Chapter 2.1 - Alcoholism
In this chapter, Dr. Donache presents Complementary/Alternative Medical (C.A.M.) Therapies for the prevention and treatment of alcoholism.
The chapter includes an overview of the disease's symptoms, conventional treatment methods, and alternative therapies, including Bio-Energetic therapies, Bodywork and Movement therapies, and Mental / Emotional treatments.
This chapter is taken from Dr. Donache's upcoming book, Finding Balance - Integrating Complementary/Alternative Medical (C.A.M.) Therapies for the Prevention of the Top 30 Diseases in America. Each section of chapter 2, which describes alternative treatments for each of the top diseases, is available for download on this website.
Table of Contents
Glossary of Terms Used in this Chapter
Additional Disease Descriptions and Treatments Available for Download
Table of Contents
- ABOUT THIS DOCUMENT
- CONVENTIONAL APPROACHES
- Planned Intervention
- Inpatient Treatment Programs
- Outpatient Treatment Programs
- Detoxification and Medication
- Supportive Therapies
- C.A.M. THERAPIES
- BIO-ENERGETIC THERAPIES
BODYWORK AND MOVEMENT THERAPIES
- Nutrition and Supplements
- Enzymatic Therapies
- Rainforest and Western Herbs
- Rainforest Herbs
- Western Herbs
- Homeopathic Remedies
- Essential Oils
MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORT
- Therapeutic Bodywork and Massage
- Traditional Chinese Medicine
- Hatha Yoga Postures
- PRODUCT ORDERING INFORMATION
- GLOSSARY OF TERMS
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Alcoholism is a chronic, progressive, incurable disease characterized by loss of control over alcohol and other sedatives.
Alcoholism is a medical condition characterized by an overwhelming need for, or dependency on, alcohol. Alcoholism is not a bad habit or lack of willpower. It can be exacerbated by stress or emotional problems, but these are not the causes of alcoholism. People can become dependent upon alcohol unintentionally. Most people who drink alcohol do not develop a physical or psychological dependency. But 10% or more of the adult population that become alcoholic do so because of a complex biochemical process that is genetically predisposed, and occurs only in the brain of the alcoholic drinker. This substance closely resembles heroin and is called Tetrahydroisoquinoline (THIQ for short). It is not manufactured in the brain of normal social drinkers of alcohol. The disease then continues development as a result of a combination of factors, including: family history/genetics (95% determinant); home and work environment; cultural attitudes; opportunity to use alcohol.
After being absorbed by the bloodstream, alcohol passes quickly into the brain where it affects balance, judgment, memory and other functions. Over time, alcohol may damage the brain, heart, liver, stomach, intestines, and immune system, which guards against disease and infection. When you drink, it takes as little as 20 minutes for alcohol to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Alcohol passes from the stomach and small intestines to the bloodstream, where it is distributed to the rest of the body, including the brain. In normal brain activity, a gap separates two nerve cells. The brain is composed of billions of these cells, which control activities such as language and movement. The nerve cells depend on electrical signals which carry messages through natural chemical substances, called neurotransmitters, to carry messages across this gap. These chemicals will dock at receptor sites on the neighboring nerve cells. The electrical signal is ignited and the message continues its journey to the next cell. However, when brain cells are exposed to alcohol, the cells cannot function normally. Neurotransmitters cannot dock properly at nerve receptor sites. After repeated exposure, cells change so that they can function in the presence of alcohol. As a result, the cells no longer function normally in the absence of alcohol, creating the experience of withdrawal symptoms. It is at this point that the cells have become dependent on alcohol.
Some warning signs that alcoholism may be developing include: Increasing problems at work or at home; Occasional difficulty controlling the amount of alcohol consumed; Accidents and driving-related problems; Drinking at inappropriate times and places; Continuing to drink despite knowing that alcohol use has already contributed to physical or psychological problems. With repeated use, tolerance may develop. A person may require more alcohol to get the same effect.
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Glossary of Terms
- A condition in which a person is dependent on a particular substance and loses control over use of that substance.
- A disease marked by psychological and/or physical addiction to alcohol.
- Behavior in which family or friends unintentionally become accomplices to a substance abuser; reduces the chances that the alcoholic will recognize the problem.
- The elimination of a potentially dangerous substance from the body; in alcoholism, it should be performed under a physician's supervision, using medications to help ease the withdrawal symptoms because of the potential for serious complications.
- A drug that blocks the breakdown of alcohol in the body, so that ingestion of any alcohol will produce unpleasant symptoms such as vomiting, severe headache, blurred vision and lowered blood pressure. Its effect can discourage intake of alcohol.
- Behavior in which a person cover up for, or takes responsibility for, the self-destructive actions of another.
- A group meeting planned by family and close friends of a person with alcoholism, often in collaboration with a therapist, in order to confront the alcoholic's denial about the disease in a caring but forthright manner.
- A medication that may reduce the craving for alcohol and may lessen the alcoholic "high"; further study is still needed.
- The lifelong process of conquering dependence on a substance.
- Staying sober; not consuming alcohol.
- The need for increased amounts of a substance to obtain a desired effect or a decreased effect over time from the same quantity of a substance.
- Withdrawal Symptoms
- The body's reactions to the discontinuation of an addictive substance, such as alcohol; highly variable, they can include nausea, vomiting, irritability, inability to sleep and , in rare instances, hallucination and seizures.
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