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Alcoholism, also known as alcohol dependency, is a complex condition characterised by a problematic pattern of alcohol consumption that gives rise to psychological, behavioural, or physical symptoms, ultimately leading to impairment in daily activities and functioning.
One should consider that they are dependent on alcohol, when they start seeing two or more of the following symptoms and signs within the last 12 months:
Recognising the earliest signs of alcohol addiction is paramount in initiating timely interventions.
Addressing the root causes of addictive disorders involves a holistic and individualised approach that considers the unique circumstances of each patient. Professional intervention, counselling, and support services are essential components of a comprehensive strategy to help individuals break free from the cycle of addiction and regain control of their lives.
What causes alcoholism or alcohol dependency?
The causes of addictive disorders, including Alcohol Addiction, are multifaceted and rooted in a combination of psychological, genetic, and environmental factors. Understanding these underlying reasons is crucial for developing comprehensive approaches to treatment and support.
Patients may engage in alcohol or substance overuse for various reasons. For some individuals, it becomes a coping mechanism to deal with underlying mental health issues. Others may be predisposed to addictive behaviours due to genetic vulnerabilities, while social and peer pressures can also contribute to the development of addictive disorders.
We recognise that there are various motivations for considering a change in their alcohol consumption. Some may seek to lose weight, while others may aim to enhance their cardiovascular or liver health. Quitting alcohol can also be driven by the desire to improve their sex drive, or achieve better sleep quality. Notably, reducing the risk of cancer and boosting energy levels are additional benefits associated with moderating alcohol intake.
For some patients, the decision to cut back on or cease alcohol consumption may be rooted in medical necessity. Irrespective of the motivation, our clinic is dedicated to offering comprehensive care, unwavering support, and effective treatment options to assist individuals dealing with alcohol overuse. Our goal is to aid in the reduction and cessation of alcohol consumption.
It is time to delve into the underlying causes of alcohol dependence, and we are here to guide you through the journey towards understanding and overcoming alcohol dependence.
Alcohol withdrawal is a complex physiological response that can manifest in individuals who abruptly cease or significantly reduce their regular alcohol intake. This process typically unfolds within a relatively short timeframe, often appearing within a few hours to a few days after discontinuation of alcohol consumption.
The array of withdrawal symptoms can be diverse and may vary in intensity from person to person. Common manifestations include noticeable tremors in the hands or feet, reflecting the body’s attempt to adapt to the sudden absence of alcohol. Insomnia, characterised by difficulty falling or staying asleep, is another prevalent symptom, contributing to the overall discomfort experienced during withdrawal.
Nausea and vomiting may also occur during this phase. Feelings of anxiety may intensify, adding an additional layer of emotional strain to the physical symptoms. Visual or auditory hallucinations, although not universally experienced, can occur, creating a surreal and disorienting aspect to the withdrawal process.
Physical agitation is a notable component, marked by restlessness and an overall sense of unease. In severe cases, individuals undergoing alcohol withdrawal may be at risk of experiencing seizures, underscoring the gravity of the physiological adjustments taking place within the nervous system.
Recognising and addressing alcohol withdrawal symptoms is crucial, as they can pose significant health risks. Seeking professional medical guidance during this period is essential to ensure a safe and supportive environment for managing the challenges associated with alcohol withdrawal. This underscores the importance of a comprehensive approach to alcohol cessation that includes both medical supervision and psychological support.
If you need any further information or supportive network for alcohol dependance:
Information about Alcoholism at home
Information of various Drug & Alcohol services
Alcoholic Anonymous Perth 1300 222 222
Fellowship of people who shares experiences about alcoholism
Al-Anon Family Groups Australia 1300 252 666
Information about support meetings and peer support
According to current recommendations, individuals are advised to adhere to specific limits to minimise potential health risks associated with alcohol consumption.
For women, the suggested threshold for safe drinking is a maximum of 1 standard drink per day. This guideline is designed to strike a balance between enjoying the social aspects of alcohol while mitigating the potential adverse effects on health. This considers the variations in metabolism, body composition, and other physiological factors that can influence how alcohol affects individuals.
For men, the recommended limit for safe drinking is slightly higher, set at a maximum of 2 standard drinks per day. This distinction recognises the physiological differences between genders and aims to establish a reasonable boundary that allows for moderate alcohol consumption without significantly compromising overall health.
Understanding and adhering to these recommended limits play a crucial role in promoting responsible drinking habits. It serves as a proactive measure to safeguard not only physical well-being but also mental and emotional health. By embracing these guidelines, individuals can make informed choices about alcohol consumption, fostering a culture of moderation and mindfulness that contributes to a healthier lifestyle.
How do you treat alcoholism or alcohol dependency?
The treatment of alcohol dependency at Northbridge Medical Centre is dedicated to the overarching goal of restoring individuals to a healthier lifestyle and facilitating reconnection with their loved ones and the broader community. Achieving this objective necessitates a multidisciplinary approach that recognises the complexity of alcohol dependency.
At Northbridge Medical Centre, we pride ourselves on providing a personalised approach to each individual, supported by the collaborative efforts of a multidisciplinary team, including allied health specialists and psychologists. This team works in tandem to address the multifaceted aspects of alcohol dependency, tailoring treatment plans to the unique needs of each person.
A fundamental aspect of our treatment philosophy involves instigating changes in core beliefs about addiction. This transformative process is integral to dismantling the stigma often associated with alcoholism, fostering an environment that is free from guilt and shame. Maintaining motivation and assertiveness surrounding abstinence is a key focus, encouraging individuals to navigate their journey to recovery with resilience and determination.
Crucially, we emphasise the importance of self-empowerment in our approach. Understanding that identifying the root causes of addiction is paramount, we empower individuals to take control of their recovery journey. This involves fostering self-awareness, encouraging self-reflection, and providing the tools necessary to address the underlying issues that contribute to alcohol dependency.
At Northbridge Medical Centre, we believe that effective treatment extends beyond symptom management to address the broader context of an individual's life. By fostering a supportive and empowering environment, we guide individuals toward a renewed sense of purpose and connection. Our commitment to a holistic and personalised approach underscores our dedication to helping individuals overcome alcohol dependency and regain control of their lives.
The knowledgeable team at Northbridge Medical Centre are here for any questions or concerns you may have about how to quit or reduce alcohol
Dr Eric Kim maintain a special interest in the field of Alcohol, Drug and Addiction Medicine
He has been working in Next Step Drug and Alcohol Unit since 2021