The alcohol addiction counseling that is available today is much further advanced than the primitive approach used previously for treating alcohol addiction.

Alcohol addiction has existed for many years and is widely known as "alcoholism". Drinking, occasional overindulgence and getting a little 'merry' is nothing new, but most individuals do not take their drinking to the level of alcoholism. Those that do however, frequently see their lives falling apart and, all too often, find themselves in an early grave.

Until the establishment of Alcoholics Anonymous, a non-profit fellowship of recovering alcoholics trying to stay sober one day at a time, there was not much hope for those in the grips of severe alcoholism.

Most alcoholics were bundled off to mental institutions to go through delusion tremors (DTs) - a dangerous state which the body goes into during alcohol withdrawal - or forced into religion as a cure for their problem. Yet none of these 'cures' helped. As soon as the alcoholic would leave the institution or be alone, even for the shortest while, their return to drinking would be quick and imminent.

What is Alcoholism?

Thankfully, a lot more is understood about alcoholism in the present day. Although some specialists differ in schools of thought, it is widely believed to be an incurable disease that can be helped by alcohol addiction counseling.

The disease is said to be progressive and fatal, yet can be arrested if the alcoholic ceases to drink and remains abstinent. Because of the disease of alcoholism, an alcoholic can not stop through their own will, even when their only wish is be abstinent. However, it is possible for someone without the disease to act in a way where their alcohol consumption is too much over a long period, but they are able to stop when they feel that enough is enough. The alcoholic can not. Many people resort to alcohol to 'drown' their sorrows, but it is only the alcoholic who will carry on for years possibly and will only be able to stop through getting necessary help.

Some believe that people are born alcoholics and that once the first drink is consumed, they begin the slide down the slippery slope descending into alcoholism. Many ask "how does one catch the disease of alcoholism?" No one can be sure, some say that it is hereditary and genetic, some say that it is appropriated through childhood problems, some say that it is a combination of the two.

The Symptoms of Alcoholism

The symptoms of alcoholism vary according to the stage to which the alcoholic has progressed. Some alcoholics may not have progressed to the stage of needing to drink in the morning or to steal to fund their habit. But never the less, if the disease is present, they are a ticking time bomb.

A person who plans to have one drink and eventually drinks ten in one night is not necessarily an alcoholic, although this is a major symptom. The inability to have control over one's drinking once one drink has been consumed is a key symptom of alcoholism.

There is a saying which says "one is too many and a thousand is never enough." This could not be truer for an alcoholic. Usually the alcoholic will have some form of control if they are completely abstinent from alcohol or any other mind or mood altering substances. However, once one drink is consumed, all control is lost and what was intended to be an innocent drink turns into a binge lasting weeks, even months and years.

The main symptoms of alcohol addiction are obviously a vast consumption of alcohol, especially at strange times of day and at inappropriate times. An alcoholic who has reached full mental and physical dependence will suffer from DT's when without a drink. Morning tremors are a big sign of a problem and are usually followed by a drink or many to stop the shaking and hysteria, allowing the alcoholic to function on a minimal level. Secretive drinking, lying about consumption and extremely unreliable behavior are also key warning signs that someone may be an alcoholic. Individuals may be prone to major depression, violence and extremely unstable behavior accompanied by huge character changes.

The Treatment Options

Treating alcohol addiction should not only deal with the symptoms, i.e. the drinking. The drinking is not the root problem. It is a symptom. The problem sits within the alcoholic themselves, not in the alcohol.

Rehabilitation centers are a good place for an alcoholic to receive treatment, provided they offer individual therapy, group therapy and a program of recovery so that the alcoholic may remain abstinent when they leave.

Many newer treatment centers encourage patients to work a Non Twelve Step program, such as the one offered here. This type of addiction recovery program offers a long-term, inpatient approach to rehabilitation. The Non 12-step methodology encourages spirituality, not religion.

Another key aspect of recovery is a healthy body. Proper diet and regular exercise is very important to a recovering alcoholic's well being. After years of incredibly unhealthy habits and brutal treatment of their bodies, an alcoholic will feel great improvements in mood and overall well being.

If an alcoholic can stop drinking, that is the first step towards recovery and abstinence. However, stopping drinking is just the start to arresting this cunning and powerful disease.

Alcoholism can be fatal if not addressed and will get progressively worse. Alcohol addiction counseling, therapy, healthy living and a program of recovery are the best chance an alcoholic has of recovering. However, at the end of the day, it is the alcoholic's choice to recover and follow these steps to recovery.

Author's Bio: 

The author is a licensed social worker who has overseen agency improvement projects for a private rehabilitation center, assisted on the assessment group of multiple national, federally-funded presentation efforts, and helped form data collection standards for government child welfare policies.