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Alcoholism: A Serious Problem – But Not Unbeatable!
Because of its legal availability and worldwide social acceptance, alcohol is an easy drug for users to abuse. Alcohol abuse, or alcoholism, is one of the most common and most costly drug addictions throughout the world. The majority of those who consume alcohol do so at least once a week, and, for most people, regular drinking on a social level does not create a dependency on the substance. There are, however, more than 17 million people in the US alone who do develop an alcohol addiction.
A person suffering from alcoholism becomes so obsessed with drinking that it often interferes with their personal life, as well as work, family, and friends. An alcoholic craves alcohol and often stays preoccupied with when and where they will drink next. Once a person with alcohol dependency begins to drink, it is usually hard for them to know when they have had enough, continuing to drink until they are nauseas or passed out.
Continued alcohol abuse creates a higher tolerance to the substance, meaning the person needs to drink more and more to feel the effects they are accustomed to feeling. Alcohol addiction is a physical dependency as well as psychological, so most of those with an alcohol problem experience a number of physical symptoms if they do not drink, including nausea, shakiness, and sweating.
Long term alcohol abuse can cause a variety of health problems, as well as psychological and social conditions. Excessive drinking can lead to heart disease and problems with the liver and pancreas. Neurological problems, sexual dysfunction, and increased risks of several cancers are also associated with alcoholism.
When a person begins to consume alcohol at inappropriate times or in unsuitable places, their alcohol dependency will affect their social and personal life. While under the influence of alcohol, an abuser’s actions may cause conflicts with friends and family, often leading to divorce or domestic violence. Children of a person who suffers from alcoholism can experience severe damage to their emotional development, sometimes lasting into adulthood. Excessive drinking can also create problems at work because of poor performance or attendance due to hangovers or other alcohol related incidents.
There are a number of different opinions about the best help for a person with an alcohol dependency. Detoxification, which is a complete stop to drinking with the substitution of regulated doses of a similar drug, is one method preferred by those who view alcoholism as a disease. There are also a number of medications available for those dealing with alcohol withdrawal.
Moderation Management is a program that encourages moderation of alcohol consumption rather than complete abstinence, with a 17.7 percent success rate in 2002. Counseling and support groups, like Alcoholics Anonymous, are also proven methods of recovering from alcohol dependency. Social and emotional support during recovery is another vital part of overcoming an alcohol addiction.
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