The nature of treatment depends on the severity of an individual’s alcoholism and the resources that are available in his or her community. Some people are able to cut back to a moderate level of drinking with help from a counsellor. People who are addicted to alcohol may need medical treatment and may need to stay in a hospital or treatment centre.
Many people with alcohol problems do not recognise when their drinking gets out of hand. The ideal approach to treatment is to help the person realise how much their alcohol use is harming their life and those around them. Alcohol is most damaging to the stomach. It reduces absorption of nutrients and causes damage to the lining of the stomach. Not all alcoholics ‘stumble down’ in public places, lose their jobs or cause traffic accidents. There are studies that show that alcohol in small amounts can have a protective effect against certain cardiovascular diseases.
But the amount of alcohol has varied from study to study, amounting to one drink a day or less. This cannot be construed as, ‘not drinking every day, but taking six to seven drinks on the weekend’. There are better ways to protect your heart like exercising, not smoking and decreasing saturated and trans-fat intake. Given the increased stress and toxic overload in today’s context, drinking alcohol only adds to the toxin intake and makes achieving good health even more difficult.
Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and the founder of Health Total, a nutrition counselling centre.
Getting past alcoholism
One can follow these steps to curb and stop alcoholism:
* Finding out reasons to stop drinking alcohol — like how it would be beneficial to you if you quit, how it would prevent or reduce health problems that are made worse by alcohol abuse, such as liver damage.
* Setting a date to stop alcohol — at first reducing the number of drinks and then finally completely stopping drinking.
* Taking help from others like friends and family members — the involvement of family members is important to the recovery process and many programs also offer brief marital counseling and family therapy as part of the treatment process.
* Diseases associated with alcoholism may be avoided by improving the nutritional status of the body, provided you decide to avoid alcohol when you begin the treatment.
* Go on a week-long raw juice diet to remove toxins from your body quickly.
* Avoid fried foods and saturated fats as they stress the liver.
* Take a multi-vitamin and multi-mineral supplement with zinc to help the body repair itself.
* Eat a nutrient-dense diet of organically grown (if possible) fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and whole pulses.
* Get plenty of rest when you are going through the detox.