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Alcohol: What to Do If It's a Problem for You
12-12-2010, 03:51 PM
Post: #1
How can I tell if alcohol is a problem for me?
Alcohol is a problem if it affects any part of your life, including your health, your work and your life at home. You may have a problem with alcohol if you think about drinking all the time, if you keep trying to quit on your own but can't, or if you often drink more than you plan to or more than is safe for what you are doing (such as driving a car).

Ask yourself these questions
If you answer yes to 1 or more of the following questions, you may have a problem with alcohol. Have you ever felt:

* The need to cut down on your drinking?
* Annoyed by criticism of your drinking?
* Guilty about your drinking?
* As if you need a drink in the morning?

What are some of the signs that alcohol is a problem?
Not all signs are obvious. Many people find it hard to admit when alcohol is a problem. Often, people around you may see your problem before you do. Think about the things mentioned above and in the box below. Think about what your friends and family say to you about drinking. Then talk with your family doctor about your concerns.

How does alcohol affect my health?
Alcohol has many effects on your health. It can cause cirrhosis, a disease of the liver. It's a major cause of deaths and injuries because of accidents. It can have severe effects on a baby during pregnancy. It can also cause stomach pain due to a bleeding ulcer or irritated stomach lining.

What causes alcoholism?
The causes of alcoholism are not fully known. A history of alcoholism in your family makes it more likely. Men seem to be more at risk than women. Some drinkers use alcohol to try to relieve anxiety, depression, tension, loneliness, self-doubt or unhappiness.

Why should I quit?
Quitting is the only way to stop the problems alcohol is causing in your life. It may not be easy to quit. But your efforts will be rewarded by better health, better relationships and a sense of accomplishment. As you think about quitting, you may want to make a list of your reasons to quit.

How do I stop?
The first step is realizing that you control your own behavior. It's the only real control you have in your life. So use it. Here are the next steps:

1. Commit to quitting. Once you decide to quit, you can make plans to be sure you succeed.
2. Get help from your doctor. He or she can be your biggest ally. Alcoholism is a kind of disease, and it can be treated. Talking with your doctor or a counselor about your problems can be helpful too.
3. Get support. Contact Alcoholics Anonymous or the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. They will give you the tools and support you need to quit. Ask your family and friends for support too.

What does it feel like to quit drinking?
As you drink, your body tries to make up for the depressant effects of alcohol. This built-up tolerance to alcohol can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms when people who drink a lot quit.

Serious withdrawal symptoms include seeing things, seizures and delirium tremens (confusion, seeing vivid images, severe shakes, being very suspicious), and can even include death. This is why you need your doctor's care if you've been drinking heavily and are trying to quit.

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