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Alcohol Problems - Halt your issue with drinking

Jul 23, 2008
Alcoholism is a disease. It is chronic (in that it lasts a person's lifetime). It usually follows a predictable course and it has symptoms. Then there are the damaging effects of alcohol abuse outside the body. Many alcoholics find it difficult to manage their lives, leading to legal problems and relationship problems that can result in the destructive breakup of marriages and families. Unfortunately, such problems often lead to more drinking and even more problems - driving drunk, for example, and the chance of accidentally killing someone.

The effects of alcoholism include the strong need to drink, a need that can be as strong as the need for food or water. Also, the drinker might not be able to stop once drinking has begun. Short-term memory loss can be imminent, as can be blackouts, where the user appears to others that he or she is awake and fully conscious - but in reality has no sense of time or action. These are only some of the early physical effects of alcoholism, which can lead to cirrhosis, liver failure, and ultimately death.

Alcohol withdrawal is a condition that follows a reduction in alcohol consumption or when an alcohol dependent individual stops drinking abruptly. In addition to a high level of distress, alcohol withdrawal is also associated with impairment in social, occupational, and other areas of an individual's functioning. Relatively uncomplicated cases of alcohol withdrawal are usually characterized by signs and symptoms of autonomic hyperactivity, and could possibly include increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, hyperthermia, tremor, nausea, vomiting, insomnia and frequently anxiety.

Studies indicate that teen binge drinking can lead to poor performance in school, difficulty in simple math or the inability to read a map. They also dispel the notion that a person could sustain heavy drinking for several years before causing neurological damage. Adolescent alcohol abuse and dependence may prove to be more damaging than alcoholism in adulthood by killing brain cells in the hippocampus, blocking brain receptors that form memories and causing protracted neurological impairments, the researchers say. research suggests that teens who binge drink may do damage to their memory and learning abilities by severely hampering the development of the hippocampus.

Family risk factors for teenagers developing drinking problems include low parent supervision or communication, family conflicts, inconsistent or severe parental discipline, and a family history of alcohol or drug abuse. Individual risk factors include problems managing impulses, emotional instability, thrill-seeking behaviors, and perceiving the risk of using alcohol to be low. Girls who drink, as well as teens who begin drinking prior to the age of 14 years and those whose mothers have drinking problems, are more likely to develop alcoholism. Teen risk factors for alcoholism differ a bit between the 14- to 16-year-old and 16- to 18-year-old age groups, in that the latter tend to be less likely to drink in excess when they have a close relationship with their mothers.

If you are concerned that someone close to you is abusing alcohol, there are several courses of action that you can take. If they have experienced alcohol poisoning, like unconsciousness, seizures, of difficulty breathing, or withdrawal symptoms like confusion or trembling, you should call 911, especially if they are talking about suicide or other forms of violence. If the person involved has a history of drinking, but refuses to get help, you should call a health professional at once. Oftentimes, if the person agrees to be evaluated for a possible treatment, they probably won't follow through with it, in which case you should definitely call a doctor. Many people stay in denial of the fact that they are addicted to alcohol, which is very serious as it can lead to further abuse.

The most appropriate decisions related to alcohol abuse treatment can only occur by matching individuals with their treatment needs. The individual's screening results should differentiate between mild and more severe levels of physical dependence to determine whether detoxification should be part of an individual's early alcohol abuse treatment. If their withdrawal risk is low, it may be appropriate to refer them to an outpatient treatment setting. If the risk for withdrawal is moderate to high, outpatient or inpatient detoxification may be indicated as an absolute imperative for effective alcohol abuse treatment. There are a large number of life-threatening factors that must be considered in order to determine if alcoholics are at increased risk. Any of the following factors may warrant immediate attention: acute alcohol withdrawal (with the potential for seizures and delirium tremens), serious psychiatric illness (e.g. psychosis, suicidal intentions or behavior), serious medical or surgical disease ( e.g. acute pancreatitis, bleeding esophageal varices). The matching of individuals with optimum alcohol abuse treatment continues to attract significant attention, and there appears to be some evidence suggesting that alcoholics with certain characteristics (e.g. severe dependence, high levels of anger, social networks that support drinking) may respond slightly better to certain types of specific therapy. Finally, the importance of continuing care through aftercare groups and other mutual support organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) cannot be overestimated for individuals in need of alcohol abuse treatment.
About the Author
Find out how to Stop Abusing Alcohol by Ed Philips and Quit Alcohol Now.
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