Information on alcohol abuse sometimes refers to alcoholism as alcohol abuse although others define these two terms separately.
The following behaviors can be characteristic of alcoholism:
- having a strong urge to drink (commonly referred to as a craving)
- the inability to stop drinking once you've started
- signs of physical dependence on alcohol including shakiness, sweating, nausea and anxiety
- needing larger amounts of alcohol to feel the effects
It is generally agreed that alcoholism is a disease. General thinking is that this disease that has no cure. It is said that even if an alcoholic doesn't drink for years, they are still considered to be an alcoholic. That is because that person could have a relapse if they were to have even one drink. The best way to avoid relapse is to never have any drinks at all. Information on alcohol abuse shows that it often follows a predictable course. Becoming an alcoholic is often a result of your genes and your lifestyle.
(1) - alcohol and drug abuse information shows that your risk of developing alcohol abuse behavior or alcoholism is greater if you have an alcoholic family member. People may have a genetic predisposition for becoming problem drinkers.
(2) - The lifestyle components of alcoholism refer to the people you associate with, where and how you live, your cultural background, the ease with which alcohol can be obtained, and the degree of stress in your life.
Remember that just because you may have some genetic tendencies, you don't have to become an alcoholic. Conversely, people without a genetic predisposition can become alcoholics. It is useful, however, to know if you have family members who were or are alcoholics because if you have a risk of having the genetic component, you can take extra care to try to protect yourself from adding on the environmental components and increasing your risk of becoming an alcoholic.
Even though information on alcohol abuse indicates that alcoholism is a disease that can't be cured, it can certainly be treated. Chances are no matter where you live, you are located near some type of treatment program. Treatment for alcoholism most often uses both counseling and medications to help someone stop drinking.
It is very difficult to stop drinking without help. If you or a loved one has a drinking problem, you should seek treatment at an alcohol abuse center. With treatment and support, you can be able to stop drinking and build your new life.
While treatment for alcoholism can be very effective for many people, not everyone is helped. Some people stop drinking altogether and never take another drink again. Some people remain sober for long periods of time, but then have relapses. Others cannot stop drinking for very long at all, sometimes not at all.
Treatment, however, is your best chance at becoming sober and staying sober. Statistics show that the longer someone goes without drinking, the better the chance that they will stay sober indefinitely.
You do not have to be an actual alcoholic to have an alcohol problem. Another class of individuals is called alcohol abusers. Many people think that alcoholism and alcohol abuse are the same thing. This is not true.
- Alcohol abuse does NOT include the loss of control due to the physical dependence and extremely strong cravings an alcoholic has for alcohol.
- Alcohol abuse symptoms DO include such things as drinking too much and too often.
- Alcohol abuse effects can include missing work or school, not living up to family responsibilities, and driving while drunk which, of course, can lead to arrests, car crashes and even the death of you or someone else. According to the CDC, there are almost 80,000 deaths in the US each year that are mostly due to excessive alcohol consumption
- In 2008, there were almost 200,000 emergency room visits by people under the age of 21 because of injuries from alcohol consumption.
- Information on Alcohol Abuse shows that excessive alcohol can also lead to medical conditions such as liver cirrhosis.
- Abusing alcohol is also dangerous for pregnant women and does not mix well with many medications.
One bit of information on alcohol abuse that many are not aware of is that binge drinking, even if it's only done a few times a year, is a form of alcohol abuse. Many teenagers and college students and even adults of all ages engage in binge drinking and deny that they have an alcohol problem.
According to the CDC, teen alcohol abuse is a major public health problem even though it is illegal to drink under the age of 21. In fact, people under 21, (12 years old-20 years old) consume more than 10% of alcohol in the United States.
Information on alcohol abuse shows that binge drinking can be very dangerous.
- It can lead to alcohol poisoning which can lead to death.
- It can cause people to do things they would not otherwise do such as drink and drive or engage in other substance abuse or other situations that can be dangerous.
- You may be risking your life if you engage in binge drinking. Not only can it be harmful by making you do things you would not otherwise do, it can also lead to alcohol dependence.
Information on alcohol abuse shows us statistics in the United States alone that are quite scary.
- Almost 10 percent of adults in the US is an alcoholic or abuses alcohol.
- It is more common among men than women.
- It is more common between the ages of 18 and 29.
- Children who start drinking at a very early age greatly increase their chance of having alcohol problems the rest of their lives.
- the 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found the following when they surveyed students about their use of alcohol during the past 30 days: They found that 24% engaged in binge drinking, 42% drank some kind of alcohol, 10% drove after drinking alcohol, 28% rode with a driver who had been drinking alcohol.
- in 2008, it was reported that almost 30% of people between the ages of 12 to 20 years drank alcohol, 20% of them admitting that this included binge drinking.
If you are trying to figure out if someone you know has an alcohol problem, some of the following questions may help you figure it out.
- have you or your loved one ever felt like you needed to cut back on your drinking?
- have other people criticized your drinking?
- have you ever felt guilty or felt bad about your drinking?
- if you had a hangover when you woke up in the morning, have you ever had a drink first thing to help get rid of the hangover?
Answering yes to any one or all of those questions can mean that you have a problem. If you think you or someone you know has an alcohol problem, it's very important to see a doctor right away. They can help you decide if the problem really exists and plan the best treatment course for you.
People often try to just cut back on their own. If one is truly an alcoholic, it is very unlikely that you can just cut back. The only answer for alcoholism is cutting it all out completely.
On the other hand, if you're not alcohol dependent, but you have some alcohol-related problems, you may be able to start drinking less and get rid of those alcohol-related problems. However, if you can't, you need to stop drinking altogether.
One of the most difficult parts of treating alcoholism is getting someone to even admit they have a problem. Many alcoholics refuse to admit that they are alcoholics or have a problem with alcohol.
It is very hard to help someone if they don't want to help themselves. In extreme circumstances, there may be court ordered treatment or medical emergency care. However, many people have to hit bottom before they're willing to take action.
Alcohol abuse intervention, however, may be an option. Family members and friends must stop covering up for the alcoholic and stop supporting their habit. It is important to let an alcoholic have to take responsibility for their actions.
For more information on alcohol abuse, specifically about interventions, please see our page about alcohol drug intervention. We also have numerous pages on alcohol treatment centers including free rehab centers. If you or a loved one has a problem, please get help today.
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