Making Sense and Use of Alcoholism Treatment in the United States and Europe in the 21st Century

Alcoholism Is Common

Alcoholism is a common problem. Those of us who do not drink as much as the next person observe drinking as a casual event among family and friends.  Drinking alcohol is done for pleasure, whether alone or with others. Alcohol comes in the form of wine, beer, and liquor and is found in many a grocery store or convenience store.

Alcoholism in the United States Vs Europe

Alcoholism treatment in the United States focuses on abstinence.  Europeans focus on learning to control their drinking. This is why alcoholism is hard to quit for some—due to the nature of its chemical structure. Alcohol is made from sugar. The true chemical composition of wine is that of fermented sugar. This has the added quality of making one drunk when drinking. In Europe, some feel that alcoholism is not a problem if someone has gone months without drinking. But in the United States, we consider it a brain disease with an impact on physiology. We are aware that it causes physiological addiction, meaning people who drink need more of it to feel its effects.

Medication Substitutes

Medication is a great substitute for drinking, since people turn to drinking to cope with mental stress from mental health problems like anxiety, and depression, or worse still, schizophrenia and bipolar 1 disorder, or schizoaffective. Many schizoaffectives drink to manage symptoms. Alcohol consumption does not help these disorders. It only makes matters worse. Alcohol use can be treated in many different ways.

Once You Start, You Can’t Stop

Alcoholics start drinking and cannot stop. An alcoholic only knows that the substance is making them “feel better” by providing them with a sense of calm. In Europe, the statistical data on the population that has alcoholism is 5-6% of men and 1-2% of women.

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Some people do not even know they have alcoholism due to the general ignorance on the subject. 58% of adult men in the United States have reported drinking in the last thirty days, while 46% of adult women drink in the last thirty days.

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Risk Factors

Risk factors that contribute to alcoholism are having a highly stressed way of life. Also, being abused in any way, having psychiatric disorders like depression, having diabetes, and lastly, growing up in a family full of dysfunction. Such risk factors for individuals compound the possibility of developing alcoholism. Alcoholism and drug use can also impact motivation. Alcoholism makes people relaxed. This, in turn, decreases the stress response, which can be motivating to get going on a task.


The neurotransmitters affected by alcohol are dopamine, GABA, and endogenous opiates or those that are like morphine, and also serotonin.   This is why alcohol is so hard to quit. This is why a dietary supplement in pill form like GABA can help someone with alcoholism to stop drinking. Anxiety has a tendency to come back when drinking is reduced. American society has a party-culture that pressures people into drinking. People drink because they feel they can. They do not see consequences for their behavior either. Getting drunk is something that can cause overall harm to the human body.


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Drinking in Europe is a different animal than in the United States but it is still done in similar ways. Relapse can happen in either part of the world-due to demographics like age, ethnic group or weight. Personality factors are also included, such as the degree a person is dependent on alcohol to function. Functional alcoholics can drink their two glasses of wine, and go to bed. Then they wake up the next day like nothing happened. Alcoholism is a mental illness as defined in the World Health Organization ICD-10 and the DSM-IV-TR as a mental health issue. The simplified irony is that drinkers drink to cover their mental illness. Some swear they can control their drinking. However, this is only an impression they want to give to other people.

More than One Option

Abstinence is seen as a religious idea at times. People turn to their Higher Power to control their addiction in AA. Detoxification is hard to get done but worth it. In rehabilitation facilities, the patient going through detoxification is supported by prescribed medication. In the United States, some feel that treatment protocols are not respected if there is a lack of scientific data gathered on situations like Alcoholics Anonymous and its many functions as a support group for a recovering alcoholic or addict. Alcoholism is possible to treat anywhere in the world with current treatments.


Rehabilitation is a good thing for many who need help with going through withdrawals. This is no easy task. Group therapy is one of the methods used to help someone learn to function without being physiologically dependent on alcohol to continue living. Alcoholism makes a person imagine they can help with their mental health issues this way. However, you cannot help having mental illness or alcoholism existing concurrently.

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Successful Treatment

The outcome of successful alcohol treatment in the United States is if that person can stay away from alcohol for a year or more. In order to get expert help, a person has to want help. Some people with alcoholism do not want to be well, they want to continue drinking, seeing no problem with what they are doing. Alcohol use can aggravate mental health symptoms. Indeed, it makes one more manic than they set out to be.   Some people are afraid to function sober.  Alcohol can cause any number of health problems. In college environments, drinking is a part of the constant party. Peer pressure does not look for those to stay sober. Alcoholism in Europe has four major categories; unsanctioned use, hazardous use, dysfunctional use and harmful use.

Alcohol And Its Many Uses

Unsanctioned use is defined as a religious culture banning the use of substances, religious culture such as that of Judaism and Islam, which do not allow the use of alcohol that other Christian subcultures such as Catholics allow for. Think about First Communion being an excuse to give children a taste of wine. Hazardous use is the next tier of use, which is defined as usage of a drug resulting in harmful consequences to physical health, or drunk driving. Dysfunctional use is defined as substance abuse leading to impacted psychological use causing affected social impairments.

