Understanding The Abuse Of Alcohol
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Understanding the Abuse
Alcoholism is an epidemic in America that affects the lives of many. Alcoholism, as a disease, affects the individual, the family, and society as a whole. Families are torn apart, domestic violence occurs, and innocent bystanders lives can be changed forever. Alcohol abuse can lead to further drug and substance dependence. On the individual, alcohol damages bodily processes and organs, and affects personality and temperament.
Addiction is compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol). Someone who is addicted or hooked psychologically believes that they cannot function without this substance in their bodies. Drug and alcohol addiction and tear families apart, they change individuals who once were the best people to be around with. Most addictions start at an individuals adolescence age where they just learning who they are and how to fit it. Alcohol addiction can and most of the time leads the individual to stealing from friends and even family. These individual do what ever is in the power to get a hold of their preferred drug. They are capable of hurting those who love them and the ones they love. There are many warning signs to addictions which, include the list of the following:
Ð* Tolerance. If a person needs increasing amounts of a drug to feel high then they are developing tolerance.
Ð* Preoccupation with alcohol. A preoccupied person thinks constantly about alcohol.
Ð* Personality changes. Individuals withdraw from their friends and their family.
Ð* Solitary use. Individuals often begin using the drug as a social thing but then once they begin to use it alone they can be losing control.
Ð* Using alcohol as medicine. People often use alcohol to take the edge off stressful situation or unpleasant feelings. They may rationalize their use and make it seem normal
Ð* Continued use despises negative consequences. Alcohol dependence compels people to use in spite of problem or loss of friends.
Alcohol abuse among the elderly is a widespread problem through the United States. It is hard to discover by physicians and medical providers, because many of these people have been abusing alcohol secretly for years. The population is extremely unlikely to admit that they have problems with alcohol, especially during a routine health care visit. As many as 15% of the population over 65 may be heavy drinkers, although this number is hard to pin down.
Elderly people usually drink due to depression, loneliness and lack of social support. Most alcohol abuse comes from a lifetime history; whereas others develop alcoholic drinking patterns later in life.
Alcoholism accounts for more than 15% of health care costs in the elderly. It is associated with an estimated 100,000 deaths per year in the United States. Alcohol consumption can produce both benefits and risks. In terms of benefits, men who drink two to six alcoholic beverages per week have decreased mortality rates and lower cardiovascular disease when compared with abstainers. On the negative side, two studies of 300,000 men demonstrated increased mortality among those consuming more than 2 to 3 drinks daily. Women, are more affected by less alcohol than men, perhaps because they have a lower blood volume, and so its distribution and decreased activity for gastric alcohol dehydrogenase are increased.
The primary care physician plays an important role in making the diagnosis and in helping the older alcoholic receive proper medical and psychological care.
As patients grow older, and develop conditions that require prescription and over the counter medications, opportunities for dangerous alcohol/drug interactions increase. Elderly patients should be encouraged to monitor their alcohol intake so that it does not conflict with their medications.
An approach to treating this serious illness is group therapy and individual counseling. The severity of the problem and the willingness of the patient will determine the extent of treatment he or she will undergo.