It can be heartbreaking to realize that your loved one has a problem with alcohol. You want to do anything you can to help — but you’re afraid that if you speak up, you could destroy your relationship, or even drive your loved one deeper into addiction. At first, it’s much easier to deny the problem. But as time goes on and personal, financial, or legal problems increase, you’ll have to face the possibility that your loved one could have a substance use disorder. Learning to recognize the red flags of alcoholism could not only save your relationship, it could help you avoid a tragedy.
The purpose for seeking rehab is to ultimately achieve the goal of overcoming alcohol abuse or addiction. Rehab is the ideal way to attack an alcohol abuse problem because treatment utilises the latest methodologies and practices that address every aspect of alcohol misuse. Patients are treated in mind, body, and spirit rather than just focusing only on the body.
For others, dependency comes after a prolonged period of difficulty in their life. Drinking might appear to be a good method of coping in these situations, and sufferers will often start as a ‘stop-gap’, just to tide them over until conditions improve. Nevertheless, as drinking begins to impact relationships and responsibilities, and hangovers exacerbate the very stress the drinking sought to avoid, the difficulties can increase, encouraging yet more drinking and leading to a vicious cycle.

There are two routes typically applied to a cognitive approach to substance abuse: tracking the thoughts that pull patients to addiction and tracking the thoughts that prevent them from relapsing. Behavioral techniques have the widest application in treating substance related disorders. Behavioral psychologists can use the techniques of “aversion therapy,” based on the findings of Pavlov's classical conditioning. It uses the principle of pairing abused substances with unpleasant stimuli or conditions; for example, pairing pain, electrical shock, or nausea with alcohol consumption.[37] The use of medications may also be used in this approach, such as using disulfiram to pair unpleasant effects with the thought of alcohol use. Psychologists tend to use an integration of all these approaches to produce reliable and effective treatment. With the advanced clinical use of medications, biological treatment is now considered to be one of the most efficient interventions that psychologists may use as treatment for those with substance dependence.[37]


The patient's response determines the physician's next step. If the patient denies the problem, recommending joining AA will not work. Involving the family and/or suggesting a trial of abstinence is useful, and, importantly, the physician should follow up with the patient in a few weeks. The patient might be angry initially and storm out of the office, but then the patient might recall the physician's warning months or years later and stop drinking. For patients who recognize a problem and will consider referral, the cheapest (free) and most accessible option is AA.

Internationally, the U.S. and Eastern Europe are the countries with the highest substance abuse disorder occurrence (5-6%). Africa, Asia, and the Middle East were countries with the lowest worldwide occurrence (1-2%). Across the globe, those that tended to have a higher prevalence of substance dependence were in their twenties, unemployed, and men.[42] The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reports on substance dependence/abuse rates in various population demographics across the U.S. When surveying populations based on race and ethnicity in those ages 12 and older, it was observed that American Indian/Alaskan Natives were among the highest rates and Asians were among the lowest rates in comparison to other racial/ethnic groups.[43]

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
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