Alcoholics Information is an internet-based informational and educational resource about alcoholics with a special emphasis on what an alcoholic is, alcoholic behavior, consequences of alcoholism, and the difference between alcohol abuse and alcoholism.
Make sure you look at all of the topics and info that can be found in the left-hand navigation area because you will be able not only to learn more about alcoholic behavior but you will be more able to understand how alcoholic behavior affects your health and virtually every aspect of your life. In a word, you will get the scoop on alcoholic behavior as you learn the facts about alcoholics.
Unfortunately, when most people think about alcoholic behavior, they usually think about adult alcoholics. Learning about teenage alcoholics, however, is especially important due to the fact that it is at this age that many alcoholics start drinking alcoholic beverages. Little do these unsuspecting adolescents realize that for many, they have just started their journey on a negative path that may result in chronic alcoholic behavior and alcoholism. The good news, however, is this: if a teenager or a parent of a teenager can read about and understand some of the statistics and facts regarding teen alcoholic behavior, they may be able to avoid the damaging consequences that are associated with alcoholic behavior in school, college, or in the workplace.
Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholics Statistics
Many of the dangers of alcoholism do not really make an impact on people until someone discusses some of the statistics about alcohol abuse or alcoholic behavior. According to a study undertaken by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University in 2005, the following statistics about alcohol abuse and alcoholic behavior were discovered:
* Alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse cost the United States an estimated $220 billion in 2005. This dollar amount was more than the cost associated with cancer ($196 billion) and obesity ($133 billion).
* Every day in the U.S. more than 13,000 children and teens take their first drink.
* The 25.9% of underage drinkers who are alcohol abusers and alcohol dependent drink 47.3% of the alcohol that is consumed by all underage drinkers.
* Every year in the U.S. more than 150,000 college students develop health problem that are alcohol-related.
* The 9.6% of adult alcoholics drink 25% of the alcohol that is consumed by all adult drinkers.
* American youth who drinking before the of age 15 are four times more likely to become alcoholics than young people who do not drink before the age of 21.
* Every year, 1,400 American college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related inadvertent injuries, including motor vehicle accidents.
* In the United States during 2004, 16,694 deaths occurred as a result of alcohol-related motor-vehicle crashes. This amount was approximately 39% of all traffic fatalities. This amounts to one alcohol-related death every 31 minutes.
What is An Alcoholic?
For most people who drink, alcohol is a pleasant experience, especially when engaged in social activities. Moderate alcohol use can be defined as having up to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. In most instances, drinking in moderation is not harmful for most adults.
Heavy drinking can increase the risk for certain cancers, especially those of the throat, voice box (larynx), liver, and esophagus. Excessive drinking can also cause immune system problems, brain damage, harm to the fetus during pregnancy, and cirrhosis of the liver.
A large number of people, however, simply cannot drink because of the problems they encounter when drinking. In fact, approximately 14 million Americans abuse alcohol or are alcoholic. According to recent studies, it has been discovered that approximately 53% of adults in the United States have reported that one or more of their close relatives has a drinking problem.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year in the United States, between 1,300 and 8,000 babies are born with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Fetal alcohol syndrome is a combination of physical and mental birth defects that affects about 6% of the babies born to women who are alcohol abusers or alcoholics.
Definition of Alcoholic. People with a "drinking problem" and who are addicted to alcohol are defined as "alcoholics." Some of the characteristics of alcoholics are the following:
* Drinking that interferes with one's job, family, or friends
* Desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down drinking
* Increased tolerance, meaning that over time more alcohol is required to get drunk
* Continued drinking in site of negative consequences such as a DUI conviction, divorce, or loss of job
* Drinking larger amounts or over longer periods of time
* Withdrawal, meaning unpleasant symptoms similar to having the flu when drinking is stopped
Alcoholics Help. It is important to point out that if you observe your friends or family members displaying any of these characteristics, consider them as symptoms or signs of alcoholic behavior. And if your friends or family members exhibit some of these signs or symptoms, they may need alcoholism help. Stated differently, they may need alcoholic treatment or they may need to enter a treatment center for alcoholism rehab if they are to experience alcoholics recovery. Only then will these friends or family members be able to call themselves recovering alcoholics.
According to a research study undertaken by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University in 2005, every year, 1,400 American college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from inadvertent alcohol-related injuries, including motor vehicle accidents, which accounted for the majority of the deaths.
Perhaps the first group that many people think of when facing a "drinking problem" is Alcoholics Anonymous. Alcoholics Anonymous is a worldwide affiliation of men and women from all walks of life who share their experiences, strengths, and aspirations with one other in the hope that they may solve their mutual problem and assist others in their quest to recover from alcohol dependence. In fact, when many people think of Alcoholics Anonymous traditions such as the 12 Steps, the 12 Traditions, and the AA meetings, the one conclusion they reach is that with Alcoholics Anonymous, help is always close by and available for people who are concerned about their drinking behavior. Indeed, due to the vast number of Alcoholics Anonymous locations throughout the world, a person can literally find an alcoholics meeting or alcoholics support groups almost anywhere in the world.
