Alcoholism treatment is the combination of detox, therapy, and aftercare meant to help a person overcome an addiction to drinking alcohol. Although many rehabilitation centers offer alcoholism treatment, many alcoholics never seek treatment. This can be due to the combination of the wide availability of alcohol, the social acceptance of drinking, and the stigma attached to rehab treatment.
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Alcohol has been consumed by humans for at least six thousand years and fermented beverages may have been consumed as long as 12,000 years ago. Alcohol abuse and alcoholism treatment, in various forms, have likely been around just as long. In the Victorian era and in the early part of the twentieth century, it was thought that any drinking was dangerous and produced to ill effects.
Today, we know that the occasional alcoholic drink can actually provide health benefits and that most people do not drink in a way that makes them susceptible to addiction. More and more, medicine is recognizing that both genetic and environmental factors make individuals prone to alcoholism, just the same as genetic and environmental factors work together to lead to any number of diseases like diabetes, heart disease, or cancer.
More than 87 percent of people over the age of 18 in the United States use alcohol, with nearly 25 percent indicating that they binge drink and 7 percent indicating that they drink heavily. This means that addiction is likely to be somewhat common.
Excessive alcohol use can be divided into two categories: alcohol abuse and addiction (alcoholism). Alcohol abuse is characterized by self-destructive and dangerous drinking that an individual can control. Addiction may or may not be characterized by self-destructive or dangerous use of alcohol, but it is characterized by an individual’s inability to control his or her use.
Substance abusers may binge drink or drink to the point of blacking out, but they don’t experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking. College students and teens are most at risk for alcohol abuse. Though alcoholism tends to start early in life, it does occur later and for a variety of reasons. There is no age-limit for the onset of alcoholism.
Alcoholism generally starts at a young age, often in the pre-teen years, but it can occur at any point in an individual’s life. Though some cases of alcoholism have definite triggers, such as a profound personal loss, other cases have no defined trigger or may be the result of a slow, but steady increase in drinking over time.
Why Alcoholics Resist Treatment
Over 17 percent of American adults abuse or are addicted to drinking, but only around 8 percent get the professional help they need to treat the addiction or abuse. Some of the reasons people resist seeking treatment include: