Alcoholism is one of the most common addictions that we treat. Alcohol has been consumed for many years and people lose sight of the fact that if it were invented today it would be a class A drug and would be prohibited. In the old days – before anaesthetics were invented – someone would be given a half bottle of alcohol before a surgeon removed their leg. This is the power of alcohol, which today people drink on a daily basis.

The heavy drinking alcoholic is normally physically dependent. They will suffer from withdrawals such as shakes and dry heaves; they will not remember conversations or entire portions of their day or night. This heavy drinking alcoholic is unable to function without alcohol and may well require their first drink early in the morning.

The emotionally dependent alcoholic is harder to pick out. Their consumption may not be so obvious but they require alcohol just to be able to face day to day events such as work or a social event.

Most people with an alcohol problem require a “point of crisis” to happen before they will seek help. Alcoholism can take years to develop. Gradually, over time, the person develops an increased tolerance. The preoccupation with and increased use of alcohol turns it into the most important relationship that a person has.

Alcoholics will often say that they drink because they are depressed, anxious or stressed. The fact is that if the person becomes abstinent for a period of time, only 10% of them are actually suffering from these conditions.

Alcoholics can be secretive and hide their drinking, stash alcohol around the house, office or car. They very often minimise the amount they are drinking. The consequences can be devastating – they miss days at work, miss out on promotions, get laid off, lose friends, tell lies, run up debts, argue with loved ones, abuse, violence, their children suffer. They develop medical problems, major organs are affected, and they can even develop cognitive problems.

At Addiction Care treatment starts with the client being sober and abstaining from alcohol. Therapy explores the emotional triggers or life’s issues that lead the person to use alcohol as an “anaesthetic”. They learn to throw away the mask that they have hidden behind and in sobriety are able to handle life on life’s terms. Relationships return and they become functioning humans once again.