Alcoholism Alcoholism, Alcohol is liquid distilled product of fermented fruits, grains and vegetables used as solvent, antiseptic and sedative for potential abuse. Possible effects are intoxication, sensory alteration, and anxiety reduction. Symptoms of overdose staggering, odor of alcohol on breath, loss of coordination, slurred speech, dilated pupils, fetal alcohol syndrome in babies, and nerve and liver damage. Withdrawal Syndrome is first sweating, tremors then altered perception, followed by psychosis, fear, and finally auditory hallucinations. Indications of possible miss-use are confusion, disorientation, and loss of motor nerve control, convulsions, shock, shallow respiration, involuntary defecation, drowsiness, respiratory depression and possible death. Alcohol is also known as Booze, Juice, Brew, Vino, and Sauce. Most people know why alcohol is abused some reasons are relaxation, sociability, and cheap high.

Alcohol is a depressant that decreases the responses of the central nervous system. Alcoholism is a disease that has been destroying peoples lives mentally, physically and emotionally throughout the entire world since the early 18th century. Sometimes people get the idea that alcohol abuse and alcoholism are the same thing. The National Council on Alcoholism says “Alcohol Abuse” a problem to solve. Alcoholism a disease to conquer. Alcohol Abuse is the misuse of the substance, alcohol. You know you are abusing an alcoholic substance when you continue to use it, even though you’re having social or personal problems because of your use.

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You still use it even though it’s causing you physical problems. Using it the way you do is causing you legal problems. You don’t live up to major responsibilities on the job or in your family. Alcoholism is being addicted, or dependent on alcohol. You may be dependent on alcohol if any three of the following are true. You have to use larger and larger amounts of it to get drunk.

You have withdrawal when you try to stop or cut down. You use it much more and for longer times than you really want to. You can’t seem to cut back and feel a strong need or craving for it. You spend a lot of your time just getting the substance. You’d rather use than work or be with friends and family.

You keep using, no matter what. The National Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates based on research, that a Blood Alcohol Concentration between .02 and .04 makes your chances of being in a single-vehicle fatal crash 1.4 times higher than for someone who has not had a drink. If your BAC is between .05 and .09, you are 11.1 times more likely to be in a fatal single vehicle crash, and 48 times more likely at a BAC between .10 and .14. If you’ve got a BAC of .15, your risk of being in a single-vehicle fatal crash is estimated to be 380 times higher than a non-drinker’s. Recent research is showing that true substance dependence may be caused, in part, by brain chemistry deficiencies. That is one reason that substance dependence is considered a disease.

Excessive drinking can cause liver damage and psychotic behavior. As little as two beers or drinks can impair coordination and thinking. Alcohol is often used by substance abusers to enhance the effects of other drugs. Alcohol continues to be the most frequently abused substance among young adults. Alcohol abuse is a pattern of problem drinking that results in health consequences, social, problems, or both. However, alcoholism refers to a disease that is characterized by alcohol-seeking behavior that leads to the loss of control while drinking. Short-term effects of alcohol use include distorted vision, hearing, and coordination. Long-term effects of heavy alcohol use include: loss of appetite, vitamin deficiencies, stomach ailments, skin problems, sexual impotence, liver damage, heart and central nervous system damage. Using alcohol to escape problems, a change in personality, turning from Dr.

Jekyl to Mr. Hyde, a high tolerance level blackouts, sometimes not remembering what happened while drinking, problems at work or in school as a result of drinking, concern shown by family and friends about drinking. As with other diseases, there is the possibility of taking medicine to get better. There is now promising evidence that taking medicine can correct some of the deficiencies that may cause drug dependence. It is beginning to look like a combination of the right medicine along with talking therapy and behavior therapy, will help us treat this disease, as we have never before been able to. One drug is Naltrexone, sometimes known as ReVia.

Fluoxetine (Prozac) and Desipramine (Norpramin) have also shown promise. Alcohol abuse is also a serious medical and social problem, but is not the same as alcoholism. Alcohol abuse is the intentional overuse of alcohol. This includes occasional and celebratory over-drinking. Not all people who abuse alcohol become alcoholics, but alcohol abuse by itself can have serious medical effects. Overuse of alcohol is considered to be more than 3-4 drinks per occasion for women -more than 4-5 drinks per occasion for men. One drink equals one 12 ounce bottle of beer or winecooler, one 5 ounce glass of wine, or one and a half ounces of liquor.

