What is an Alcoholic?

Alcoholism is a powerful, life-threatening disease. A person who has this disease is physically dependent on alcohol and has no control over his or her drinking. It is a long lasting disease and there is no known cure for it. The disease worsens over time.

An alcoholic is a person who suffers from the disease of alcoholism. Alcoholics become dependent on alcohol because their bodies cannot process alcohol normally. Most alcoholics are regular people with jobs, families, and the usual responsibilites that accompnay life.

Why Do Alcoholics Drink? Alcohol can make people feel relaxed, stimulated, or euphoric and is used by many people at social occasions or celebrations. The difference between alcoholics and others who drink is that an alcoholic will continue drinking, even after feeling the desired physical effects. The disease prevents alcoholics from realizing they're dependent on alcohol. It alters their thinking and "tricks" them into thinking thay can handle their drinking. The alcohol chemically and electrically disturbs the alcoholics' brains, causing them to not see their behavior the ways others od, so they continue to drink.

It's not necessary to drink a lot, or over an extended period of time to be an alcoholic. An alcoholic is characterized by the way they drink, such as in an uncontrolled manner, not by the amount or how often they drink.

The difference between being a problem drinker, or heavy drinker, is that the alcoholic has a greater emotional response to alcohol and often attaches unreasonable significance to it. Alcoholics, problem drinkers, and heavy drinkers need help to stop the psychological, physical, and social problems which are caused by too much drinking.

How Can I Tell If I, Or Someone I Love, Is Dependent On Alcohol?

Here is a short quiz you can take to help you find out:
  1. Do you or a loved one miss work or appointments because of drinking?
  2. Do you or a loved one ever binge on alcohol?
  3. Do you or a loved one find that your family or friends are concerned or harmed by your drinking?
  4. Do you or a loved one need more and more alcohol to become intoxicated?
  5. Do you or a loved one regret things said or done while intoxicated?
  6. Do you or a loved one eat very little when drinking?
  7. Do you or a loved one feel guilty at times because of drinking?
  8. Do you or a loved one need to drink in the morning to recover from a hangover?
  9. Do you or a loved one promise to control or cut down on drinking and fail to keep the promise?
  10. Do you or a loved one have loss of memory (blackouts) during or after drinking?

If you answered yes to one or more of the above questions, you or a loved one may be an alocholic. A professional who is trained to deal with alcoholism can help you determine if you or a loved one is an alocholic and can help you determine what to do about it.

Symptoms of Alcoholism

CRAVING - A strong need or urge to drink alcohol.

LACK OF CONTROL - Being unable to stop drinking alcohol.

PHYSICAL DEPENDENCE - Having withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, shakiness, sweating, and anxiety after a person stops drinking.

TOLERANCE - The gradual need for more and more alcohol to get "high".

What Are The Short Term Effects Of Alcohol On The Body?

  • Anemia
  • Decreased Fitness
  • Skin Problems
  • Upset Stomach
  • Diarrhea

What Are The Long Term Effects Of Alcohol On The Body?

  • Osteoporosis
  • Arthritis
  • Malnutrition
  • Metabolic and Immune Disorders
  • Increased Risk of Cancer of the Mouth and Throat
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Cancer of the Voice Box
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Ulcers and Gastritis
  • Cancer of the Pancreas
  • Cirrhosis of the Liver
  • Infections
  • Enlargement of the Heart
  • Hypertensions
  • Hardening of the Arteries
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • Hypoglycemia

Alcoholism has little to do with willpower. Alcoholics suffer from a powerful craving, or uncontrollable need for alcohol that can be as strong as the need for food or water. The majority of alcoholics need assistance in order to be able to stop drinking alcohol.

Some helpful websites that can give you more information on how to deal with the disease of alcoholism are:

www.sobercity.com

medlineplus.gov

www.lisaslight.com

www.alcoholicsanonymous.com

 

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