Alcoholism is a chronic, often progressive disease. Left untreated, alcoholism can be fatal. Alcoholism starts with the individual taking an occasional drink. This gradually becomes a habit and leads to a state where the person cannot do without alcohol. Some people drink alcohol to enliven social gatherings under social pressure; for others, it is an escape from the responsibilities or stresses of life. Alcoholism and alcohol abuse cause major social, economic and public health problems. Various treatments are available, and self-help groups can provide ongoing support for people recovering from alcoholism.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:
Some of the indications of alcoholism include:Drinking alone or in secret Being unable to limit the amount of alcohol Not remembering conversations or commitments, Making a ritual of having drinks before, with or after dinner and becoming annoyed when this ritual is disturbed or questioned Losing interest in activities and hobbies that used to bring pleasure Feeling a need or compulsion to drink Irritability when your usual drinking time nears, especially if alcohol isn't available Keeping alcohol in unlikely places at home, at work or in the car Having legal problems or problems with relationships, employment or finances Experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, sweating and shaking if you don't drink
Alcohol addiction - physical dependence on alcohol occurs gradually as drinking alcohol alters the balance of some chemicals in the brain inhibits impulsiveness and excites the nervous system.
Genetics - Certain genetic factors may cause a person to be vulnerable to alcoholism or other addictions.
Emotional state - High levels of stress, anxiety or emotional pain can lead some people to drink alcohol. Certain stress hormones may be associated with alcoholism.
Psychological factors -. People having low-self esteem or depression and having friends or a close partner who drinks regularly may get used to drinking habit
Social and cultural factors – Some of the social factors like advertising and the media may induce people to drink.
Alcohol depresses the central nervous system. In sufficient amounts, alcohol impairs speech and muscle coordination. Too much alcohol can severely depress the vital centers of the brain. A heavy drinking binge may even cause a life-threatening coma.Over time, excessive alcohol use can cause fatigue and short-term memory loss, as well as weakness and paralysis of eye muscles. Other severe health effects may include:
Liver disorders - Drinking heavily can cause alcoholic hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver. Signs and symptoms may include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and tenderness, fever, yellowing of the skin (jaundice) and sometimes confusion.
Gastrointestinal problems - Alcohol can result in inflammation of the lining of the stomach (gastritis). Heavy drinking can also damage the pancreas.
Cardiovascular problems - Excessive drinking can lead to high blood pressure and damage the heart muscle which in turn increases the risk of heart failure or stroke.
Diabetes complications - Alcohol prevents the release of glucose from the liver and can increase the risk of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). This is dangerous if you have diabetes and are already taking insulin to lower your blood sugar level.
Birth defects - Alcohol use during pregnancy may cause fetal alcohol syndrome. This condition results in birth defects, including a small head, heart defects, a shortening of the eyelids and various other abnormalities.
Bone loss - Alcohol may interfere with the production of new bone. This can lead to thinning bones and an increased risk of fractures.
Neurological complications - Excessive drinking can affect the nervous system, causing numbness of the hands and feet, disordered thinking and dementia.
Increased risk of cancer- Chronic alcohol abuse has been linked to a higher risk of cancer of the esophagus, larynx, liver and colon.
Treatment of the alcoholic can be divided into 3 stages. Initially, the person has to be medically stabilized. Next, he must undergo a detoxification process, followed by long-term abstinence and rehabilitation. An alcohol-sensitizing drug called disulfiram (Antabuse) may be a strong deterrent.
DIET FOR ALCOHOLISM RECOVERY:
The most effective way to treat alcoholism is to build up the body's nutritional integrity so as to prevent craving for stimulants like drinks. The best substitute drink for alcohol is a glass of fresh fruit juice. The patient should drink juices and eat candy or other snacks if he feels a craving for a stimulant. After the initial fast of juices, the patient should take an optimum diet of vital nutrients consisting of wholegrain cereals, nuts, seeds and sprouts, fresh fruits, and vegetables. All refined foods such as sugar, white rice, macaroni products, strong condiments, white flour, and meat should be avoided. Smoking must be avoided as it increases the desire for alcohol. During the first ten days of the 'juice fast', a warm-water enema should be taken everyday to cleanse the bowels. Plenty of rest and outdoor physical exercises are also necessary.
The most important home remedy for alcoholism is an exclusive diet is grapes. Since this fruit contains the purest form of alcohol, it is an ideal yet healthy substitute for alcohol. Alcoholics should take three meals a day of fresh grapes at five-hourly intervals. The success of this treatment depends on the determination of the alcoholic to stop drinking. Using ApplesApples are another effective remedy for alcoholism. A generous intake of apples helps remove intoxication and reduces the craving for wines and other intoxicating liquors.
Dates are considered beneficial in the treatment of alcoholism. The patient should drink half a glass of water in which four or five dates have been rubbed together. This remedy should be taken twice daily for a month. It will bring definite relief.
Using Bitter Gourd
The juice of the leaves of bitter gourd is an antidote for alcohol intoxication. It is also useful for a liver damaged due to alcoholism. Three teaspoons of this juice, mixed with a glass of butter milk, should be taken every morning for a month.
The juice of raw celery has also been found useful in alcoholism. It exercises a sobering effect on the patient and is an antidote to alcohol. Half a glass of celery juice mixed with an equal quantity of water should be taken once daily for a month.
Evening Primrose- Evening primrose is often used as oil extracted from the seed of this herb. This is commonly called EPO.
Ginseng -American and Asian ginseng may help treat alcohol intoxication because each of these herbs speeds up the metabolism (break down) of alcohol.
Milk Thistle is used for the treatment of alcoholic liver disease. People with the mildest form of alcohol-related liver damage seem to improve the most. Milk thistle is less effective for those with severe liver disease such as cirrhosis.
St. John's Wort is used as a remedy for those with depression and alcoholism share certain similarities in brain chemical activity. Additional herbs that an herbal specialist might consider to support you while undergoing treatment for alcoholism include:
Dandelion is used for liver-related problems and as a nutritional support because it is rich in vitamins and minerals. It tends to work well with milk thistle.
Skullcap is used for tension and anxiety and this herb may help ease the withdrawal process.
Arsenicum album is used for anxiety and compulsiveness, with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
Nux vomica is recommended for irritability and compulsiveness with constipation, nausea, and vomiting
Lachesis is best for cravings for alcohol, headaches, and difficulty swallowing
Staphysagria is used for angry individuals who tend to suppress their emotions and may have been abused physically, sexually, or psychologically in the past .
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