Addiction to alcohol destroys lives. An alcoholic has lost control, craving drink and giving in to the cravings without fail. The person who is addicted to alcohol cannot really help it. If he or she stops drinking, the withdrawal symptoms are too horrible to bear. The withdrawal from alcohol also can be dangerous, depending on the extent of addiction.

What is a Safe Level of Alcohol Consumption?

There are safe drinking levels. Reportedly, moderate consumption can actually have health benefits. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that men can safely have two drinks a day, and women one. A woman who is pregnant, however, should not drink alcohol at all.

One drink is measured as a single 12-ounce bottle or can of beer, 1.5 ounces of alcoholic liquor at 80-proof or a five ounce glass of 12-ounce bottle or can of beer, 1.5 ounces of alcoholic liquor at 80-proof or a five ounce glass of wine.

What is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is defined as an addiction to alcohol. According to the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, alcoholism has four components. These are:

>Loss of control
>Physical dependence

When a person has a strong urge or feels he must have a drink, it is cravings causing this. It results in the compulsive behavior of seeking to drink some alcoholic beverage. Loss of control means that the person does not exert any discipline on his or her drinking. He or she will continue to drink even when problems come about, such as getting into legal troubles because of it, or losing their job. Physical dependence results in withdrawal symptoms appearing when the person tries to suddenly abstain from drinking.

Someone who is addicted to alcohol will find they need more and more alcohol to achieve the desired effect from drinking. They may try and control their consumption to no avail. Regular life activities often suffer as they will give up responsibilities in order to drink instead.

Alcohol Abuse versus Alcoholism

There is a difference between alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Someone who is simply abusing alcohol may have some financial problems or social problems because of their drinking, but he still drinks. He will not go through a dangerous withdrawal if he ceases to consume alcohol. He will not have the physical or psychological dependence of a true alcoholic. He could possibly recover on his own, without going to a rehab.

An alcoholic, on the other hand, will require large amounts of alcohol to become intoxicated. He will start to feel symptoms of withdrawal when he does not drink. His cravings are strong for another drink.

The Dangers of Being Addicted to Alcohol

We know that having a real drinking problem can be dangerous. Besides failing at fulfilling normal obligations around the home and on the job, a person addicted to alcohol endangers others when her or she drives a car or operates machinery. Relationships suffer and loved ones can finally turn their back in despair.

Signs of a Drinking Problem

You can discover if you or a loved one has a drinking problem by stepping back and taking a look at his or her life. You need to take an exterior viewpoint, rather than listening to what the person says when confronted with his drinking.

When a person says they are going to cut back on drinking, and that it will be no problem, do they? Are they able to cut down?  Are they ignoring their responsibilities – no matter the excuses presented? Have they had accidents? Does he go missing for a period of time, even days or weeks? Do they have a drink in the morning?

You can find out if you ask them to go to a party and not drink during the entire time they are there. Often when someone has a drinking problem, they say they only do it socially. However, if they can’t go to an event without drinking, their problem may be deeper than they say.

Worried about a teen having a drinking problem or being addicted? Remember, however, that teenagers have natural growing pains and to judge these symptoms serious indications when they appear suddenly, or are extreme or you see several simultaneously. Here are some things to watch for:

>Temper flares
>Defensive behavior
>Low grades
>Disciplinary actions at school
>Acting rebellious
>Becoming sloppy and not caring
>Smelling alcohol on their breath
>Finding alcohol in their possession

Is Alcoholism a Disease?

No, alcoholism is not a disease. There is no germ that causes alcoholism. It is simply a situation where a person has become addicted and has no control over the cravings that drive them. It is not a moral problem or any sort of weakness that causes a person to drink excessively and neglect their home and family. They are consumed with the physical dependence, and the only way to break the habit is to do an effective alcohol rehab program.

