Ghost writing on Addiction
In the past, substance addiction was treated as a behavior problem or an otherwise purely psychological dependence. Today, medical science recognizes actual biological changes in the brain affect and possibly even cause the behaviors of addiction.
Biological and environmental factors, such as genetics and social customs, also play a role. Regardless of the root cause, addiction and addictive behavior takes a great toll on the patient physically, emotionally, socially, and economically. Family, friends and co-workers are also affected by the patient’s disease. If ignored or untreated, addiction can have deadly consequences.
Alcohol dependence or abuse is one of the most prevalent forms of addiction, affecting nearly 18 million Americans every day.
* Al-Anon and Alateen: www.al-anon.alateen.org
* Alcoholics Anonymous: www.alcoholics-anonymous.org
* National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACOA): www.nacoa.org
* National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI)/Substance
Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):
* National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA): www.niaaa.nih.gov
* Secular Organizations for Sobriety (S.O.S.): www.secularsobriety.org
* Self-Management and Recovery Training (S.M.A.R.T.): www.smartrecovery.org
What is alcohol dependence?
Alcohol dependence is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) as a “maladaptive pattern of alcohol use, leading to clinically significant impairment or distress.” Alcohol dependence is listed as a disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), a professional book used by clinicians and researchers to determine diagnostic criteria for mental disorders.
Approximately 18 million people in the U.S. are dependent on or abuse alcohol, and 50 percent of these individuals are alcohol dependent. Approximately four percent of the U.S. population ages 18 or older are considered alcohol dependent. In the United States, an estimated 2.2 million people receive treatment for alcohol dependence or abuse each year. Alcohol dependence is a tremendous strain on society as well as individuals. Currently, alcohol dependence and abuse costs the United States $185 billion dollars each year, with health care costs for untreated alcoholics exceeding 100% of costs for non-alcoholics.
Alcohol dependence cannot be cured, but it can be treated. While few people will recover without assistance, treatment and support helps most individuals achieve a life without alcohol.
Is alcohol dependence a medical disease?
There was a time when alcohol dependence was considered to be a failure of will. Now, we understand that it is a serious, chronic disease with underlying neurological and genetic factors.
How is alcohol dependence treated?
Different patients respond to different treatments. The course of therapy should be individually tailored as determined by a health care professional. Experts in the field increasingly recommend the use of medication and psychosocial support–counseling, self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, behavioral treatments such as motivation enhancement therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and 12-step facilitation therapy—in the treatment of alcohol dependence. The NIAAA recently issued new guidelines supporting the combination of medicines and professional counseling as part of an integrated treatment regimen. The FDA has approved four daily oral medications for the treatment of alcohol dependence.
Adherence to a daily oral medication regimen—also known as patient compliance—is a general problem in medicine and is especially challenging in the context of alcohol dependence. In alcohol dependence, additional challenges include patient motivation toward treatment, impaired cognitive or functional ability, and denial.