The only condition for AA membership is a desire to quit drinking alcohol. Therefore, total abstinence from alcohol is advocated by the organization. Members make a conscious effort to refrain from drinking and they accomplish this "one day at a time." Sobriety is achieved through mutual support as members share their hopes, their strengths, and their experiences. In fact, the Alcoholics Anonymous support groups is one of the more cohesive aspects of the organization.
The Alcoholic Personality
Do some people possess an "alcoholic personality"? The notion that the personality of an alcoholic exists before the onset of the disease is most strongly articulated by those who advocate a concept known as the "addictive personality." According to supporters of this concept, the addictive personality is a distinct psychological trait that predisposes particular people to addictions.
In spite of the debate in the psychological, medical, and neurobiological research communities about the existence as well as the character of this trait, it is, however, observable and verifiable that brain functions contribute to various addictions. Building on this framework, many experts currently believe that the predisposition to addiction is more accurately a combination of environmental, psychological, and biological factors.
The Consequences of Alcoholic Behavior
The consequences of alcoholic behavior are not only serious, but in many cases, fatal. Excessive drinking can increase the risk for certain cancers, such as cancer of the throat, esophagus, larynx, and of the liver. Heavy drinking can also lead to cirrhosis of the liver, brain damage, harm to the fetus while the mother is pregnant, and problems with the immune system. Excessive drinking also increases the risk of death from motor vehicle accidents as well as recreational and work-related injuries.
The coping mechanisms typically used by codependents are denial (I deny, change, or minimize how I truly feel), low self-esteem (I value others' approval of my feelings, actions, and thinking over my own), compliance (I am afraid to express my own opinions and feelings, especially if they are different), and control (I become resentful when others refuse my help).
Additionally, drinking increases the risk of death from motor vehicle accidents as well as recreational and work-related injuries. Not only this, but suicides and homicides are more likely to committed by people who have been drinking. In simple economic terms, alcohol-related issues and problems in the United States cost society almost $200 billion per year. In human terms, the cost of the following alcohol-related issues cannot be calculated: broken homes, child abuse, fatalities, injuries, illnesses, wife battering, failed health, and destroyed lives. Moreover, the consequences of alcoholism do not necessarily stop with the recovery or the death of the alcoholic. Indeed, evidence to support this claim can be substantiated by children of alcoholics or adult children of alcoholics.
Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Many people think that alcohol abuse and alcoholism are the same. This is not correct. Alcohol abuse, unlike alcoholism, does not include physical dependence, loss of control due to drinking, or an extremely strong desire for alcohol.
Alcohol abuse is defined as a pattern of drinking that results in one or more of the following circumstances in a twelve-month period of time:
* Drinking in situations that can result in physical injury. Examples include driving a vehicle or operating machinery.
* Failure to attend to important responsibilities at work, home, or school.
* Experiencing recurring alcohol-related legal problems. Examples include getting arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, for damaging someone's property, or for physically hurting someone while drunk.
* Continued drinking in spite of ongoing relationship problems that are the result of drinking.
An alcoholic will negatively impact the lives of 4 or 5 other Americans (such as associates, family, and friends) while under the influence of alcohol.
Also known as alcohol dependence or alcohol addiction, alcoholism is a disease that includes the following symptoms:
* Craving: A strong and continuing compulsion or need to drink.
* Physical dependence: Withdrawal symptoms when a person stops drinking after a period of excessive drinking. Such symptoms include: anxiety, sweating, nausea, and "the shakes."
* Loss of control: The inability to limit one's drinking over time or on any given occasion.
* Tolerance: The need to drink increasing amounts of alcohol in order to "feel the buzz" or to "get high."
Many times, people who are not alcoholic do not understand why an alcoholic can't simply use self-control or willpower to stop drinking. In most instance, however, alcoholism has little to do with willpower. Alcoholics are caught in the compelling grip of an uncontrollable need for alcohol that takes priority over their ability to stop drinking. Indeed, this need to drink for the alcoholic can be as strong as his or her need for food or water.
In the United States, roughly 50,000 cases of alcohol poisoning are reported each year, and approximately once every week, someone dies from this preventable condition.
Even though some people are able to recover from alcoholism without clinical or personal help, many, if not most, alcoholics need assistance. Through treatment, rehab, and support, many alcoholics are able to abstain from drinking and rebuild their lives.
The Causes of Alcoholic Behavior
A question that has entered the minds of many people is the following: why can some people drink alcohol without problems or any negative consequences while but others cannot? One answer to this question involves genetics. More specifically, researchers have discovered that having an alcoholic family member increases the risk of developing alcoholism.
According to recent studies, it has been discovered that approximately 53% of adults in the United States have reported that one or more of their close relatives has a drinking problem.
In fact, there may be a genetic predisposition for certain individuals to become dependent on alcohol. In addition, behavioral scientists have found that various environment factors can interact with one's genetics. Examples include the relative ease of obtaining alcohol, peer pressure or peer influence, where and how a person lives, one's family and friends, and a person's culture.
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