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For the majority of individuals who consume it occasionally or moderately, alcohol is a social elixir that is a normal part of everyday life. One or two drinks on occasion are not going to cause a problem for most people. The problem comes in when one or two drinks on occasion turns into habitual heavy alcohol consumption and binge drinking on a frequent basis. The problem is so widespread, that about 14 million adults in the U.S. currently abuse alcohol in this way. If alcohol didn't cause any social or health problems, this wouldn't be a big deal. Unfortunately, alcohol has a long history of destroying lives. Not just because of its health effects which are many, but also in the way it can lead to behavior and decisions that create so many detrimental social effects such as physical and sexual violence and abuse. To point to the seriousness of these issues, homicides and suicides are more likely to be committed by an individual who is under the influence of alcohol.
Alcoholism is evident when an individual abuses alcohol to such an extent, that they are actually physically dependent to it, much like any other drug of abuse such as heroin or cocaine. This physical dependence is what prompts the individual to continuously consume alcohol, so that they can avoid sometimes serious and unwanted symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Common withdrawal symptoms which most alcohol abusers have experienced include shakiness, sweating, anxiety, and nausea. A "hangover" for example is often just alcohol withdrawal, and the "hair of the dog" wives tale is a good example of this. Have a little bit of the hair of the dog that bit you, i.e. have another couple of drinks the morning after a long night's drinking and your hangover will be cured. This can turn into a viscous cycle, where every day of one's life can be an alcohol fueled attempt to "feel better" and just be able to make it through the day somehow. This is alcoholism at its core.
Tolerance is also a common tell-tale sign of someone who has fallen prey to alcoholism. A person can start off being able to catch a buzz from just two or three drinks, and then find they are unable to experience any kind of a high from this amount of alcohol. So they up the ante, and begin consuming two or three times the amount of alcohol to experience any kind of effect. Many individuals struggling with alcoholism may even find the need to change the type of alcohol they consume to catch a buzz and get high from alcohol on any given binge. For example, beer may have done the trick before but won't even come close to causing the desired high and effects that the individuals intends to achieve from their alcohol consumption. So they may switch to straight vodka, tequila, or some other grain alcohol for example which has a much higher alcohol content so they can become more drunk, quicker. This is tolerance, and is what happens when someone is already waste deep in a life of alcoholism.
Alcoholism is one of the most deadly curses in existence, and if individuals don't get help to put an end to it most will perish because of certain cancers that they will be predisposed to such as liver, esophageal, throat and larynx cancer, as well as liver cirrhosis and harm to other major organs in the body. Many individuals who struggle with long-term alcoholism also suffer brain damage which may affect their motor function and result in other serious consequences, effects which for most are irreversible. Alcoholism is also a prime factor in drinking and driving episodes, and is another activity which severely impacts society and results in thousands of deaths each year. Most deaths are innocent victims, just because someone decided in their inebriated state that it would be a good idea to get behind the wheel while intoxicated.
It can be difficult to understand why someone would continue abusing alcohol despite all of these consequences. Friends and family must understand that alcoholism is a problem which cannot easily be resolved with just a little willpower. Alcoholism is a serious problem which results in cravings and an actual physical need that can only be eased with more alcohol. To put it in perspective, the compulsion to satiate one's need for alcohol when in the grips of alcoholism become even stronger then the desire to eat, sleep or do just about anything else. Without treatment, this uncontrollable desire won't likely stop at any point in the near future until alcohol has claimed yet another victim. But there is hope, and this is where effective treatment comes in.
Effective drug rehab programs are offering lifesaving treatment to individuals struggling with alcoholism; treatment which can actually cure alcoholism. Contrary to the longstanding popular belief that addiction and alcoholism are a disease, many drug rehab programs across the country are proving this theory wrong by helping individuals every day overcome these issues once and for all. New studies have shown that the genetic theory of alcoholism, the idea that an individual is predisposed to alcoholism based on their gene pool, may not be the only cause of alcoholism and it may not be the cause at all. In fact, studies now show that and individual may be predisposed to alcoholism because of purely environmental factors.
Meaning, certain issues and influences in their current environment are prompting their alcoholism. These factors are in effect entirely within the individual's control, and can be resolved with treatment. Hence, alcoholism can be effectively resolved once these issues are addressed and the individual is equipped with effective coping mechanisms to be able to better handle any future environmental triggers. Once an individual with alcoholism has been safely detoxed, professional treatment counselors have the tools to address such issues and resolve them permanently. This is proven on a daily basis at effective drug rehab programs across the country that can help individuals with even the toughest cases of alcoholism.
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