For the average person who does not suffer from alcohol addiction, a drink every now and again is both normal and non-problematic. For the alcohol addict though, a single drink every few days is not enough. The addict’s body has become dependent on alcohol for daily functioning, while the mind is convinced that it is not possible to get through the day without drinking.
Drug addiction is defined as a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences.3 It is possible to be physically dependent upon a drug without having an addiction to the substance. However, when addiction is an issue, the negative consequences experienced during drug abuse become overwhelming, which makes it impossible for the patient to function in relationships with others, at work, at school or in the community.
Drug addiction is a problem whose effects are felt in every corner of the country; however, this means that there are also treatment facilities right across the UK, and wherever you are you will not be too far away from the treatment you need. Your first port of call should always be your GP who will assess your situation and who can tell you what options exist for you locally.
The path to drug addiction begins with the voluntary act of taking drugs. But over time, a person's ability to choose not to do so becomes compromised. Seeking and taking the drug becomes compulsive. This is mostly due to the effects of long-term drug exposure on brain function. Addiction affects parts of the brain involved in reward and motivation, learning and memory, and control over behavior.
Problem drinking soon progresses to physical dependency. At this stage, you have probably developed a tolerance to alcohol and require more of it to feel the same level of enjoyment as before. This increased consumption can cause your body to get used to alcohol. When you are not using it, or the effects begin to wear off, you will experience physical withdrawal symptoms such as a rapid heartbeat, sweating, tremors, and nausea. Alcohol Detox Treatment
Anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts are all common results of alcohol dependency. This is because prolonged heavy drinking effects the neurotransmitters in the brain which regulate mood. Two of the most important neurotransmitters for mood are dopamine and serotonin, which are responsible for creating the positive feelings vital for a healthy mind. Research shows that the levels of both serotonin and dopamine are often heavily altered in the brains of alcoholics, leading to deteriorating mental health and, often, a negative spiral of alcohol use.
Nalmefene, an opiate antagonist that is similar in its chemical structure to naltrexone, is one of the most recent drugs being investigated for the treatment of alcoholism. Like naltrexone (sold as ReVia, Depade, or Vivitrol), nalmefene deprives the person struggling with substance use of the pleasurable feelings associated with drinking. But nalmefene is less toxic to the liver than naltrexone. As of 2013, nalmefene was still undergoing clinical trials through the U.S. National Institutes of Health before receiving FDA approval. From Rehab to a Body Bag | Dying for Treatment: VICE Reports (Full Length)