Friday, November 14, 2008

Alcoholism

By Richard P. Holm MD 

There is good science showing a glass or two of wine per night protects against heart disease. But what can be helpful to some, can be poison for others. 

One study found 53% of people in the US have a close relative who has a drinking problem. At last count 17.6 million in this country are alcoholic or alcohol abusive. Alcohol excess causing auto crashes, homicide and suicide, liver-heart-brain-kidney illness, and brain damage to the unborn, costs the US about 185 billion dollars per year, not to mention incalculable human suffering. 

"Alcoholic" means four things: craving, can't stop, withdrawal symptoms, and needing more and more to get high. This is different from "abuse", which means a pattern of drinking which results in failed work or school responsibilities, driving while drunk, legal problems or social and family problems. Although separate by definition, many alcoholics also experience alcohol abuse.

The CAGE questions help identify when there could be a problem: C stands for "cutting down", A for "annoyed" be criticism about drinking, G for feelings of "guilt", and E for the "eye-opener" in the morning to steady nerves. One yes is worrisome, and two means someone needs help. 

There is a myth that alcoholism is a sign of moral weakness, and to seek help is to admit some type of shameful act. In fact, alcoholism is a disease like diabetes or asthma, and not a sign of weakness or ethical deficiency. 

Why is it that alcohol will take hold of some people, and not let go until it's destroyed their lives or the lives of those around them? We dont know the answer to that question but we do know is that if there is a problem with alcohol, there is help to be had. You just need to ask for it.

1 comment:

alcohol treatment center said...

Hopefully this article may serve as an eye-opener to the people, in regards to the harmful effects of alcohol. The statistics show an alarming result of people who are into alcohol abuse. There is a solution to the problem if they are just willing to undergo rehab programs.