By Emsie Martin
Chaos reigns at home; some call it insobriety, others choose to ignore or hide the problem.
When you, or someone you love, are caught in the web of alcohol dependency, rehabilitation appears impossible. Every day the person decides to stop, but it just never happens.
However, there is hope, with the right decisions, treatment and support.
Help is available, but recovery is a long process and even if you tried before, don’t despair, seek help, because dependency can be overcome.
If you are concerned regarding someone you care about who might be struggling with dependency, look for guidelines for yourself on how to help the person you care for.
Statistics for alcohol abuse in South Africa
- Alcohol abuse is the most general form of substance abuse in South Africa.
- Annually it contributes directly to almost half of all traffic accidents.
- Alcohol abuse affects an estimated 17.5 million South Africans.
- More than 30% of our population abuse alcohol or run the risk of becoming addicted.
Are you worried that you might be addicted?
Signs of alcohol abuse
- A desire for alcohol;
- become anxious and irritated if alcohol is not available;
- start telling lies about the consumption of alcohol;
- boast about the intake of alcohol;
- breath smells of liquor the next day;
- drinks are downed rapidly;
- make up excuses to drink;
- drink quickly and order doubles;
- need alcohol to function;
- have problems with relationships at home, work etc.;
- drive while under the influence;
- become aggressive towards others;
- deny that you have a problem;
- you are hostile when confronted;
- drink on the sly and alone;
- eat peppermint sweets to disguise alcohol breath;
- neglect your appearance;
- always need a pick-me-up the next morning.
If you recognise any of these signs, you need help.
If you want to read more about dependency, click on the following link:
Advice to beat alcoholism
Acknowledgement: Most alcoholics deny their problem. It is only after they have acknowledged that they have a problem that the kind of treatment can be decided upon.
Self help: Books and internet research can help, but success depends on how motivated the person is, how good their support base is, how big the problem is and the reason for the abuse. This way if too difficult for many people.
An experienced therapist or psychiatrist can help the alcoholic. Cognitive behaviour therapy is usually applied. The underlying reason for the alcoholic’s drinking must be treated as well as the addiction itself.
Detoxing and rehabilitation clinic
Treatment through admission includes therapy, support groups, family involvement, medical and pastoral care. Medication helps the patient to control withdrawal symptoms. Usually this is the best choice, as it forms the basis for a new lifestyle.
Where do I get help?
If you have any questions about substance-related matters, contact the “Substance help-line” at 021 940 4500 at the detoxing unit at Stikland Hospital. Here you will obtain information regarding the next step to be taken. You can also dial the toll-free number 0800 121314 for help.
More information can also be obtained from:
SANCA (Tel: 021 945 4080) for queries.
Western Cape: www.sancawc.co.za
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA): http://www.aasouthafrica.org.za/
If you are interested in the contact details of private treatment centres, you will find the information here.
For a comprehensive list of contact numbers and addresses for state-supported treatment centres for alcohol and substance dependency in the Western Cape, to go to this link.