Alcohol is probably the oldest drug known and has been used since the early 1700s societies. There are numerous types of alcohol; ethyl alcohol is the type consumed in drinking. In its pure form it is a clear substance with little odor. People drink alcohol in three main kinds of beverages, beers, which are made from grain through brewing and fermentation and contain from 3% to 8% alcohol; wines, which are fermented from fruits such as grapes and contain from 8% to 12% alcohol naturally, and up to 21% when fortified by adding alcohol; and distilled beverages, spirits such as whiskey, gin, and vodka, which on the average contain from 40% to 50% alcohol. Drinkers may become addicted to any of these beverages.

The effects of alcohol on the body depend on the amount of alcohol in the blood, blood-alcohol concentration. This changes with the rate of consumption and with the rate at which the drinker’s physical system absorbs alcohol. The higher the alcohol content of the beverage consumed, the more alcohol will enter the bloodstream. The amount and type of food in the stomach can also affect the absorption rate. Drinking when the stomach is filled is less intoxicating than when it is empty. Foods in the stomach, which contain fat and protein, delay alcohol absorption.

Body weight is also a factor, the heavier the person the slower the absorption of alcohol. After alcohol passes through the stomach, it is quickly absorbed through the walls of the intestines into the bloodstream and carried to various organ systems of the body. Although small amounts of alcohol are processed by the kidneys and secreted in the urine, and other small amounts are processed through the lungs and exhaled in the breath, most of the alcohol is metabolized by the liver. As the alcohol is metabolized, it gives off heat. It is possible to drink at the same rate as the alcohol is being oxidized out of the body.

Most people, however, drink faster than this, and so the concentration of alcohol in the bloodstream keeps rising. Alcohol begins to impair the brain’s ability to function when the blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) reaches 0.05%, that is, 0.05 grams of alcohol per 100 cubic centimeters of blood. Most state traffic laws in the United States presume that a driver with a BAC of 0.10% is intoxicated. The person will experience a great deal of difficulty in attempting to walk and will want to lie down. When the blood-alcohol content reaches about 0.30%, which can be attained when a person rapidly drinks about a pint of whiskey, the drinker will have trouble comprehending and could become unconscious. At 0.35% to 0.50%, the brain centers that control breathing and heart action are affected, concentrations above 0.50% may cause death, although a person generally becomes unconscious before absorbing a lethal dosage. Moderate use of alcohol is not harmful, but heavy drinking is associated with alcoholism and many other health problems. The effects of excessive drinking on major organ systems of the human body become clear after heavy, continuous drinking or after intermittent drinking over a period of time that may range from 5 to 30 years.

The parts of the body most affected by heavy drinking are the digestive and nervous systems. Digestive-system disorders that may be related to heavy drinking include cancer of the mouth, throat, and esophagus, gastritis, ulcers, cirrhosis of the liver, and inflammation of the pancreas. Disorders to the nervous system are neuritis, lapse of memory blackouts, hallucinations, and extreme tremor as found in delirium tremens. Delirium tremens may occur when a person stops drinking after a period of heavy, continuous imbibing. Permanent damage to the brain and central nervous system may also result Recent evidence shows that pregnant women who drink heavily may give birth to infants with the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, which could be face and body abnormalities and, in some cases, brain damage. Plus, the combination of alcohol and drugs, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, antibiotics, and aspirin, can be fatal, even when both are taken in nonlethal doses.

If you have a drinking problem, or if you suspect you have a drinking problem, there are many other people like you, and there is help available. You could talk to school counselor, a friend, or a parent. Excessive alcohol consumption causes more than …


Alcoholism CUNNING, BAFFLING, POWERFUL, PATIENT AND DEADLY Alcoholism: Today’s substance abuse, whether alcohol or drugs, continues to be a major social problem. Common patterns occur in all forms of substance abuse. While some types of substance abuse problems are slightly different in terms of causes and cures, experts agree that there are some do’s and don’ts which relate to kicking the abuse habit. If you or a loved one have a substance abuse problem, this article can give you sound advice on understanding what substance abuse is, and what to do about it. In this article, we will refer to alcohol, although the word drug may be used synonymously in place of alcohol.

