Problem drinking and alcoholism are actually two different things. An alcoholic will have some particular characteristics that will distinguish him from someone who just has a problem with drinking. A person who has become an alcoholic will have a strong craving for alcohol, and once they begin drinking, they will not be able to stop. If they do try and stop drinking, they will start to have withdrawal symptoms, such as sweating, shaking and nausea. They may not be able to sleep. It will take more alcohol than before for them to become intoxicated, since they develop a tolerance for it.
When a person has all these traits present, they can be said to be an alcoholic. When this is the case, the person should not try to stop drinking suddenly, as this could be dangerous. They usually will need medical help to get through withdrawal, as some of the withdrawal symptoms can be fatal. Even if the person thinks they only have a drinking problem, it is best to get a medical evaluation to determine the safe way to come off alcohol.
No matter whether an individual has a “simple” drinking problem or is an alcoholic, it is usually the case that their lives become problematic. A person who abuses alcohol or is addicted to it can have problems at work, can have relationships that are not going well, and can get into legal difficulties. Either person will find much benefit in a treatment program, as they really need to change their life before someone loses a family, a job, or even gets injured or killed in an accident.
A standard drink contains a standard amount of alcohol. With beer, it is twelve ounces. With wine, it is five ounces. With spirits such as whiskey, it is the size of a shot, or 1.5 ounces. These standards were developed so someone can effectively measure their alcohol consumption.
When mixing cocktails and having other mixed drinks, it becomes more difficult to estimate the amount of alcohol consumed. You will find an online alcohol calculator on the website of the National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse. Here you can work out what sort of alcohol intake is consumed with different drink recipes.
It is unfortunate that there is a wide consensus that drinking is acceptable and being drunk is okay or even in some cultures, normal. In the United States, it is considered fine for people to get drunk at New Year’s Eve celebrations, at sporting events or at parties. Alcohol is, after all, legal. But drinking responsibly is important. And not becoming an alcoholic or even a problem drinker.
There are generally standardized limits for safe alcohol consumption for men and women. Although everyone is different, these are usually safe guidelines. For men, it should be no more than four drinks in one day and no more than fourteen drinks in a week. For women, it should be no more than three drinks in one day and no more than seven drinks in a week.
However, a person can still have problems if drinking too much too quick or on an empty stomach. Additionally, if an individual has certain health problems, this can complicate matters and change the outlined limits.
Someone who is an alcoholic will find all sorts of problems coming to haunt them. Familial situations are common as are financial difficulties and problems in the workplace. The alcoholic loses much self-respect. The personality itself seems to change when they have been drinking and even when they have not. A large factor of change with an alcoholic is his or her health. The body does not stand up well to excessive drinking.
Of course, it has been reported many times in the news about accidental drownings, traffic accidents and falls that were alcohol-related. There are around 2.5 million deaths each year due to alcohol. Some health conditions resulting from excessive drinking are:
>Cirrhosis of the liver
The body of an alcoholic does not recover well from diseases, as the immune system is weakened. All these things added together can seriously endanger someone’s life, and makes it imperative the person seek help in getting alcohol-free.
Look over a person’s life to determine if they have a real problem with alcohol. Is their drinking interfering with their work or school? Do they drink even though they know they will be driving or doing something else that would put him or others at risk? Do they have memory losses or blackouts?
You will be able to tell if problem drinking has escalated to alcoholism when the person can no longer control how much he or she drinks. The individual will need to drink more to get the same intoxication as before. When he doesn’t drink, he will get shaky, anxious and sweaty. He will feel sick with withdrawal. You may be able to tell the person has become an alcoholic when he or she drinks early in the day and stays drunk for a long period of time. An alcoholic will make excuses for the drinking, and give up other activities that he or she used to enjoy.
When alcoholism has taken over a life, it is a tragedy to see the person’s affairs go into a downward spiral, things just spinning out of control. Where will it end? Usually there are only a few options – illness, jail, complete loss of all he or she loves, or even death to the addicted person.
Millions lose their lives due to alcohol-related accidents and illnesses. Millions more lose their quality of life. The worst parts of our society stem from alcohol such as domestic violence, child neglect, divorce and assaults as well as suicides.
Although about half the people of the world consume alcohol, many don’t have drinking problems, but even if one person becomes addicted, it is one person too many. The most-at-risk age group for alcohol-related fatalities is that group of people between the ages of 15 to 29. Within this group, nine percent of the deaths come from alcohol consumption.
You will find that the World Health Organization (WHO) gives statistics for alcohol consumption from around the world. The highest rate of alcohol fatalities occur in Russia and nearby countries. Twenty percent of the deaths of males in these countries come from alcohol. Australia has about thirty percent of its traffic accidents and a third of its falls and drownings come from alcohol consumption. In Poland, about half of the people who froze to death in one winter were drunk, according to police reports.
In Bosnia, those who drink in that country consume about five ounces of alcohol every day. IN China, Eastern Europe and South and Central America, five to ten percent of all deaths are alcohol-related. In these countries, as well as many others, cirrhosis of the liver kills more than traffic accidents. Cirrhosis of the liver comes from excessive alcohol consumption.
It is vital to get treatment for alcoholism, and there are programs that can provide lasting recovery. The person must first be safely gotten off alcohol, and then put through steps to get back his or her life. The recovering alcoholic must learn or re-learn life skills that give him the tools to live a life without alcohol and without the need to turn to drink to try and solve their problems.
The best solution to addiction to alcohol is an inpatient facility. This would preferably be somewhere at a good distance from the person’s normal daily environment. This way they will be removed from some of the aspects of life that could have led them to drinking. Surroundings are important in recovery.
Some have tried rehab program after rehab program, only to relapse once again. We can find the right program for you or your loved one. You want one with a very high success rate at achieving lasting sobriety. We will interview the alcoholic and determine which program is right for him or her, one that will give him the chance for true recovery.