Alcoholism and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Drinking is considered pretty normal in the U.S. It is popular and a part of many social activities, from college parties to weddings. But just like everything else, you should only enjoy it in moderation. Drinking too much can lead to health problems, dependency, and alcohol addiction.

What Is Alcoholism?

Alcohol addiction is usually referred to as “alcoholism,” People who struggle with this condition are commonly called “alcoholics.” Those who suffer from alcohol use disorder do not simply drink too much or drink routinely; they have a compulsion to consume alcohol and cannot control how much they drink. Their brain chemistry changes and alcohol is needed to produce neurotransmitters like dopamine and reduce stress-related negative psychological experiences.

According to the National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH):

ABOUT 17 MILLION ADULTS, AGES 18 AND OLDER, IN THE UNITED STATES WITH ALCOHOL USE DISORDER. ONE IN 10 CHILDREN LIVES IN A HOME WITH A PARENT WITH ALCOHOL USE DISORDER.

Alcoholism – A Downward Spiral?

Alcoholism can affect so many aspects of your life, just like any other substance that is abused. Alcoholism can put your employment, personal relationships, financial situations, and more at risk. It turns your whole world upside down, and the worst of it; someone can get hurt or even killed. If you are lucky enough not to put someone in danger if you get behind the wheel, you put yourself in danger every time you consume more than one or two drinks a day, and for alcoholics, that means we put ourselves in danger every time we pick up a drink.

When Enough Is Enough

When you have finally gotten tired of being drunk all the time and screwing up your life, and it just isn’t fun anymore, you’re ready to get help and quit drinking. Your first step is to go through detox so you can quit with minimal withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol detox can be safely performed at both inpatient and outpatient facilities, but round-the-clock medical monitoring is recommended for heavy users. Part of the detox process includes keeping the patient’s system right and avoiding major physiological upsets. Sometimes medications are necessary to do this.

Benzodiazepines (benzos), including Librium, Valium, and Ativan, are commonly used for alcohol treatment because they reduce alcohol withdrawal symptoms and prevent alcohol withdrawal seizures. Seizures are among the most common causes of fatality in alcohol withdrawal, so additional anti-convulsion drugs are often used. It can be dangerous detoxing alone, the same with any other substance. Especially in the cases of long-term alcohol abusers, detoxing cold turkey can be dangerous and even fatal. Therefore, seeking medical attention for alcohol detox is always recommended to avoid life-threatening side effects.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy To Help With Alcoholism

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is used widely today in addiction treatment. For example, CBT teaches those in treatment for alcohol to find connections between their thoughts, feelings, and actions and increase awareness of how they impact recovery.

How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy shows that many harmful actions and emotions are not real. Instead, these feelings and behaviors may come from past experiences or environmental factors. When addicted people understand why they feel or act a certain way because of CBT and how those feelings and actions lead to substance use, they are better equipped to overcome their addiction.

Cognitive-behavioral therapists help those in recovery identify their negative thoughts automatically because of how long they have been repeating them. But, unfortunately, an automatic thought is based on impulse and often comes from misconceptions and internalized feelings of self-doubt and fear. Often, people try to self-medicate these painful thoughts and feelings by drinking alcohol.

When in treatment, patients continually revisit painful memories that once caused them to drink and learn new, positive behaviors to replace their alcohol use.

Self Medication Is Not The Answer, Get Help Today!

Sadly, resorting to alcohol as a way to escape can be a deadly and bad decision. However, those that struggle with addiction can get help at the Addiction Recovery Institute of America today!

The team of addiction specialists at ARIA knows that no two individuals struggling with addiction are the same. This is why we are careful to design a drug and alcohol treatment center for each of our clients tailored to their individual needs. From our detox programs to our residential recovery programs to our outpatient care, ARIA has the right solution for you.

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