What is Alcoholism? Alcoholism is a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. The disease is often progressive and fatal. It is characterized by continuous or periodic: impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial. The rational for continued use of alcohol is centered on, Common addiction distortions. MENTAL FILTER: Magnify the negative details and eliminate the positive.

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E.g. – using alcohol is so incredible. It is the most pleasurable thing I know. (filter out the negative effects) POLARIZED THINKING: Things are black and white, good or bad. You are perfect or a complete failure. E.g.

– My life would be void of pleasure with out alcohol. OVERGENERAL- ZATION To come to a general conclusion based on a single incident or piece of evidence. E.g. – Alcohol has made for some great times with friends. I must have alcohol in order to capitalize on the potential for fun. MIND READING You think you are able to define how people are thinking about you.

E.g. – People will not like me if I give up alcohol. There is a side that come out that is very attractive. CATASTROPHIC EXAGGERATION You expect disaster, and disaster means the end of the world. E.g. – I won’t be able to tolerate the discomfort of sobriety I AM CONTROLLED You feel externally controlled, you see yourself as helpless and a victim of fate.

E.g. – The alcohol makes my days tolerable, without it, I’ll not be able to function. I MUST CONTROL You feel that control is an all or nothing thing. Any ease on the reins will result in a fall so disastrous you will never regain control. E.g.

– Without alcohol I may get depressed, and I will never be able to come out of it. BLAMING You hold other people responsible for your pain. E.g. – If I give up my drinking, I will be a bare wire, forced to face my abuse riddled past. These are common patterns of substance addiction, keeping in mind that most alcoholics are unwilling to admit they are real alcoholics and fit into one or more of these categories.

No person likes to think he is bodily and mentally different from other people. Therefore, it is not surprising that their drinking careers have been characterized by countless vain attempts to prove they could drink like other people. The idea that somehow, someday they will control and enjoy their drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.

The John Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore uses the following questions as a test for alcoholism. # Yes No 1 Do you loose time from work due to drinking? 2 Is drinking making your home life unhappy? 3 Do you drink because you are shy with other people? 4 Is drinking affecting you reputation? 5 Have you ever felt remorse after drinking? 6 Have you gotten into financial difficulties as a result of drinking? 7 Do you turn to lower companions and an inferior environment when drinking? 8 Does your drinking make you careless of your family’s welfare? 9 Has your ambition decreased since drinking? 10 Do you crave a drink at a definite time daily? 11 Do you want a drink the next morning? 12 Does drinking cause you to have difficulty in sleeping? 13 Has your efficiency decreased since drinking? 14 Is drinking jeopardizing your job or business? 15 Do you drink to escape from worries or troubles? 16 Do you drink alone? 17 Have you ever had a complete loss of memory because of drinking? 18 Has your physician ever treated you for drinking? 19 Do you drink to build your self-confidence? 20 Have you ever been to a hospital or institution on account of drinking? If you have answered yes to any one of the questions, there is a definite warning you may be alcoholic. For those of you that answered with more than one yes, despite all we can say, many of you who are real alcoholics are not going to believe you are in that class. Past addictive behavior has shown that by every form of self-deception and experimentation, you will try to prove yourselves exceptions to the rule, therefore nonalcoholic. If any one who is showing inability to control his drinking can do the right-about- face and drink like a gentleman, our hats are off to you.

Heavens knows, you have probably tried hard enough to drink like other people. Those readers that are still with me, and may have acknowledged that alcohol is a major contributing factor to problems that have developed in your lives, and have an inkling that you need to start changing the direction your life has been going, we will give you some direction on how to cope with kicking the abuse habit. How do I Cope with Addiction Lets assume that you have decided, at least for the time being, to stop your addictive behavior. You are now faced with several problems: 1. How to maintain your motivation through what could be a gradual and at times difficult process of self- improvement.

2. How to cope with urges. 3. How to cope with problems using methods other than the addiction. 4.

How to get the benefits of addiction, or as much of them as possible, without giving up the benefits of stopping. 5. How to interrupt unconscious habit patterns if they exist. 6. How to resolve problems brought on by previous addictive behavior. (relationship, legal, debts, employment etc.) 7. How to develop a new life style that is not centered on the addiction.

