Drinking alcohol is a common pleasure but for a variety of reasons, some people drink too much and it becomes a risk to their health.
How much alcohol can I drink safely?
Alcohol is measured in units. A unit of alcohol is equivalent to 10ml of pure alcohol, which is roughly half a pint of normal strength lager, a small glass of wine or a single measure (25ml) of spirits. The recommended daily limits of alcohol consumption are no more than three to four units a day for men and no more than two to three units a day for women.
How do I know if I'm drinking too much alcohol?
Some signs that you could be misusing alcohol include regularly exceeding the recommended alcohol limit, feeling that you should cut down on your drinking, being annoyed when people criticize you for drinking too much and needing a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover. Being unable to remember what happened the previous night is also an indicator.
How is alcohol misuse treated?
How alcohol misuse is treated will depend on how much a person is drinking. Treatment options depend on the nature and extent of the problem. For example for the individual who is physically dependent it may require hospitalization and assisted detoxification with the use of medications for a comfortable withdrawal. Most individuals benefit from counseling : including self-help groups and talking therapies and sometimes medication to help reduce the cravings for alcohol. Sometimes longer periods of rehabilitation may be required especially for those with chronic dependency with multiple relapses.
There are several medications used to treat alcohol misuse. Some are used to reduce withdrawal symptoms during detoxification and others help you stay sober during the long process of recovery by reducing cravings or stopping you gaining pleasure from drinking alcohol. Occasionally medications can also be used as a deterrent.
Counseling & Therapy.
Most sufferers find that talking to trained healthcare professional to be a useful and important part of treatment. Therapy can help you understand the reasons for your drinking, and give you skills to control or stop the urge to drink.
Your partner or family may also be invited to attend counselling with you and be involved in your treatment.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that emphasizes a problem-solving approach to alcohol dependence. It helps to identify unhelpful and unrealistic thoughts and beliefs that may be contributing towards your alcohol dependence.
Group Therapy and Day Care.
Treatment for alcohol abuse and dependence usually includes group therapy within a day care setting and can provide regular, intense support and treatment for those who cannot stay away from home. It provides the opportunity for people struggling with dependence to discuss their alcohol dependence amongst others with the same problem and to explore the reasons why it they became dependent and how best to overcome it. Day care settings also provide the opportunity for patients to attend on a daily or regular basis to receive the support they need to help manage abstinence and develop skills to prevent relapse.
If you're a heavy drinker, you may need to be supervised by health professionals while you give up. This is partly because the physical withdrawal symptoms associated with stopping drinking can carry risks. Detoxification or "detox" is a planned withdrawal from drinking alcohol and may involve taking a short course of medicine to help prevent withdrawal symptoms. Patients simultaneously attend a group therapy programme to develop an understanding of their problem and skills to combat their desire to drink.
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