What happens in the brain during alcohol withdrawal? GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is the main calming neurotransmitter of the brain. GABA and adrenaline are supposed to be in balance during normal brain functioning. Frequent drinking causes the brain to produce less GABA, because the brain begins to rely on alcohol for part of its calming. So, frequent drinking causes your brain chemistry to be out of balance with an excess of adrenaline. When you suddenly stop drinking, your brain doesn’t have enough GABA neurotransmitter to balance the excess of adrenaline, which causes withdrawal symptoms.
Just as some people with diabetes or asthma may have flare-ups of their disease, a relapse to drinking can be seen as a temporary set-back to full recovery and not a complete failure. Seeking professional help can prevent relapse — behavioral therapies can help people develop skills to avoid and overcome triggers, such as stress, that might lead to drinking. Most people benefit from regular checkups with a treatment provider. Medications also can deter drinking during times when individuals may be at greater risk of relapse (e.g., divorce, death of a family member).
An additional cognitively-based model of substance abuse recovery has been offered by Aaron Beck, the father of cognitive therapy and championed in his 1993 book Cognitive Therapy of Substance Abuse. This therapy rests upon the assumption addicted individuals possess core beliefs, often not accessible to immediate consciousness (unless the patient is also depressed). These core beliefs, such as "I am undesirable," activate a system of addictive beliefs that result in imagined anticipatory benefits of substance use and, consequentially, craving. Once craving has been activated, permissive beliefs ("I can handle getting high just this one more time") are facilitated. Once a permissive set of beliefs have been activated, then the individual will activate drug-seeking and drug-ingesting behaviors. The cognitive therapist's job is to uncover this underlying system of beliefs, analyze it with the patient, and thereby demonstrate its dysfunctional. As with any cognitive-behavioral therapy, homework assignments and behavioral exercises serve to solidify what is learned and discussed during treatment.
Take an inventory of how you experience the craving. Do this by sitting in a comfortable chair with your feet flat on the floor and your hands in a comfortable position. Take a few deep breaths and focus your attention inward. Allow your attention to wander through your body. Notice where in your body you experience the craving and what the sensations are like. Notice each area where you experience the urge, and tell yourself what you are experiencing. For example, “My craving is in my mouth and nose and in my stomach.”
Drug rehabilitation is the process of medical or psychotherapeutic treatment for dependency on psychoactive substances such as alcohol, prescription drugs, and street drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin or amphetamines. The general intent is to enable the patient to confront substance dependence, if present, and cease substance abuse to avoid the psychological, legal, financial, social, and physical consequences that can be caused, especially by extreme abuse. Treatment includes medication for depression or other disorders, counseling by experts and sharing of experience with other addicts.
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.
Treating addiction – whether at rehab or not – can be divided into three main phases. Firstly is detoxification, the process by which an addict’s system is cleansed of substances of abuse. Once this cleansing process has taken place, and the immediate pressures of drug dependency have been lifted, the addict will then need to address the psychological aspects of their addiction, including understanding the root causes and seeking to put measures in place to ensure that they do not stumble back into addiction by relapsing.
Patient-centered, collaborative therapies like motivational interviewing (MI) have proven to be more effective at retaining patients in alcohol treatment than older, more confrontational styles. In a study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, alcoholics who received this encouraging, patient-centered form of therapy during the intake process were more likely to remain in treatment than those who were approached using traditional therapeutic styles.
If faith-based rehabilitation and professional rehab clinics are not viable options for you, look into state funded free alcohol addiction treatment. These programs are entirely funded by tax dollars and vary from one state to another. Some offer long-term treatment including residential care, while others offer only short-term treatment consisting primarily of detoxification. You won't know what your state can offer you until you ask. It may just be your ticket to sobriety.
Psychological dependency is addressed in many drug rehabilitation programs by attempting to teach the patient new methods of interacting in a drug-free environment. In particular, patients are generally encouraged, or possibly even required, to not associate with peers who still use the addictive substance. Twelve-step programs encourage addicts not only to stop using alcohol or other drugs, but to examine and change habits related to their addictions. Many programs emphasize that recovery is a permanent process without culmination. For legal drugs such as alcohol, complete abstention—rather than attempts at moderation, which may lead to relapse—is also emphasized ("One is too many, and a thousand is never enough.") Whether moderation is achievable by those with a history of abuse remains a controversial point, but is generally considered unsustainable.
The methamphetamine binge is followed by a phase called “tweaking,” a state characterized by restlessness, anxiety, paranoia, agitation, sleeplessness, and intense cravings. “Tweakers” may experience delusional thinking, psychotic episodes, hallucinations, and violent impulses. Severe itching and the urge to harm oneself are common at this point. Methamphetamine withdrawal is complicated by the fact that many heavy users are malnourished, dehydrated, and sleep deprived. Meth-induced psychosis can continue for weeks or months after the addict stops using. In a case study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, one methamphetamine addict continued to have auditory hallucinations, fears of persecution, and paranoid delusions for a year after treatment. A rehab jail for heroin addicts