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Alcohol Recovery

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The American Medical Association supports a dual classification of alcoholism to include both physical and mental components. The biological mechanisms that cause alcoholism are not well understood. Social environment, stress, mental health, family history, age, ethnic group, and gender all influence the risk for the condition. Significant alcohol intake produces changes in the brain’s structure and chemistry, though some alterations occur with minimal use of alcohol over a short term period, such as tolerance and physical dependence. These changes maintain the person with alcoholism’s compulsive inability to stop drinking and result in alcohol withdrawal syndrome if the person stops. Alcohol abuse has the potential to damage almost every organ in the body, including the brain. The cumulative toxic effects of chronic alcohol abuse can cause both medical and psychiatric problems. Identifying alcoholism is difficult for the individual afflicted because of the social stigma associated with the disease that causes people with alcoholism to avoid diagnosis and treatment for fear of shame or social consequences. The evaluation responses to a group of standardized questioning is a common method for diagnosing alcoholism. These can be used to identify harmful drinking patterns, including alcoholism. In general, problem drinking is considered alcoholism when the person continues to drink despite experiencing social or health problems caused by drinking.

Other facts:

  • More than 10 percent of U.S. children live with a parent with an alcohol problem
  • Each year in the United States, nearly 85,000 people die from alcohol-related causes, making it the third leading preventable cause of death in our country.
  • CDC estimates that Alcohol Abuse cost the US economy $224 billion dollars per year, costlier that both Cancer and Obesity.

Alcohol Abuse may lead to:

  • Dementia, stroke and neuropathy
  • Cardiovascular problems, including myocardial infarction, cardiomyopathy, atrial fibrillation and hypertension
  • Psychiatric problems, including depression, anxiety, and suicide
  • Social problems, including unemployment, lost productivity, family problems, violence including child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, fights, homicide, sexual misconduct and STDs
  • Unintentional injuries, such as motor-vehicle traffic crashes, falls, drowning, burns and firearm injuries.
  • Increased risk for many kinds of cancers, including liver, mouth, throat, larynx (voice box) and esophagus
  • Liver diseases, including fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis, Gastrointestinal problems, including pancreatitis and gastritis

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