Alcohol addiction causes a complete numbing of emotions
Alcohol addiction causes one to detach and numb their emotions which is more often than not the reason people turn to alcohol addiction in the first place. While other drugs can do similar things, alcohol addiction specifically eliminates the majority of emotional feeling and comprehension which can be the largest challenge alcoholics face when getting sober.
I treat many severe alcohol addiction patients and the most consistent reason for relapse is the inability to deal with the potent emotions that they experience without the numbing effect of alcohol. They have to re-learn how to understand, feel, convey and cope with emotions, sometimes after decades of being completely out of touch. To give an example of how an alcohol addiction patient may feel when getting sober is equivalent to taking the worst emotional experience you have ever had and understand that is the level of distress they feel over much smaller challenges or difficulties in life. Due to the detachment from emotions, their lives are often more full of dysfunction and only means if they get sober, they have more stress due to alcohol addiction, yet have the inherent difficulty with dealing with it.
This is why it is absolutely necessary to work with a trained psychiatrist and psychotherapist. Given I have expertise in both, including addiction treatment, I assure patients they will not succeed without a comprehensive plan including these components in order to successfully re-introduce emotions to their sober life and effectively utilize them in repairing the damaged relationships that inevitably exist.
Michael Yasinski MD