Many of us enjoy a drink now and then — especially when socializing with friends and family. Depending on how much you drink, your age, and health status — drinking can be either harmful or beneficial.
Do you think you drink too much at times?
A nationwide survey performed by the National Institutes of Health on alcohol use by adults in the United States shows that 3 out of 10 adults drink at levels that put them at risk for liver disease, alcoholism, and other health problems.
About 18 million adults in the U.S. have an alcohol use disorder and dependency — better known as alcoholism, or alcohol abuse.
What are the Symptoms?
The symptoms for alcoholism are the following:
- Loss of control, or not being able to stop drinking alcohol, once drinking has begun
- Craving — A strong urge or need to drink alcohol
- Physical dependence — Withdrawal symptoms, like sweating, shakiness, nausea, and anxiety after stopping drinking alcohol
- Tolerance — Needing to drink greater amounts of alcohol to feel the same effect
People who show signs of alcoholism will spend a great deal of time drinking, making sure they get alcohol, and recovering from the effects of alcohol on his or her system.
Alcohol abusers put themselves and others at risk of dangerous situations, like driving under the influence of alcohol, arguments with family members, legal or social problems — such as domestic violence, divorce, loss of job, arrests and fines.
Due to their excessive drinking, a person suffering with alcohol dependency may also neglect responsibilities at home, school, or at work.
A New Way of Thinking About Drinking
Health professionals are finding out more about alcoholism which is changing our perception of this chronic disease.
Data from the National Epidemiological Study on Alcohol and Related Conditions shows that 70 percent of people who develop an alcohol dependency are capable of having episodes that last 3 or 4 years.
On the other hand, the same data shows that many people recover from alcohol dependency, practicing healthy habits and with no formal treatment.
In addition, many individuals who do get professional treatment remain alcohol free.
Many people can benefit from treatment; however, it’s best to talk to a doctor to determine the best course of action.
Some tips and strategies worth trying to reduce your chances of alcohol-related problems are offered from the National Institutes of Health.
Here are a few:
- Avoid “triggers” — Determine what triggers your urge to drink. If drinking at home is a problem, keep little or no alcohol in your home
- Find alternatives — Develop new and healthy habits — find hobbies, and new relationships or renew old ones
- Include food — Eat some food so the alcohol will be absorbed more slowly in your system. Don’t drink on an empty stomach
- Know when to say “no” — You’re less likely to give in if you’re prepared to politely say “no” when offered a drink.
Visit the website provided by National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism for additional tips, strategies and valuable resources on drinking.
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