Alcoholism is a medically diagnosable disease. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a character flaw, lack of willpower or a weakness. It has also been well established in several medical journals that someone born to an alcoholic parent has a 40% chance of being an alcoholic themselves. This may not sound like much but if you picture a table of 10 people, 4 of them are alcoholics.
In the early stages of alcoholism, the alcoholic isn’t the one shouting, stagger, starting arguments or throwing punches. They’re usually minding their own business. Not sober and not drunk. In ‘the twilight zone.’ In time it takes more alcohol to reach this level as their tolerance begins to increase.
The alcoholic then begins to become less inhibited as their tolerance raises. Alcoholism is a very insidious disease and usually goes unnoticed for many years.
It usually becomes noticed in the workplace where the alcoholic begins to turn up late for work on a regular basis. Then their work performance drops. This is followed by a gradual increase in days off work. The alcoholic is fired. This is followed by an increase in alcohol and tolerance. As the alcoholic becomes more reliant on the substance, it becomes more central to their lives. The alcoholic goes from job to job until they become unemployable.
If the alcoholic is married, divorce is not uncommon. The alcoholic, typically, moves into a place by themselves. They often take out loans (that they can’t repay) to finance their drinking. The alcoholic becomes for ringing friends whilst drunk late at night. It is not uncommon for the alcoholic to lose their license for drink driving, forcing them to catch buses or walk to do their shopping. The alcoholic is now drinking heavily alone. This is a big red flag. Their now disheveled look now sees former fork colleagues and friends shun them.
At some point they decide that it’s time to quit. This is a very dangerous move and should be done under close medical supervision. If one has consumed large quantities of alcohol over a long time then stops suddenly. there is a 48-72 hour window post intake where a life-threatening alcohol seizure or series off seizures may take place. The patient should be put on an anti-convulsant such as Epilim.
Once the patient has been medically stabilised they should be referred to a rehabilitation clinic, ideally for 6 or 12 months. Rehab combines one on one counselling, group therapy and a degree of structure and regimentation in order to prepare them for the rear world again. A sober world with coping mechanisms should a craving arise