6 million people addicted to

Alcoholism             InAmerica there are 17.6 million people addicted to alcohol.

Seven millionchildren live in a home with at least one alcoholic parent. Drinking can causejob loss, family issues, and cognitive changes; therefore, those who have adrinking problem will improve their lives when they admit alcohol is a problemand start taking steps toward recovery.             Analcoholic is a person that suffers from the disease of alcoholism. They have aninclination to drink beyond their control. Alcoholics crave alcohol all daylong.

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It consumes their thoughts from morning to night. Eventually, they drink uncontrollably,going from just one or two drinks to an entire pack of beer a day.             Thebrain and body suddenly become dependent on alcohol. Intoxicating drinkstrigger endorphins in the human brain which bond to receptors that causefeelings of pleasure.

People crave more alcohol since they get thesepleasurable sensations. This leads to being more intoxicated or drunk. Desires ofalcohol can persuade a person to drink, even if he or she does not want to. Thishappens often, especially around other people drinking.

Difficult situationscan also lead to more drinking.             Alcoholism can be caused by genes. Childrenwho have an alcoholic parent are four times more likely to acquire alcoholismthan the typical person.

Genes are accountable for half of the risk of alcoholaddiction. In a NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) study,scientists found that genetic components contribute to 40-60% of people whoabuse alcohol. Stronggenes are theexception to the rule, and a gene responsible for the movement ofgamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in synapses between neurons appears to be astrong gene associated with a higher risk of alcoholism. It is still unknownhow, precisely, this genetic sequence can ultimately influence the outcome fora person. (source 2).Environmentalelements can influence alcoholism.

Developmental transitions, such as pubertyand increasing independence, have been associated with alcohol use. (source 1)Adolescents that drink are more likelyto develop alcoholism later in life. Kids that grew up in a sexual orphysically abused home can also be alcoholics.             Thereare a few stages that lead to alcoholism. Social drinking is the first stage ofalcohol abuse. “Social drinking involvesslow, recreational consumption of alcohol as part of family gathering orspecial event.” (p. 43 coping with alcohol abuse).

Social drinkers cancontrol their drinking and hardly ever drink to get intoxicated. For thesedrinkers, alcohol is a subordinate activity. What interests these people is thegathering, food, and being able to have fun without being drunk.             Analcohol abuser’s family may start to notice problems when they start sneakingdrinks.

The abuser may begin to feel guilty and be engrossed with alcohol. Blackouts, drinking to the point of drunkenness, andincreased tolerance (needing more alcohol to achieve the same effect) are allsigns of early alcoholism. (source 4). Alcoholics will find new friends that are alsoheavy drinkers and lose interest in previous liked activities that did notinvolve drinking. They will also start to miss work or are late.             Themiddle stage is when the abuser’s life is unmanageable. They will deny thatthere is a problem with their drinking. Atthis point in the stage, he or she will drink more than intended.

(source 4).Alcohol numbs what you feel, including youremotions. You don’t feel as down, and loneliness is less oppressive. (source 5)Drunkenness desensitizes the feelings ofdepression and other unsatisfactory feelings they may have. People have fearsthat go away once they are intoxicated.

They will do more of the things thatthey were anxious about, which isn’t always a good thing since they’re doing itunder the influence of alcohol. Drinkers are bound to drink in the morning totry and relieve the hangover from the night before.             Inthe last stage, there are many medical issues. Medical complications are numerous and include liver diseases such ascirrhosis or hepatitis. (source 4). Acute pancreatitis, which isinflammation of the pancreas, higher blood pressure, and esophageal bleedingall occurs because of protracted alcohol use. Additionally, these people are athigher risks for strokes and heart attacks.

Humans in this stage of alcoholism canhave seizures and delirium tremens if they stop drinking since they are dependenton alcohol.             Peoplewho drink have problems keeping a job because of feelings of depression, anxiety,fear of failure, and hopelessness. They have to drink in order to remove thesefeelings for a short time, so they can’t work.

It is dangerous for theco-workers because they are working with an impaired, drunk person.             Treatmentsare available for alcoholism. There are support groups, therapy, and even medications.In order to start the treatment process, these people must accept the fact thatthey have a problem.There aremany support groups in the United States for drinking. These groups focus on developingskills needed to stop drinking, establishing a strong support system, settingand reaching goals, and coping with triggers that may cause relapse. An alcohol rehab program is the mosteffective facilitator for recovery.

(source 3) At theserehab centers, they have a detox program. Counselors have to be careful howthey do this because of alcohol withdrawals. Symptoms include sweating, rapidheartbeat, nausea, hallucinations, restlessness, and seizures. It can take upto 10 days for the detox. There are special medicines that can help thewithdrawal symptoms. Topiramate can treat seizures, Naltrexone can assist with theprevention of relapse, and Acamprosate can lessen the impulse to drink alcohol.

AA (alcoholicsanonymous) groups have a 12-step program to stop drinking. This is anorganization for individuals that have been struggling with alcoholism. Oncethat the person admits to having a problem, the 12-step program can begin. Thecounselors believe that it is a necessity to look to something greater thanthemselves to recuperate. Alcoholics are encouraged to write down all the peoplethat they did wrong, and make amends with them.

Alcoholismcan affect the whole family, even if there is only one person with a problem. Alcoholismis responsible for more family problems than any other single cause. Accordingto Silverstein (1990), one of every four families has problems with alcohol.(source 6). Studies show that people with a lack of motivation are less likely toget addicted to alcohol than those who are more motivated. When women drinkwhile pregnant, the alcohol can effect the fetus.

Alcohol is carried throughorgans, tissues, and the placenta. When a pregnant woman drinks, her blood concentrationis the same as her baby’s. There are approximately 5,000 babies born every yearwith critical damage caused by Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). FAS can preventoxygen and nutrition from getting to the baby’s vital organs. Some symptomsinclude heart problems, lack of focus, hyperactivity, problems hearing orseeing, learning disabilities, and many more problems. Parental alcoholism also hasserious effects on regular children in the family.

Many of these children have common symptoms such as low self-esteem,loneliness, guilt, feelings of helplessness, fears of abandonment, and chronicdepression. (source 6).  

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