Author: James Anderson

What Came First, the Alcohol, or the Alcoholic Thinking?

alcoholic thinking

Recognizing these patterns is essential for understanding the psychological aspects of alcoholism and developing targeted intervention strategies to address the cognitive distortions that sustain the disorder. Understanding these gene-environment interactions is critical for developing targeted prevention and treatment strategies for AUDs. Alcoholic thinking, characterized by certain cognitive and emotional processing impairments, may precede and potentially predispose individuals to alcohol use disorder (AUD). Research has indicated that individuals with AUD often exhibit emotional and social cognitive impairments, such as alexithymia, trouble decoding others’ emotions, and diminished theory of mind and empathy skills. These impairments can be observed in recently detoxified individuals, suggesting a pre-existing pattern of thinking that could contribute to the development of AUD.

Studies indicate that individuals who exhibit higher levels of delay discounting are more susceptible to developing substance use disorders, including alcoholism. A meta-analysis by Boden and Fergusson has delved into the associations between alcohol use disorders (AUD) and major depression (MD), aiming to uncover a potential causal relationship. Their findings suggest a complex interplay, where childhood psychopathology may predict the development of mood and substance-related disorders alike, indicating that factors predating alcohol use could influence the onset of alcoholism. The concept of alcoholic thinking encompasses a range of cognitive processes, including rationalization, denial, and self-justification of drinking behaviors. This can manifest in behaviors such as drinking in response to stress or using alcohol to self-medicate for mental health issues.

Of course, the hardest thing to do is to convince an alcoholic they need professional help. Unfortunately, most alcoholics won’t admit they have a problem until they have hit “rock bottom” (be it homelessness, no money, no friends, a family that has abandoned them, etc.). Instead, the quote describes how an alcoholic’s thought processes become so disorganized by their addiction that they are no longer capable of rational thought. Their lives become consumed by alcohol–where to get it, when to drink it, and how to stay drunk as much as possible. Nothing except for that next drink matters to an alcoholic, not even the well-being of their children, their parents, their siblings, or their closest friends.

Exploring the Relationship: Alcohol and Alcoholic Thinking

We see that alcoholics will abstain from drinking for a time to prove to themselves or others that they are not addicted, only to return later with a vengeance. What I am describing here is the person who is still drinking, is high functioning, and has not yet lost the things they hold dear. The disease of addiction dictates that they will lose these things in time and the rule of threes dictates a grim long term prognosis (jail, institution, and/or death).

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) remains a leading choice for addiction treatment, given its evidence-based approach and versatility in addressing the multifaceted nature of AUD (source). Lastly, policy efforts like establishing legal minimum purchase ages for alcohol are based on evidence that delaying the age of first alcohol use can reduce the likelihood of later alcohol problems. This policy approach implicitly acknowledges that the act of consuming alcohol can be a primary factor in developing AUD, positioning alcohol itself as a potential catalyst for addictive thinking and behavior patterns. Patterns in alcohol consumption vary significantly across different regions and demographics. For instance, per-capita alcohol consumption is reportedly highest in the West and lowest in the South of the United States.

The ongoing research in other areas of medicine, such as the development of targeted peptide therapeutics, could inspire analogous strategies in alcoholism treatment, focusing on specific pathways that contribute to addictive behaviors. Outpatient treatment is best for mild alcohol addictions, and it allows clients to attend doctor and therapy visits while still living at home. Inpatient treatment is best for moderate to severe alcohol addictions or people who have relapsed. Inpatient treatment involves living on-site at the detox or rehab facility, an approach that keeps clients in a healing environment and allows for better monitoring and treatment.

alcoholic thinking

Furthermore, alcohol can exacerbate aggression and violence, linking chronic consumption with psychiatric comorbidities such as personality and mood disorders, and intermittent explosive disorders. Ultimately, alcoholic thinking is a complex interplay of cognitive, behavioral, and emotional factors that perpetuate the cycle of addiction, often requiring professional treatment to address and correct these patterns. The cost of CBT varies depending on several factors, such as the length and number of sessions, therapist qualifications, and geographic location. Despite its extensive empirical support, CBT’s implementation faces challenges such as clinician training, fidelity in delivery, and retention rates in programs.

