area. Ethical weakness of the person often leads to problems with alcohol consumption. But such an approach to alcohol addiction does not offer a solution. A moral model of alcoholism only states that it is a problem and that the addicts are responsible for it.
But alcohol causes a strong physical dependence which leads to certain
withdrawal symptoms. The most common and most simple symptom is
tremulousness. Shaking hands is a usual thing when people stop drinking. But with a stronger addiction, these symptoms get more serious. In many cases these symptoms may involve hallucinations and even "Delirium Tremens". And what is especially dangerous about alcohol dependence is that unlike even hard drugs withdrawal, alcohol withdrawal can become fatal for the individual. Of course, in these cases special medical treatment is needed.
Alcoholism treatment methods are different but they all follow a similar scheme. First of all, it is necessary to perform detoxification - remove all the products of alcohol decay. In many cases that is a pretty hard period for addicts and it is performed at special hospitals. Special medical treatment is used if necessary. In many cases, this treatment is based on similar effects on a human brain, that alcohol, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines, would have. That means that they can be easily substituted for each other to make the withdrawal symptoms not so exhausting.
After detoxification, it is necessary to fight the psychological addiction which is often formed along with the physical dependence. Special psychotherapy programs are used here. Group therapy, like in "Alcoholics Anonymous," has proved to be very effective on this stage of treatment.
And there are also special programs that try to work with people before they become addicted. They use special techniques to determine which people could be potentially addicted to alcohol and try to lower their alcohol consumption.