Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Lifestyles

April 24, 2008

AROUND THE TOWN: Educate yourself about the dangers of alcoholism

He comes home late again, reeking of alcohol. She has just been arrested for her third driving under the influence. He lost his job after a drug test revealed he was drinking at work. She has failing grades after partying too much while away at college. These are just a few of the stories that describe those suffering from the disease of alcoholism.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month and health providers want to inform everyone that even though alcohol is legal, it can be addictive and problematic for some users. Sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, community members are encouraged to focus on alcoholism and alcohol-related issues, particularly at this time of year.

Alcohol Awareness Month began as a way of reaching Americans with the news that alcoholism is a disease, according to the American Medical Association, and not a moral weakness and that help is available for those suffering from alcoholism and their families.

Alcohol abuse is defined as having unhealthy or dangerous drinking habits, such as drinking every day or drinking too much at a time. If alcohol abuse continues, it can lead to dependence. Alcohol dependence is also called alcoholism. Alcoholics cannot quit drinking or control how much they drink because they are physically and emotionally addicted to alcohol.

Some signs of alcohol abuse or dependence may include:

•Drinking alone

•Making excuses or finding excuses to drink

•Daily or frequent drinking needed to function

•Drinking secretly

•Problems with relationships, work or the law as a result of drinking

•Inability to stop or reduce the intake of alcohol

•Becoming angry when confronted about the drinking

•Poor eating habits

•Trembling in the morning

•Going only where alcohol will be available

•Blackouts

•Injuries incurred while intoxicated

•Violent episodes

•Cravings

Long-term alcohol dependency may lead to cirrhosis of the liver, ulcers, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, pancreatitis, and gallstones. Help is available from physicians, mental health workers, social workers, and alcohol and drug abuse counselors, along with the 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous.

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