Cancer Risk Factors
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What is Alcohol Dependence? - What are the Warning Signs?
- Facts on Alcoholism - Treatment
- Relapse Prevention - Further
Alcohol dependence is a chronic disease that is
often progressive and fatal. Although alcoholism tends to run in families, it is
influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. An individual who is dependent upon
alcohol typically uses it to avoid personal and social factors in his or her life. The
four symptoms of alcohol dependence include:
- craving for alcohol
- inability to reduce or stop alcohol consumption
- experience withdrawal symptoms when stopping alcohol consumption
- increased tolerance of alcohol (takes more to get the
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What are the Warning Signs of Alcohol Dependence?
|You may have a problem with alcohol if
you answer yes to any of the following:
- Drinking in the morning
- Drinking alone
- Drinking to feel socially comfortable
- Drinking to the point of intoxication
- Drinking that results in blackouts or memory loss
- Drinking that results in injuries, accidents, or
- Drinking to deal with pressure or emotional problems
- Getting drunk regularly
- Using alcohol heavily in risky situations
- Your professional or school work has suffered
- You plan your day around drinking
- You feel guilty about your drinking
If you are
concerned that you may have a drinking problem, discuss this with your physician or a
mental health professional.
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The Facts on
Alcohol is the most
commonly used and widely abused psychoactive drug in the United States.
Alcohol contributes to
100,000 deaths annually, making it the third leading cause of preventable mortality in the
Over 13.8 million
Americans have problems with drinking, including the 8.1 million people who are
Alcohol has been found
to reduce one's life expectancy up to 10 years.
Even if you are not an
alcoholic, abusing alcohol can still have negative affects.
Children of alcoholics
are four times more likely to become alcoholics than children of non-alcoholics.
Rates of alcohol
problems are highest among adults ages 18-29.
More men than women are
Heavy & chronic drinking...
can harm virtually
every organ in the body
is the single most
important cause of illness and death from liver disease
depresses the immune
is associated with
cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and hypertension
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Treatment for alcohol
dependence varies for each individual. Once you have acknowledged that you may have an
alcohol problem, seek out what help is available to you locally. The National Drug and
Treatment Routing Service (1-800-662-HELP) is a Federal Government Agency that provides
contact information for AA chapters in your local area. Those who have become alcohol
dependent generally require help from others to stop drinking, which could include
detoxification, medical treatment, counseling and/or self-help group support. Some other
suggestions are contacting your local hospital, AA group, or drug rehabilitation center
regarding possible treatment services.
Treatments for alcohol
abuse are usually intensive. Inpatient treatment used to be common, but is now
usually limited to detoxification. Outpatient treatments, include meetings each week involving physicians, substance abuse
counselors, others who are alcohol dependent and family members. Don't fear the
intensity and time commitment of these treatments - this is a serious problem that
requires a serious treatment.
- The National Clearinghouse for Alcohol & Drug
- Alcoholics Anonymous 212-870-3400
- Al-Anon 1-800-356-9996
- The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment
- The National Council on Alcoholism & Drug
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Once you've stopped
drinking, staying sober and abstinent from alcohol takes work. To help prevent
Maintain regular social
support through AA or other support systems.
Be prepared: know the
situations that increase your risk of drinking and either avoid that situation or have a
plan to handle it.
yourself. Don't try to see how much temptation you can handle. It is always
preferable to avoid a high risk situation than to try to handle it and fail
If you slip, take it
seriously but don't beat up on yourself. Seek support and help immediately. Assess
the situation that caused the slip and consider how to handle that situation in the
future. Restart being abstinent from alcohol.
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- Alcohol and Its Effect. www.alcohol.org.nz/effects/home.html
- National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence,
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Alcohol Alert, No. 12, Assessing Alcoholism, 1991.
- NIAAA. Alcohol Alert, No. 34, Preventing Alcohol Abuse
and Related Problems, 1996.
- NIAAA. Alcohol Alert, No. 43, Brief Intervention for
Alcohol Problems, 1999.
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