Addiction, which includes alcoholism and alcohol dependence, is a progressive degenerative disease that includes the following four symptoms:
the loss of control
Frequently people engage in substance abuse at different points in their lives, although this does not mean that they are addicts or alcoholic. An addict or alcoholic is also not necessarily someone that drinks or uses drugs every day. They could be someone that binges on alcohol sporadically or uses recreational drugs/substances on a regular basis. However, if the individual is someone who is unable to use the drugs, substances or alcohol consistently in moderation then there is probably a problem.
Psychotherapy (coupled with hypnotherapy) can assist the individual seeking help to locate the core reasons why the addiction process has started and to enable that individual to break the addiction cycle. However, if the problem is a serious issue (and most are) then treatment will probably include a requirement that the client attend meetings of appropriate support organisations such as Narcotic Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous. Counselling and psychotherapy can also provide support to recovering alcoholics and substance abusers on a regular basis where they are sure that matters are kept confidential within the confines of the law. It is an unfortunate fact that many clients present with issues such as problems in starting or maintaining relationships with others. They have "self-medicated" on either drink, drugs or some other addictive behaviour. The "addiction" is both a symptom of a problematical issue and an illness in it own right - both need and can be addressed in the therapeutic process. That can be complex but can also be ultimately rewarding.