At Future Function Rehabilitation and Detox Center, treatment of alcoholism involves a full series of activities from varied schools of psychology, modern thinking, spirituality and psychopharmacology; these activities will not only lead the person toward effectively controlling consumption through withdrawal/abstinence, but also focus significantly on psychological symptoms.
Alcoholism is a disease which has been accepted as such by the World Health Organization (WHO) rather recently, even though it has been differentiated and defined for several centuries. In essence, the Greeks had a couple of words to refer to alcoholism: one, dipsomania (from the Greek term mania = madness, insanity). Dipsomania is the term to refer to hard-to-manage manias which result in excesses through alcohol consumption. The second word was enophilia, the fondness of wine.
During the Roman Empire, whose society used to be very disciplined (unlike Hollywood’s cinematic depictions due to some emperors’ excesses), extreme drunkenness was punished with physical penalties such as whipping, similarly to how Jesus Christ was tortured.
In the wake of the Roman Empire influence, alcoholism was considered in the west as a vice of conduct, a habit susceptible of being entirely repressed, and as a spiritual abnormality. With the passage of time, alcohol consumption increased in Europe as a result of mismanagement of aqueduct water; pipeline waters started to be more and more unhealthy in consequence. Back in those times, all served waters ―containing feces and excrement― were poured into pipelines and sewers, thus polluting the water that would be next drunk by those living down the rivers.
To stay away from pollution risks, people took up the habit of drinking wine and beer formally during meals instead of water, even during the working week. This brought an increase in the number of cases of the alcoholic disease. With the discovery of the Americas, potatoes were taken to Europe; potatoes are a starch-rich vegetable, and from this starch are easily extracted fluids with high ethanol levels such as vodka. As a social and anthropological phenomenon, vodka gradually started to be used in Russia and the Scandinavian Peninsula for mitigating the harshness of cold temperatures.
A number or research studies on alcoholism were developed as time went by. It was Swedish physician and professor Magnus Huss who coined the term alcoholism for the first time, then widely spread thanks to contemporary French physician Philippe Pinel. This event made it possible to describe certain curves for defining the different stages of alcoholism. Some years later, in North America, appeared the works of E. Morton Jellinek, who defined a series of alcoholism types ranging from regular use, without loss of control, up to the alcoholic episodes or palimpsests known as conscience and behavior deviations due to the loss of control through the intake of the substance.
Those days saw the emergence of the first treatment procedures for alcoholism. As history goes, treatment of alcoholism began essentially with the methodology of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) due to the enormous increase of consumption in the United States after the Volstead Law. In the books published by our Center, we have seen the history of how prohibitionism did not really contribute to reduce alcoholism; on the contrary, consumption levels were reflected after prohibitionism was over.
It was around this time and thanks to the Law (something’s better than nothing) that the first groups of the A.A.’s 12 steps appeared, in which alcoholics helped other alcoholics by means of following a highly spiritual lifestyle and also by focusing on service. The 12 steps do not constitute some treatment as such, but they certainly are a very clear guideline, through deductions made by alcoholics anonymous, in understanding what impotence and ungovernability are.
Impotence (powerlessness) is demonstrated nowadays to be a brain-level neurobiological factor; therefore, the alcoholic person is not guilty of suffering the disease, but he/she is indeed responsible for their treatment. Ungovernability cannot be limited solely to a word, but to a set of psychological symptoms ranging from invasive thoughts of recurrent consumption, distortions through controlled projections, justification, and a number of ruptures in the self. The alcoholic’s self gets fractured: the individual sees their ideal self increasingly farther away from them and so their frustration levels intensify upon being incapable of achieving self-fulfillment. People start suffering rejection and criticism, which wears away and utterly annihilates all these structures.
From there on we find comorbidities such as depression, schizophrenia, psychosis and bipolarity, all of which lead the person towards alcohol drinking. The decision of drinking isn’t just a conscious act: it is also unconscious to release psychological symptoms the likes of grief, desperation, dismay, angst, hastiness and chaotic thinking. So that’s how all these comorbidities take hold, presently understood as axis 2, where personality disorders can be found.
We have observed there is a high frequency (at least 60 to 70%) of personality disorders in diagnosed alcoholism except in the case of genetically-inherited alcoholism. The cases of genetically-inherited alcoholism can be developed since ages 18, 20, 25 and as late as ages 40 to 45, when there isn’t much compromising of the personality, and these individuals still possess certain functionality in the labor and family areas. However, we do find a great deal of deterioration in personality in young people suffering from alcoholism. These young individuals have a marked tendency to being isolated, their thinking becomes muddled, a huge personal instability rises and /or anxiety disorders appear as well, whether due to dependence or to evasion. This is a considerable enough justification for detecting and treating all these hitches so as to advance a fully adequate treatment of alcoholism, since attempting to control consumption doesn’t make up the whole of the mission to accomplish. More often than not, the individual drinks because they feel forced to do so, destroying their quality of life to an act resulting from social pressure and demand.
When treatment for alcoholism uses a cognitive-behavioral approach ―which teaches the person to manage their thoughts and monitor themselves internally―, we will obtain optimum outcomes. This is how one of the intended goals is for the patient to be able to achieve abstinence in a way that doesn’t hurt them, that doesn’t restrict their existence so they will be able to lead a completely alcohol-free life by overcoming the chief symptom of alcoholism: alcohol consumption.
Beyond doubt, Integral Approach-based treatment surpasses, with all due respect, all other twentieth century treatment methods, taking some spiritual, scientific and psychological resources for achieving an integrative and integral treatment. This different approach leads the person toward the development of a spiritual life, not conceived as any sort of ideological fanaticism, yet instead as a process of reconciling the person with him/herself. It is also a process of re-signification: the aim here is to provide the person’s existence with a new meaning, developing not only a life meaning but also a new existential meaning.
Treatment of alcoholism at Future Function Rehabilitation and Detox Center works with the objective of getting the patient not only to put a halt to consumption but to conquer a decent quality of life without it and, most importantly, to reach personal self-realization, as we strongly emphasize on a life plan. We have worked on all of these aspects during the past 15 years with overwhelming success, as proven by hundreds of people who have benefited with and from our treatment methods.