Finally, the end of relapsing
Ever since the invention of alcohol and before the launch of new age treatment, people have been forced to rely upon traditional methods of achieving sobriety… everything from quitting cold turkey, to tooth grinding will power and “talk therapy” … and finally of course there’s the renowned 12 step programs introduced in the 1950s. AA in particular has been (and still remains for many) the saving grace for victims of alcoholism. The non-profit offers a magical support system coupled with a spiritually structured path for achieving sobriety.
From there, multiple state of the art recovery clinics and hospital inpatient/outpatient programs have been established with the intent of medically treating and permanently curing the “diseased” alcoholic.
Great… So why is the recovery rate at 20%-30% today even after rehab??? These people get formally admitted to a hospital for detoxification, go through any and all evaluations, sit in group therapy sessions, learn the 12 steps in AA, get sponsors to hold their hand through a sober transition, follow up further with outpatient counseling, and on and on and on. Then KABOOM… it’s right back the bottle!
How on earth can this happen after all of that effort and medical attention? Simple. Alcoholism is a disease and the treatments mentioned above are in reality only 20%-30% of the remedy to cure it successfully. This is merely because specialists are focusing too much on curing this disease mentally and not treating the actual physical damage that has occurred through ingesting ethanol (alcohol).
Here’s the discrepancy: Most likely the alcoholic has been drinking for quite a while to have come to a point where they can’t stop on their own. This happens because the brain has literally adopted and embedded the foreign substance (known as alcohol) as part of its intricate neurotransmitter family. The brain now depends on alcohol for normal everyday functioning. So by removing the alcohol from the brain would be almost as traumatic as tearing off an appendage!
Throughout the brain, alcohol has disrupted the natural release patterns of serotonin and dopamine (feel good transmitters) along with halting GABA functioning, the receptors responsible for keeping you calm and inhibiting agitation (1). By stopping the consumption of alcohol at this stage, the body becomes extremely revved up having nothing internal to provide any form of calming effect. This is where withdrawals or delirium tremens (DTs) set in: Without treatment these symptoms can include shaking, sweating, severe vomiting, hallucinations, and even seizures.
According to scientists, the brain has not only been severely damaged (as seen in the picture above), it takes at least six to ten months for the brain to repair and return to its natural functioning state. So now we can see why relapse is so common even passed the detoxification stage. Let’s say the alcoholic spends 30 days in rehab and then gets out… The brain will not begin to fully recover for another five months. Ouch, that’s another 1/2 of a year to endure chronic cravings. No wonder they say the first year of recovery is the most difficult for alcoholics. Relapse is the highest in the first year because the cravings are too much to bear.
So what does a doctor do when you have an infection? He/She prescribes an antibiotic. Synonymously, the brain has endured damage as well, so it too requires medication… not to directly heal it, but medications to indirectly keep the alcoholic from consuming any MORE alcohol, hence giving the brain a chance to recover over the those next six – ten months. If you are suffering from alcohol, please seek medical attention as soon as possible.
On an end note… some enlightening news: Alcoholism that is treated with medication coupled with medication coupled with traditional talk therapies (including AA) possesses a 90% recovery rate… Hurray!
source: The Examiner