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Alcohol Use And Abuse

Putting It All Together: Alcohol Use And Abuse

Friday, January 4, 2013 - 12:58

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

Here is a summary of the important facts and information related to alcohol use and abuse.

  • "Moderate drinking" is drinking that does not usually cause problems for the drinker or society.
  • People are considered to have an alcohol problem when their alcohol use has a negative effect on their life. The type of alcohol used, how much, and for how long, are also involved.
  • Misuse of alcohol can cause many types of problems, including health, social, work or school, and financial problems.
  • Alcohol dependence, also called "alcoholism," is a chronic and potentially fatal disease in which a person is addicted to alcohol. People with alcoholism do not have control over their drinking.
  • Alcoholism is caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, biological, and psychological factors.
  • Alcoholism cannot be cured, but it can be successfully controlled. The main forms of treatment are cognitive-behavioral therapy, support groups, and medication.
  • People with alcoholism usually have to abstain from alcohol in order to control their disease. People with other alcohol problems may be able to control them by cutting down on their drinking.
  • An alcohol problem is not a personal weakness. It is a disease that deserves treatment like any other medical condition.
  • Family and friends are not responsible for the drinking of a loved one, but they can provide valuable support to help the person deal with his or her alcohol problem.
  • About 50 percent of American adults have been affected by alcohol abuse or dependence in their family.
  • Family and friends must deal with any denial they may have about the drinker’s problem. If they stop protecting themselves, the drinker and others from the problem, the drinker then has to face the consequences of his or her behavior and may become more motivated to get help.
  • Do not wait to help until the person who drinks too much brings up the problem or hits bottom. The earlier the drinker gets help, the better the chance of successful recovery.
  • Provide support in helping the person with an alcohol problem accept his or her problem, seek treatment, go through treatment, and avoid relapse.
  • Take care of yourself while you help the drinker.
  • The earlier a drinker gets help, the better the chance of successful recovery.

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