Effects of Excessive Drinking

Alcohol abuse can result in many serious illnesses. It can also cause many personality changes in a person. The harm it causes the person’s family and even society is extensive. When you weigh the heavy toll alcohol has taken on our highways, the devastation it has caused families, you really have to learn more about alcohol abuse and alcoholism so you can take effective action with a loved one who drinks.

>Short-term Effects of Heavy Alcohol Consumption

The most dangerous effect of drinking too much is alcohol poisoning. Death can result from binge drinking due to poisoning of the body. Also when someone consumes a lot of alcohol in a short amount of time, his or her blood pressure can decrease as well as respiration. This can be deadly.

When someone drinks heavily, whether or not they are what is considered an alcoholic, there are a number of short-term consequences that can kill. The drinker can fall down or get in an accident. He can get involved in violent incidents, either as the perpetrator or as the victim. He can have a blackout and do things he would never do sober.

>Long-term Effects of Heavy Alcohol Consumption

Long-term use of alcohol can cause havoc with one’s body. Heavy alcohol consumption has been noted to be involved in many cases of cancer, from cancer of the mouth and pharynx to the liver and breast. Damage to the liver is well documented, and the liver can get to a point where it can no longer function.

Some of the other long-term health effects include:

>High blood pressure
>Liver disease
>Heart failure

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol withdrawal is tough. It can be harder to come off of alcohol than many drugs. Many rehab programs say that alcoholics will relapse as part of the recovery process. However, this is far from the truth. There are alcohol rehabs that can provide lasting recovery when approaching rehab treatment in the right way.

When a person addicted to alcohol decides to stop drinking, “cold turkey,” the withdrawal symptoms begin and can be very, very unpleasant. In some cases, withdrawal can be life threatening. It depends on the length of time someone has been addicted and how much alcohol they have consumed in a day’s period. The individual’s health and other factors weigh in as well.

For someone who drinks regularly and heavily, they can experience withdrawal symptoms around five or ten hours from the last drink. These symptoms will increase and become very intense for about two or three days, lasting about a week or so.

Some of the withdrawal symptoms experienced are:

>Being very emotional
>Delirium tremens

Those who experience delirium tremens and do not get assistance can die. In fact, thirty-five percent of those cases that don’t get treatment assistance when having delirium tremens have fatal results. For those who have severe withdrawal symptoms, medical monitoring is important. They must be cared for medically so they don’t dehydrate or have other severe consequences. Conventional treatment for withdrawal can include sedation for the extreme agitation and confusion that results.

Not every alcoholic will need to have constant medical intervention. But this should be determined by professionals. When it is determined that medical monitoring is needed, it is a good idea to go along with that plan. The worst of withdrawal can include grand mal seizures and delirium as well as high fever. The person will need fluids, vital signs tracked and blood tests to find if there is organ stress or breakdown.

Statistics of Interest

Most of the traffic fatalities in the US are caused by those who drink frequently. Tens of thousands of people die each year from alcohol-related accidents. Then consider that almost 14 million people in the US abuse alcohol or are alcoholics. This is a scary number. Alcoholism is a problem that does not just affect the alcoholic. Alcohol-related tragedy can enter the life of anyone living today.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment

It is dangerous for an alcoholic to try quitting on their own. Withdrawal can actually be fatal. It is best to go to a drug rehab, or to a medical detox first and then a rehab that will help the alcoholic maintain their sobriety.

An effective rehab should carefully monitor the person throughout recovery and follow up after done. An alcoholic should enter a residential long-term treatment for the best results. A program that is running at a location far away from the area where they live is a good idea, as this removes them from the environment where people and places can trigger the desire to drink.

Think about how long it has taken someone to get to the point where he needs a rehab to come off alcohol. It can take years to get in that condition. The residential program he begins to come off his alcohol habit should be longer than 90 days to be the most effective. It takes time to do all that is needed to remain alcohol-free when he or she returns home.

We will find the right alcohol rehab center for you or a loved one. This won’t cost you a penny for us to find the most effective program that will provide lasting sobriety.

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