This essay declares that treating the disease will usually require long term in patient care. This is augmented with therapy which may be in the form of a traditional 12-step program or spiritual guidance. Drugs may be prescribed which invoke a severe reaction if the alcoholic drinks while taking them. The alcoholic may be successful at abstaining from alcohol, but in many cases the damage done by years of alcohol abuse can not be reversed.
This paper makes a conclusion that it is important for successful treatment to catch the disease in its early stages. Recognizing signs early on can be the surest way of attaining complete recovery. Early symptoms of alcohol abuse are evident when the subject's drinking takes priority over all other social events. Another indication is an increasing tolerance to alcohol, when the subject needs an ever-increasing quantity to achieve the same high. Drinking at inappropriate times and ignoring social hints to reduce their drinking are also symptoms of early stage alcoholism. Intervention at this stage may be successful as the disease may not have progressed to the point of physical addiction. The early stage alcoholic may be more open to encouragement to cease drinking. They may still have adequate mental faculties to realize the danger of their drinking and be willing to cooperate in a meaningful recovery program. Recognizing and treating alcoholism, with few exceptions, must start with the alcoholic admitting they have the disease and agree to cooperate in treatment.