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Alcoholism: An Essay of Truth

Essay By: MAmberConrad

I think the title speaks for itself. It's a topic I'm well-versed in, for some obvious reasons, and something that I'm passionate about.

Submitted:May 5, 2008    Reads: 289    Comments: 7    Likes: 6   

Alcoholism: An Essay of Truth
Alcoholism is defined as "a chronic disorder marked by excessive and usually compulsive drinking of alcohol leading to psychological and physical dependence or addiction" (Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary) According to the NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Addiction), alcoholism is considered a disease, one that is chronic. That means that it lasts a person's lifetime, follows a predictable course, and has symptoms. The four common symptoms include: Craving: Having a strong urge or need to drink. Tolerance: The need to drink greater amounts of alcohol in order to get a "buzz" or get "high". Physical dependence: Withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, headaches, perspiration, the "shakes", and anxiety when refraining from alcohol. Loss of control: An inability to stop drinking at the first drink. Alcoholism is the third greatest killer in the United States, after heart disease and cancer. Alcoholism can affect anyone of race, creed, or nationality. It is a health problem that attacks the young and old, lawyers, businessmen, housewives, police officers, teachers, journalists, and even social workers and doctors who often end up feeling they should be able to "heal themselves.
Is AA for you? "Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership; they are self-supporting through their own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. AA's primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety.
What are other treatment options? If you don't think AA is for you, alcoholism should be treated by professionals trained in addiction medicine. Physicians and other health care workers are best suited to manage alcohol withdrawal and the medical disorders associated with alcoholism. In fact, home therapy without supervision by a trained professional may be life threatening because of complications from alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Usually an alcoholic will experience alcohol withdrawal 6-8 hours after cutting down or stopping alcohol consumption.
Alcohol withdrawal is treated by oral or IV hydration along with medications that reverse the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. The most common medications used to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms are benzodiazepines. Commonly used medications in this class are lorazepam (Ativan), diazepam, (Valium), and chlordiazepoxide (Librium). They can be given by IV, orally, or by injection.
Also, there are medications to help to abstinate from drinking alcohol. The classic medication is disulfiram (Antabuse). It interferes with alcohol metabolism resulting in a metabolite that makes the person very uncomfortable and nauseated when consuming alcohol. The greatest problem with disulfiram is that people will often stop taking the medication to drink alcohol. To overcome this problem, disulfiram is available as an implantable device that is inserted under the skin.
There are several different questionnaires one could take to find out if they may have a problem with alcohol. The CAGE questionnaire, for example, asks the following 4 questions. "Yes" answers to 2 or more of these questions indicate a high likelihood of alcoholism.
Have you felt you should Cut down on your drinking?
Have people Annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
Have you felt bad or Guilty about your drinking?
Have you ever had to drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover (Eye-opener)?
The TACE questionnaire is very similar. It also asks 4 questions. The more "yes" answers a person has to these questions, the higher the likelihood of this person drinking excessively.
How many drinks does it Take to get you high?
Have people Annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
Have you ever felt you ought to Cut down on your drinking?
Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves (Eye opener)?
If you, or anyone you know, may have a problem with alcohol, feel free to check out www.aa.org for more information, or contact a health care professional.

Other sites you can check out:






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