Addiction

06 June 2017

SEE: Ben Affleck admits to undergoing treatment for alcoholism

We take a closer look at treatment options and how this movie star is fighting 'the battle against the bottle'.

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What do Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand and Demi Lovato have in common? Besides being talented artists, they are all recovering alcoholics. And now actor Ben Affleck has admitted that he has also undergone treatment for alcoholism. 

If you have an alcohol problem, knowing that some of your role models also "battle with the bottle" can motivate you to give up drinking.

A big problem

According to the World Health Organization, the harmful use of alcohol results in 2.5 million deaths globally each year, and is the world’s third largest risk factor for disease. 

But a desire to quit is usually not enough to fight alcoholism. A Health24 review states that "alcoholism or alcohol dependence is a disease that involves physical and psychological dependence addiction to the drug alcohol. It is chronic, progressive and often fatal". 

Only 15% of alcoholics seek treatment. Most alcoholics undergo screening or start treatment reluctantly because they are in denial about their disease. Luckily Ben Affleck realised the damage caused by his disease and recently opened up about his struggles. 

Although we can't know for sure what sort of treatment Affleck underwent, according to a Health24 review, a typical treatment programme includes:

  • Detoxification and withdrawal. Detoxification, which takes about four to seven days, involves the withdrawal of alcohol in a supervised setting.
  • Recovery programmes. Recovery or rehabilitation programmes provide support after detoxification to maintain abstinence from alcohol. Counselling, psychological support and medical care are usually available as part of these programmes. 
  • Medical assessment and treatment of common medical problems associated with alcoholism.
  • Psychological support and psychiatric treatment. Group and individual counselling and therapy encourage recovery from the psychological aspects of alcoholism.
  • Emphasis on acceptance and abstinence. Effective treatment is impossible unless you accept that you are addicted and cannot afford to risk drinking.
  • Drug treatments. In addition to tranquilizers to help you safely through withdrawal, a second type of medication may be used to help you remain sober. 
  • Additional ongoing support. Even if alcoholics have been sober for a long time, they may relapse and must therefore continue to avoid alcohol. 
  • General health improvement. Eating a balanced diet with vitamin supplements and getting regular exercise are important to regain health.

Are you worried you might have a problem with alcohol? Take our quiz to find out. 

Read more:

Muscle relaxant touted as 'miracle cure for alcoholism'

Alcoholics may lack enzyme that controls impulse to drink

How other people's drinking affects you