Here are some guidelines for each of these problems: 1. Motivation is fundamental, because if you maintain motivation you can persist past any temporary obstacles. The simplest way to establish and maintain motivation is to have an accurate and complete Benefits of Stopping list. The list of benefits is the primary reasons you are stopping. As in learning any new skill, setbacks and rough spots should be expected. Do not allow setbacks to become distorted evidence for incorrect beliefs. 2. For many individuals the crucial problem is coping with urges.

In actuality urges can be uncomfortable but they are not unbearable unless you blow them out of proportion, they do not force you to do anything, they have not driven you crazy yet (and will not), each urge will go away if you simply wait long enough, and the periods between urges which become increasingly longer if you stop. How long it will take for urges to peak, and how rapidly they will subside, depends on many factors, including the specific addiction, the length of the addiction, how successful the program of abstinence has been, and the strength of the developing alternative lifestyle. Because all habits have unconscious components, of which the urge is one, it will take time for these to die away. What is within your control, however, is how you respond to the urge. 3.

Another key issue for most recovering addicts is coping with problems previously coped with by the addiction. A useful way to identify what these problems may be is to identify your high risk situations. These are the situations, places, persons, moods, activities, or conflicts that you suspect will give you difficulty in your plan to abstain. Most addicts are very able to specify what these are. Rather than using this information in a pessimistic fashion, use this information as an opportunity to develop the additional coping skills you need to get through the difficulty. It is also important to remember as you work on developing these coping skills that even though they are not yet fully developed, you can use your urge coping techniques nevertheless.

4. For many individuals, getting the benefits of an addiction even though stopping it, is synonymous with learning the coping skills as described in #3 above. Experience has shown that the common addiction distortions may be a significant factor in these perceived benefits of addiction, which, once no longer experienced, are often perceived to have had only the appearance of what was desired, without much of the actuality. The recovered user recognizes what the addict may not, that rituals, companionship, a rush of good feeling, self-confidence, and other addiction benefits that are enjoyed for their own sake can also be experience from a number of other sources and activities. Even if the intensity of these benefits is at first less than what was experienced with the help of the addiction, with practice these benefits well exceed the intensity of the addiction benefit, because they are the “real thing”, not a deceptive substitute with major side effects.

5. Interrupting unconscious habit patterns is typically not difficult, and can usually be accomplished by putting a barrier between oneself and whatever one uses for the addiction. In the process of overcoming a big enough barrier there is enough time to experience an urge, which can then be coped with using one of the methods already described. 6. The problems that have arisen from the addiction may not go away immediately just because the addiction is stopped.

These problems take time to correct, family adjustment, financial matters, legal, a cleaning up of the wreckage of the past. Some of these old problems may also be a legitimate focus of attention in psychotherapy. 7. Ultimately the development of a lifestyle filled with positive addictions is the best safeguard against a return to strong negative addictions. There is no better time than now to begin moving toward what is most important.

As you take small steps toward your ultimate goals – and there is rarely any other way than by small steps – you will also be building positive addictions, and safeguarding against the return of negative addictions. How could a negative addiction again take hold if I am actually pursuing what is most important to me? There are two main components to accomplishing any task: knowing what to do, and being motivated to do it. Reviewing the benefits of stopping will remind you of your motivation. However being motivated is not enough. No matter how motivated you are, you cannot perform a skill you have not learned.

Practicing the techniques suggested here, and by getting coaching, will eventually get you skilled enough to be able to cope with urges and with any other problems relevant to your addiction. You have reached the end of the article, and no doubt, have developed a better understanding of addictions and the need for your own recovery. Substance abuse can have a happy ending. John Barleycorn, CUNNING, BAFFLING, POWERFUL, PATIENT AND DEADLY can be defeated. Coping with Addictions Arthur T. Horvath, Ph.D. A.B.P.P.

Copyright ,1989 Alcoholics Anonymous World Services Inc. New Your City Are you an Alcoholic? John Hopkins University Hospital, Baltimore, MD. American Society of Addiction Medicine 4601 North Park Ave, Arcade Suite 101, Chevy Chase, M.D. 20815, Fax 301/656-3815 Addiction Research Foundation 33 Russell Street Toronto, Ontario M5S 2S1, Tel: (416) 595-6981.