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What to do about your Drinking problem

Apr 2, 2008
Alcoholism is an illness marked by drinking alcoholic beverages at a level that interferes with physical health, mental health, and social, family, or occupational responsibilities. Alcoholism is divided into 2 categories: dependence and abuse. People with alcohol dependence, the most severe alcohol disorder, usually experience tolerance and withdrawal. Tolerance is a need for markedly increased amounts of alcohol to achieve intoxication or the desired effect. Withdrawal occurs when alcohol is discontinued or intake is decreased. Alcohol dependents spend a great deal of time drinking alcohol, and obtaining it. People who are dependent on or abuse alcohol continue to drink it despite evidence of physical or psychological problems. Those with dependence have more severe problems and a greater compulsion to drink.

Because alcohol affects many organs in the body, long-term heavy drinking puts you at risk for developing serious health problems, some of which are described below. More than 2 million Americans suffer from alcohol-related liver disease. Some drinkers develop alcoholic hepatitis, or inflammation of the liver, as a result of long-term heavy drinking. Moderate drinking can have beneficial effects on the heart, especially among those at greatest risk for heart attacks, such as men over the age of 45 and women after menopause. But long-term heavy drinking increases the risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and some kinds of stroke. The pancreas helps to regulate the body's blood sugar levels by producing insulin. The pancreas also has a role in digesting the food we eat. Long-term heavy drinking can lead to pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas. This condition is associated with severe abdominal pain and weight loss and can be fatal.

Drunk driving is no accident. There were 16,885 alcohol-related fatalities in 2005 - 39 percent of the total traffic fatalities for the year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), "A motor vehicle crash is considered to be alcohol-related if at least one driver or non-occupant (such as a pedestrian or pedalcyclist) involved in the crash is determined to have had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .01 gram per deciliter (g/dL) or higher. Thus, any fatality that occurs in an alcohol-related crash is considered an alcohol-related fatality. The term 'alcohol-related' does not indicate that a crash or fatality was caused by the presence of alcohol." The statistics reveal that most fatal alcohol-related crashes do indeed involve drunk drivers and far fewer of these fatalities involve intoxicated pedestrians or "bicyclists and other cyclists". Nationwide in 2005, alcohol was present in 24 percent of the drivers involved in fatal crashes (BAC .01-.07, 4 percent; BAC .08 or greater, 20 percent). The 16,885 alcohol-related fatalities in 2005 (39% of total traffic fatalities for the year) represent a 5-percent reduction from the 17,732 alcohol related fatalities reported in 1995 (42% of the total). The 16,885 fatalities in alcohol-related crashes during 2005 represent an average of one alcohol-related fatality every 31 minutes.

When someone experiences alcohol problems, the negative effects of drinking exert a toll, not oly on the drinker, but also on their partner and other family members. Recent data suggest that approximately one child in every four (28.6%) in the United States is exposed to alcohol abuse or dependence in the family.12 One of the clearest demonstrations of how alcohol use negatively impacts the family is the widely documented association between alcohol use and interpersonal violence. Family problems that are likely to co-occur with alcohol problems include:14 Violence, Marital conflict, Infidelity, Jealousy, Economic insecurity, Divorce, and Fetal alcohol effect. Drinking problems may negatively alter marital and family functioning, but there also is evidence that they can increase as a consequence of marital and family problems. Thus, drinking and family functioning are strongly and reciprocally linked. Not surprisingly, alcohol problems are common in couples that present for marital therapy, and marital problems are common in drinkers who present for alcohol treatment.

Children can be influenced from a very young age, and carry their experiences into their adolescent years. Growing up around alcohol can encourage them to drink, and vice versa. However, many parents ponder the issue of how much exposure to alcohol is too much and how much is not enough. Total abstinence of alcohol could lead to intense curiosity and therefore crazy experimentations. Total exposure can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle. Thus, the best method would be a balance between the two, with the adults of the family setting good examples, and with schools educating children on alcohol thoroughly.

Over the past 20 years, modern methods of evaluating medical therapies have been increasingly applied to alcohol treatment. Alcohol treatment centers use both counseling and medications to help a person stop drinking. With support and treatment, many people are able to stop drinking alcohol and rebuild their lives. Alcohol treatment programs work for many people.But just like any chronic disease, there are varying levels of success when it comes to alcohol treatment. Some people stop drinking and remain sober on their own. Others have long periods of sobriety with bouts of relapse. With alcohol treatment, one thing is clear, however, the longer a person abstains from alcohol, the more likely he or she will be able to stay sober.

If you have decided, for whatever reason, that you want to stop drinking, there is a world of help and support available. To get a better picture of where you are now, so that you can make an informed decision about how to proceed, perhaps the first person to talk with should be your family doctor. Sometimes admitting to yourself and others that you need help can be one of the most difficult steps to take on your road to recovery. As the The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) says in it's information: Acknowledging that help is needed for an alcohol problem may not be easy. But keep in mind that the sooner a person gets help, the better are his or her chances for a successful recovery. Any reluctance you may feel about discussing your drinking with your health care professional may stem from common misconceptions about alcoholism and alcoholic people.
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Want to know how to halt your drinking issue. Learn more on your drinking issue , Check out this great way to remain sober
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