Preventive and Treatment Strategies for Alcoholism and Alcoholic Thinking

We have inpatient and outpatient facilities nearby and across the country ready to help. Legislative policies have proven effective in reducing alcohol-related harm, such as enforcing lower blood alcohol concentration levels and sobriety checkpoints (source). These measures, alongside public education campaigns, help to increase awareness and support for more stringent alcohol policies.

  1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) remains a leading choice for addiction treatment, given its evidence-based approach and versatility in addressing the multifaceted nature of AUD (source).
  2. We have inpatient and outpatient facilities nearby and across the country ready to help.
  3. These programs typically comprise a multidisciplinary team of health professionals and offer a structured regimen of counseling, medical care, and support services.
  4. The consumption of alcohol has profound effects on both individual health and societal well-being.
  5. As treatment paradigms evolve, the incorporation of technology, such as the use of apps for cognitive therapy, hints at a future where treatment can be more accessible and customized.

For example, age-related differences in chronic alcohol’s effect on cognition highlight the potential for greater resilience in adolescents to the long-term effects of alcohol compared to adults. Yet, the initial damage to developmental processes may pave the way for ‘alcoholic thinking’ to take root. The development of alcoholic thinking and alcohol consumption is a multifaceted issue, influenced by an intricate interplay of genetic and environmental factors. Research in the field of gene-environment interactions provides insight into how these two elements combine to affect individual health outcomes, including susceptibility to alcohol use disorders (AUDs). A study published in Genes & Immunity suggests that genetic predispositions can interact with environmental exposures to either exacerbate the risk or require a confluence of both factors to increase disease susceptibility, including AUDs.

Alcoholism – A Unique Disease

This thinking pattern is also marked by justifying or downplaying the negative impact of alcohol on one’s health, work, and social life. Additionally, alcoholic thinking can manifest in planning activities around alcohol consumption and experiencing frequent intoxication, even in dangerous situations, such as when driving. The findings go a long way to explaining the insanity of alcoholism and the obstacles it poses to successful recovery. The very pathways that support self-monitoring, planning, judgment and reasoning are actually physically impaired by chronic misuse of alcohol. Getting stuck in your brain, negative self-talk or poor impulse control are direct extensions of a brain damaged by excess alcohol, and chances are that if you’re a high-functioning alcoholic, your denial of a drinking problem is, too.

Genetic, psychological, social and environmental factors can impact how drinking alcohol affects your body and behavior. Theories suggest that for certain people drinking has a different and stronger impact that can lead to alcohol use disorder. The person who only stops drinking is what we refer to as a “dry drunk” meaning that they are every bit as unhealthy they have simply stopped drinking – a small percentage of folks manage this long term.

Navigating the Implications of Alcoholic Thinking for Treatment and Prevention

The Recovery Village Cherry Hill at Cooper provides both inpatient and outpatient detox and rehab. We are here to help you and those you love recover from addiction and begin a healthier, alcohol-free future. Contact us to learn more about alcohol addiction treatment programs that can work well for your needs in recovery. For treatment, medications such as naltrexone have shown efficacy in reducing relapse risks in AUD, although their use is not as widespread as it could be due to barriers like non-compliance and concerns about efficacy (source).

There is also a noted decline in alcohol use and binge drinking among young adults compared to two decades ago, suggesting a shift in drinking behaviors over time. The consumption of alcohol has profound effects on both individual health and societal well-being. It is a factor in a range of health outcomes, contributing to a steady rise in the role of alcohol in heart-related deaths. This is evidenced by recent data highlighting the increasing significance of alcohol and drugs in heart fatalities, underscoring the need for public awareness and intervention strategies to mitigate these risks.

These symptoms are used by healthcare professionals to diagnose and assess the severity of AUD. Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), commonly referred to as alcoholism, is characterized by an inability to manage drinking patterns, leading to significant distress and harm. It is a medical condition defined by the excessive and repetitive consumption of alcoholic beverages to the extent that the drinker’s health, social, legal, or economic well-being is damaged. The condition ranges in severity from mild to severe, creating a detrimental impact on the individual’s life. Preventing and treating alcoholic thinking is pivotal in addressing alcohol use disorder (AUD) and related cognitive patterns. Cognitive-Behavioral Interventions (CBI) have shown promise in managing alcohol and other drug use by fostering significant changes in thought and behavior.