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Alcoholism: when you stop being a social drinker and become addicted

Tuesday, September 24, 2019 | Updated 09/25/2019 08:40 a.m.


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Alcohol is a legal drug present in our daily lives, and with a great role in Mediterranean culture. It is very common to have a few beers or drinks in a bar with friends, at family celebrations and events. Doubt about a possible disorder arises when alcohol begins to have too much prominence in the person’s life. When do you go from being a social drinker to having a problem with alcohol? Where is the limit?

According to Dr. Carlos Sánchez Menéndez, psychiatrist and medical director of the Triora MonteAlminara clinic in Malaga, “the social drinker decides when he starts drinking and when he stops. This is a decision-making power that the alcoholic, who drinks alone and without control, does not have. Furthermore, the social drinker is not concerned with the drink but with the environment. On the other hand, the alcoholic does not know how to set limits and loses control.

Alcohol is the most consumed psychoactive substance in Spain. 16.8% of Spaniards aged 15 to 64 got drunk in the last year; a downward trend since 2009, although it remains at high levels. This is indicated in the “2018 Report on alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs in Spain” prepared by the Ministry of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare.

«Alcohol is often used as an escape route from adversity, becoming in many cases the main problem. Those affected by this addiction suffer first-hand a series of very severe consequences in all areas of life, from health to the economy, including social relationships and the world of work,” says Dr. Sánchez Menéndez.

Dr. Carlos Sánchez Menéndez.

Family and friends, keys to facing the problem

Alcohol consumption disorder becomes a reality when there is a lack of control, concern about not drinking, insistence on always achieving the same effect and a feeling of withdrawal when intake is reduced or stopped. Alcohol addiction is synonymous with anguish and creates difficulties in functioning on a daily basis.

Symptoms increase as dependence grows. These are some of the warning signs:

·Inability to limit the amount of alcohol consumed.

·Waste of time drinking or accessing alcohol.

·Constant need to ingest the substance.

·Breach of obligations due to alcohol consumption.

·Insistence on drinking despite being aware of the problems it generates.

·Abandonment of social or work activities.

·Development of tolerance to alcohol, so that more amounts are needed to feel its effect.

·Nausea, sweating or tremors when not drinking.

·Consumption in dangerous situations such as, for example, while driving.

It is common to deny the problem, even if it is due to unconsciousness. For this reason, “it is essential to listen to family, friends or co-workers, who can help the affected person realize the problem. Loved ones are the ones who know us best, so their advice is very important to be able to face a delicate situation, especially when it is already a disorder,” says Dr. Sánchez Menéndez.

The help of professionals is essential

When alcohol consumption has become an abuse problem or disorder, it is very important to contact a team of professionals as soon as possible. Without effective treatment, it is very difficult for a person suffering from addiction to regain control of their life. Triora warns that the majority of those affected by this type of dependence cannot stop drinking without the help of experts to guide them towards the most appropriate treatment.

“It is essential to know the person first-hand and understand the moment they are going through, how they feel and what symptoms they have to find the best way to treat their addiction and do so with a comprehensive and personalized program,” indicates the medical director of Triora MonteAlminara. .

In that sense, changing the thoughts that lead you to want to drink depends on a lot of willpower and the development of certain skills. Professionals also dedicate efforts to helping the affected person repair and improve their personal relationships if they have been affected by addiction. For this reason, at Triora, we not only work with patients but also develop programs for family members and loved ones, where they are helped to understand the disease of addiction, its causes, how it affects the person who suffers from it and the entire person. Family nucleus.

“Improvement skills must be trained so that any step backwards can be quickly reversed,” says Dr. Sánchez Menéndez. The expert maintains that the patient has to trust in his ability to lead a healthy lifestyle without dependence on alcohol and believe in his options to regain control, without affecting his social, work and economic situation. he. It must be taken into account that experts speak of recovery after two to five years without consumption or relapses.

A personalized treatment

At Triora, treatment to overcome alcohol addiction begins with an initial interview where we become aware of the situation the patient is going through. Afterwards, the detoxification phase begins, that is, the progressive abandonment of substance consumption. This is a stage in which addiction is treated both physically and psychologically. After several weeks of treatment, the patient returns home, maintaining therapeutic sessions, and has follow-up in order to avoid possible relapses.

The recovery rates of the Triora group are optimistic because, as a result of their scientific approach, proven concepts and attentive care, six out of ten treated for alcoholism remain abstainers after one year. The first assessment at Triora, carried out by a doctor, is free and without obligation, with the specialist being the one who will advise the patient and family on the most appropriate treatment for their situation and needs.

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