Hypnosis for Alcohol Abuse
Binge drinking is the most common form of excessive alcohol consumption. It's defined as 4 or more drinks in a few hours for women and 5 or more drinks in a few hours for men. Heavy drinking for women is 8 or more drinks per week, and 15 or more drinks per week for men. The gender difference is based solely on average size and weight.
The CDC's Dietary Guidelines for alcohol define moderate drinking as up to 1 drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. Many are surprised that these recommendations are so low. They think they can hold their liquor, and point to how frequently heavy drinking is shown on TV and in the movies--with few negative consequences.
Many look to family and friends for comparisons. However, since heavy drinkers tend to associate with other heavy drinkers--and shun those who drink in moderation, or don't drink at all-- these comparisons just feed the denial. Because early experiences shape our lives, alcoholics frequently have family members who are also heavy drinkers.
By the time someone comes to my office wanting help with their alcohol problem, the women are drinking at least a bottle of wine a day, and the men are drinking at least 4-6 beers or drinks per day. At the higher consumption levels, alcohol can create problems on the job, with a spouse, children, health, and with the law.
Everyone I've known in my professional and personal life who had an alcohol problem has damaged their children and spousal relationship(s). Even for those who aren't heavy drinkers, I always suggest that when both people have been drinking, that's not the time for an argument with a loved one!
So, is alcoholism a disease? Although medical societies, hospitals and treatment facilities lobbied to get it classified as such, I don't believe it is a disease. This classification allows healthcare providers to bill insurance companies for their services, but it actually does not fit the disease category. If you are curious about this point, you can click this link to find an excellent article: "Is Alcoholism a Disease?"
Does alcoholism run in families? Researchers have found some (minor) genetic propensities, but that is not the most important reason it runs in families. The reason is behavioral. Alcoholic parents not only serve as role models for their children, but they also damage their children. Those children have a greater likelihood of becoming alcohol abusers themselves, and/or marrying an alcoholic.
Most of those who start drinking early in life, cut back as they get older. Their college years were enjoyable, but family and job responsibilities take precedence as they age. In addition, as we get older our bodies are not as good at metabolizing alcohol, so most cut back. However, some men and women continue heavy drinking as they get older. They seek my help when they recognize the dangers and negative effects on their lives and families.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was founded in 1935. You probably know someone who has been clean and sober for years or decades thanks to this program. I've known those people; I've had some as patients--for issues other than alcohol.
However, research shows that only 5-10% of AA members are able to quit drinking permanently. The track record for most residential treatment programs is not much better. Some people have been able to successfully stop drinking on their own, but the reasons vary. Sometimes a serious health issue arises, or a beloved spouse makes a credible threat of divorce.
My program for people who are heavy drinkers involves getting to the heart of the (subconscious) causes and healing those causes. I work with people who could be classified as functional alcoholics. With treatment they are able to decrease their consumption, and many have been able to become social drinkers with no worries about going off the deep end again.
I do not treat those with alcohol dependence--those who are not able to maintain their responsibilities and have no control over their drinking. However, even in those cases, after they have been through a rehab facility and gotten sober, I'm able to help them minimize their chances of abusing alcohol again.
It is possible to enjoy life without being tipsy, high or drunk!