Time To Recognize Alcoholism As Disease
A leading addiction disease management company is urging the health community to recognize alcoholism as a disease, and to come up with anti-addiction medications.
The news release on BusinessWirewas put out by Dallas-based Enterhealth to coincide with Alcohol Awareness Month in April.
Enterhealth wants the addiction treatment industry to do the following:
- Develop disease-focused treatment protocols with the same approach as that for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc;
- Use anti-addiction medications that help alcoholics achieve sobriety and heal their damaged limbic system and cerebral cortex;
- Aggressively work with scientists and pharmaceutical manufacturers to pioneer new, effective medications;
- Implement ‘true’ dual-diagnosis protocols combined with other evidence-based therapies to identify and address other underlying problems, such as depression, anxiety or other serious issues, that could be feeding addiction behavior;
- Integrate intensive individual therapy, family therapy, online support tools and nutrition programs that are all vital for helping an alcoholic become more healthy and sustain sobriety; and
- Encourage insurance companies to abandon a “one-size-fits-all,” 28-day standard for treatment and recognize advanced programs, with significantly less failure, are more cost-effective in the long term.
“There is more than enough scientific evidence that concludes addiction is a chronic, progressive disease,” said Enterhealth president David Kniffen, Jr. “Traditional, 12-step based programs have certainly helped countless people achieve sobriety but the failure rate is estimated at 70 percent. The bottom line is that until we stop incorrectly attributing the cause of addiction to a moral sin caused solely by personal weaknesses, we will continue to see countless people go in and out of treatment, many of whom will give up hope if they can’t get well.”
Dr. Hal Urschel, author and chief medical strategist for Enterhealth has long advocated for the use of anti-addiction medications.
“Alcoholism is just like any other chronic disease,” said Dr. Urschel. “If an individual were a diabetic, his physician would not tell him to simply not eat sugar. The diabetic would be given a specialized treatment program that encompasses the combination of medications, therapy, social support, and nutritional counseling. Alcohol addiction is no different.”
Alcoholism is the third leading cause of death in the United States after cancer and heart disease, killing 85,000 each year.