Alcoholism is an addictive disease that has a long history in American society. The National Liquor Law Enforcement Association found in a study that alcoholism is often the cause of violent criminal behavior and accidents involving driving and the use of heavy machinery. Although there has been a slight decrease in drunk-driving incidents and arrests in 2010 when compared to 2006 (according to the state's Department of Transportation, drunk driving fatalities decreased from 446 deaths in '06 to 298 in '10), the fact that these incidents and related deaths are still common is still a cause for concern.
The root cause of alcoholism is still being debated, but is believed to be influenced by genetic and environmental factors, including peer pressure and stress. An alcoholic is physically and psychologically addicted to alcohol, where prolonged addiction often results in liver and heart diseases--not to mention permanent cognitive problems. Additionally, an alcoholic under the influence has poor judgment (hence the drunk driving), less inhibitions, and may become violent.
Alcoholism has some distinct symptoms, which include slurred speech, impaired reflexes, and a marked change in behavior. Side effects and complications include depression, anxiety, dementia, sexual dysfunction, pancreatitis and heart disease. Most alcoholics will suffer from withdrawal symptoms, like the "shakes," if they stop drinking for too long. The long-term outlook for alcoholics is unpromising, as long term drinking will destroy organ functions and lead to death. There are also the fringe effects of alcoholism to consider, not just for families but for innocent victims of auto accidents and assaults caused by violent moods. While alcohol is considered by the federal government to be a legal, age-restricted drug, the consequences of its abuse are very unproductive for society.
There are several addiction treatment methods that can be used for alcoholism. Perhaps the best-known is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and many chapters of the program can be easily found. AA uses the Twelve Step Program where recovering alcoholics, called sponsors, help keep newer addicts get clean through mentorship, support groups, and behavioral guidelines. Alcoholics adhering to the Twelve Step Program must admit they have a problem and seek reliance on spiritual guidance. Then they must make amends with those they have grievances with for past behavior and learn to live a sober life. Other methods include "cold turkey" withdrawal, psychotherapy, drugs, and alternative treatments like acupuncture.
These methods are similar to what is used with other substance abuse treatments because alcoholism is still a very serious addiction. Alcoholics have many avenues of treatment that should be explored to find the most successful choice. It's important to realize that alcoholism cannot be cured--only treated. With support it is possible for an alcoholic to recover from the disease. Our center's therapists and counselors are well prepared to help alcohol abusers. In addition to the Twelve-Step Program, we offer other holistic and alternative practices to treat the disease. So stop hesitating and hoping things will get better without professional services. Our success rate speaks for itself in helping recovering alcoholics open a new, alcohol-free chapter in their lives.
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