Addiction Definitions

Harmful use is the last level of addiction as defined by the World Health Organization. The substance of addiction is used to cause damage to the physical body or aggravate mental illness. The DSM-IV in America has a classification for alcoholism. Alcohol dependence is defined as maladaptive use of quitting alcohol. And it is hard because the more of the substance used, the harder it gets to quit.

Support Groups

This is why environments of fellowship with Alcoholics Anonymous can be used to help an addict quit, as well as to help them maintain their sobriety. Many schizoaffectives drink to numb their feelings anyway, to numb their mental health symptoms. Using alcohol a lot to stay calm is something addicts do to try to stay as calm as they can stay.

Supporting the Act of Quitting

An alcoholic can be in environments conducive to them quitting. They want to quit; therefore, they can quit if they put themselves in the mindset to quit. Dysfunctional alcoholism has obvious impacts at work, or in school. College is the time for alcoholism to become apparent, with individuals needing to look at their problem in depth, forced to decide to quit or not. The decision to quit has to be backed up by peers, which is why groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Adult Children of Alcoholics are useful organizations to many an addict who finds support in quitting. Quitting is not easy. Quitting can happen with a lot of thinking being done on the subject.

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Residential Treatment

Residential treatment programs are there to help someone with an inpatient detox stay. Alcohol detox for a mentally ill person with a concurrent diagnosis involves substituting alcohol with medication such as a benzodiazepine anti-anxiety medication. Treatment of alcoholism is about reducing its use. At any rate, a person addicted to alcoholism needs to escape environments like triggering relationships that keep them stuck. If the expectation in that traumatic relationship is for them to drink, then they need to spend time apart instead of being stuck in codependent patterns.

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Why Stop?

It is important to stop drinking only because a drinker needs to stop the process that has them continuing to do the same thing repeatedly expecting the same results. Your entire body is dependent on alcohol when you drink. An alcoholic needs their fix because they feel terrible if they don’t put away a certain amount, as they ought to.

Enablers, Flying Monkeys,  Etc… Oh My

They have enablers in their circle of friends who enable drinking, allowing them to get away with overdoing alcohol consistently. Alcoholism can only be stopped if the drinker makes a concrete decision to stop.

In-patient rehabilitation stays are designed to help a person quit drinking with medical support. Alcoholism is something that is perfectly treatable in the 21st century. It is up to the drinker to step through the door that gets them help.

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Withdrawal symptoms are all about hyperthermia, or a higher body temperature, nausea, vomiting, tremors, sweating, agitation and anxiety, and disorientation. Severe withdrawals are characterized by tactile, auditory, and visual hallucinations. Now, if a client has both schizoaffective and alcoholism, they are besieged by hallucinations until they get proper schizoaffective medication to treat their disorder. Stopping alcohol is no easy task. That is why some people do not want to try.

Alcoholism Treatment

Becoming a sober person through alcohol treatment involves setting boundaries.   Some will forget and ask you if you want to drink. It may mean shaking up your friendship scene if some friends still expect the sober person to drink. Alcoholism is something that someone can recover from in a rehabilitation-oriented environment. It may mean changing partners, it may mean making new friends. Some people may not like the changes a person is making. A person in need of treatment can make the effort to stop drinking. It is worth a concentrated effort as not drinking has an affect on the body. The body itself is worth saving from complications such as cirrhosis, and liver disease. Drinking can worsen diabetes, make life difficult, and have an impact on everything related to the physical body. It can make a person feel better in the short-term but have a longer impact on someone’s well-being.  Getting drunk for the sake of drinking is, in general, unhealthful.

When Does it Start?

Not drinking is easy to maintain, but alcoholism starts in college or high school for most people only because they want to continue drinking. This is why, in Europe, they work on making someone drink less.  But at the same time, abstinence helps the body adapt to sober living. Alcoholics Anonymous believes in giving your drinking to your Higher Power, whatever that may be if you believe or not. Staying sober is necessary for a healthful lifestyle. Three glasses of wine a day is an excessive number far above the legal limit in California anyway.

Acting on Limitations

The act of stopping alcohol use is a deeply personal situation, but for some people the choice may not be their own. To stop alcohol is a task that brave people decide to take the first step towards. Alcohol is something that is not necessary to take into a drinker’s body. There are functional limitations to how much alcohol a person can tolerate. Some are born with a naturally high tolerance. Drinking too much is something that is hard to control.

Stop Drinking For Good

To find the courage to stop drinking is something that can follow a person for the rest of their lives. Those who want to stop drinking make that choice, while those who continue are going to keep drinking too much since they have trouble with the concept of stopping. Rehabilitation facilities can help a person stop drinking in the immediate present in a safe way without being harsh about it.

Alcohol Isn’t Good For  You At All

Alcohol is just plain not good for most people. Stopping drinking helps wrinkles on the face. Stopping alcohol consumption helps you live longer and the ex-drinker can then get on medication so as to function better. Alcohol is something that leads to a dead end to everything.  If a drinker quits now, they add years to their lives.

Works Cited

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