Defining and Recognizing Alcohol Problems

Alcohol Abuse vs. Alcoholism

Alcoholism: A progressive and possibly fatal disease due to an addiction to alcohol. Signs of Alcoholism include:

  • A tolerance to alcohol requiring you to drink more alcohol than others of similar size in order to feel its effects.
  • Inability to control the amount of alcohol you drink
  • Concern over how long it will be before your next drink
  • Continued use of alcohol after it has caused problems
  • Denial of how alcohol negatively affects your life
  • Withdrawal symptoms such as shakiness, increased heart rate, difficulty sleeping and even seizures.

To treat alcoholism you need to consult your doctor for a recovery program.

Alcohol Abuse: A behavior which often leads to alcoholism, and is characterized by the following...

  • Repeated binges of excessive drinking, which cause social or health problems.
  • You can still control the amount of alcohol you drink.
  • You do not have an addiction to alcohol.

To treat alcohol abuse, as long as you are not addicted, and you still have control over the amount of alcohol you drink, then significantly cutting back on alcohol may be enough.

Do I have an alcohol problem? If you answer yes to any of these questions you may have a problem.

  • Do you ever experience memory loss due to heavy drinking?
  • Do you gulp your drinks instead of sip them?
  • Do you drink alone?
  • Do you get into trouble while drinking?
  • Do you lie about drinking?
  • Do you need to drink in order to relax?
  • Do you drink in the morning before school?
  • Do you drink when you get mad at someone?
  • Do you drink to deal with your problems?
  • Are your grades suffering?
  • Have you unsuccessfully tried to drink less?
  • Do you get drunk when you don't intend to?
  • Can you drink a lot more alcohol than someone else of your size before feeling its effects?

Treatment for Alcoholism

It is difficult to admit you need help. Treatment can be very challenging. You may experience a relapse. However, the help you receive will greatly improve your life and the life of those close to you. It may even save your life or the life of someone else. If you have an addiction to alcohol the only way to treat your disease is by completely abstaining from drinking alcohol. This is one habit you cannot wean yourself off of. Talk to your physician for the best way to quit. Quitting alcohol is very difficult once you're addicted, so don't try to do it completely on your own. Get the advice of a professional. If he tells you to check into an inpatient treatment program, then do it. Whatever the treatment, joining an alcohol anonymous group is highly recommended. You will probably be surprised how many alcoholics from your community you already know.

You can acquire free information on alcoholism and how to quit from the national Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism by visiting...
http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/

For your local Alcohol Anonymous group, visit...
http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org/

The National Council on Alcoholism and drug Dependence (NCADD) can provide information on treatment resources in your area. To reach them visit...
http://www.ncadd.org/
Or call 1(800)NCA-CALL or 1(800)622-2255

Nutrition for those who are weaning themselves off alcohol

  • Zinc, vitamin C and protein help prevent cell damage and cancer.
  • Vitamin B helps prevent polyneuritis and pyridoxine.

I Know an Alcoholic

Living with an alcoholic

  • 43% of U.S. adults have been exposed to alcohol abuse within their family.
  • 1 in five Americans lives with an alcoholic while growing up.
  • Children of alcoholics are four times more likely to become alcoholics themselves.

Confronting an Alcoholic
Teenagers are especially vulnerable to becoming alcoholics. If you have a friend who's drinking habit has become a serious problem, you may want to confront that person. Many alcoholics are in denial of their problem. They see alcohol abuse as a habit instead of a serious problem. Their relatives and friends can also be in denial of the problem. Alcoholism can kill. Confronting them and constructively encouraging them to face their problem could save their life. The main objective to confronting an alcoholic is to make them recognize that alcohol is at least partly responsible for many problems they're experiencing in their present life. Here are some tips on how to accomplish this...

  • Raise the subject when they are sober.
  • Explain the consequences of alcoholism including job loss, organ damage, diseases, divorce and the destruction of close relationships.
  • Make it clear that you refuse to bail them out of future problems.
  • Don't ever give in. If you let them change the subject, disregard what you have to say, or make unfulfilled promises to you, then they will not take your intervention seriously again. Don't let up until they are facing the reality of their alcoholism. And once they've agreed to get help, hold them to their promise. If they ignore their promise to get help, then show them the consequences of their actions. Cut them off from your company, and tell them exactly how you feel.
  • Do not place blame on the person or pass judgment on their character. Instead focus on the disease of alcoholism, it's consequences and how to get help. Blaming them or judging them may make them feel angry, misunderstood and resistant to your help.
  • Confront them as soon as they are sober. Do not procrastinate. The longer you wait, the harder it will be for them to recover, and the more damaging their disease will become.

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Related Info

The treatment programs offered at alcohol rehab facilities may vary but all of them work towards helping the patient get rid of alcohol addiction.

For more information and ways to cope with an alcoholic relative visit...
http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/
Or call 1(888)4AL-ANON Monday through Friday 8am to 6pm ET for meeting information

You can acquire free information on alcoholism and how to quit from the national Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism by visiting...
http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/

For your local Alcohol Anonymous group, visit...
http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org/

The National Council on Alcoholism and drug Dependence (NCADD) can provide information on treatment resources in your area. To reach them visit...
http://www.ncadd.org/
Or call 1(800)NCA-CALL or 1(800)622-2255