Very few people are aware of how thin the line is, between social drinking and what is considered alcohol abuse. If the signs of abuse are ignored, the risk of developing alcoholism significantly increases.
Symptoms of alcohol abuse can be recognised by the following:
We drink more than planned
Memory loss or loss of consciousness after an all-night drinking
Lying to others about the amount of alcohol consumed
We drink to relieve stress, relax or improve mood
Other indicators that alcohol abuse no longer concerns only us, but also affects the quality of life of our loved ones are; our family and friends comment more frequently on our behaviour when drinking and the consequences of our drinking, partly expressing concern and part disapproval; we begin to neglect our daily duties and normal life activities (children, work, school) and as a result our drinking starts to hinder our relationships with other people which can lead to the breaking down of some long-term relationships and friendships.
Alcoholism includes all of the above symptoms but is more severe, as is characterised by actual physical dependence on alcohol.
Psychological support may be helpful in mastering the challenges that bring alcohol abuse. Because alcoholism is a chronic disease which is accompanied by a lifelong addiction to alcohol and its consumption temptation, therapy focuses on helping the mastering of these drives and not giving up the power of dependency.
The psychotherapist works with the clients to help them reduce or completely stop drinking alcohol, depending on individual decisions and targets set for therapy.
Therapy may include a model of cognitive – behavioural (CBT), which is one that works to change our behaviour by changing the thinking and attitudes towards alcohol.
Often, we associate drinking with emotional difficulties or mental circumstances, and the counsellor will approach these. Of course… only if we are ready.
It is important to note that counselling has its benefits for people who are ill with alcoholism but is particularly beneficial for those who have already gone through the process of detoxification and are not actively drinking.