Alcohol Anonymous, more commonly known as AA is the world's largest self help group for people who want to kick their alcohol addiction. Alcohol Anonymous is a group of men and women who have suffered from or are themselves suffering from alcoholism, and who turn towards each other in order to help themselves get rid of their addictions. If you think that you are an alcoholic or are "addicted to alcohol", then you can seek help from your local AA chapter. Free For All: Alcohol Anonymous membership is free for all. The organization does not solicit members but all are free to come and go as they please. There are no attendance or membership records. However, the organization does have a buddy system, where one person is codependent on the other and vice versa, and each one tries to prevent their partner from getting a relapse. Thus it is extremely easy to join Alcohol Anonymous and the group therapy that takes place at Alcohol Anonymous meetings is advised by experts for all those who want to get rid of their dependence on alcohol. You can also check out the organization's local branch by attending a couple of meetings.
Asking your doctor for advice is also a great way to get help if you think that your drinking is getting out of control. Your physician can refer you to counselors and therapists that can help you control your drinking before it becomes a serious problem that can ruin relationships with family and friends and eventually destroy your life. It may be a good idea for you to visit an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting or two in your area, so that you can talk about your feelings in an environment where you won't be judged. You will be pleasantly surprised by the insight you will find by listening to others who may have been in your shoes at one point. You will also be able to make an honest observation about whether or not you need to get more help. No matter which methods you choose to get your drinking under control, it is important to be honest with yourself about how serious your problem is and to ask friends and loved ones for support while you're making sure that alcohol does not take over your life.
Because alcohol affects many organs in the body, long-term heavy drinking puts you at risk for developing serious health problems, some of which are described below. More than 2 million Americans suffer from alcohol-related liver disease. Some drinkers develop alcoholic hepatitis, or inflammation of the liver, as a result of long-term heavy drinking. Moderate drinking can have beneficial effects on the heart, especially among those at greatest risk for heart attacks, such as men over the age of 45 and women after menopause. But long-term heavy drinking increases the risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and some kinds of stroke. The pancreas helps to regulate the body's blood sugar levels by producing insulin. The pancreas also has a role in digesting the food we eat. Long-term heavy drinking can lead to pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas. This condition is associated with severe abdominal pain and weight loss and can be fatal.
Stopping long-term, regular, heavy drinking requires a major life change, and the difficulty of doing this should never be underestimated. The first step in the healing process for these patients is to admit that they are alcoholic and that they have a drinking problem. The second step is to truly want to stop drinking. The third step is to accept the fact that they must never drink again. For most people, the next step is to admit that they need help to stop drinking and maintain abstinence. It is important to note that there is no such thing as a "cured" alcoholic. Alcoholism is a chronic disease that can go into remission, sometimes indefinitely, but relapse can be provoked by many life situations, both good and bad. Will these problems go away? No. These problems will last for a child's whole life. People with severe problems may not be able to take care of themselves as adults. They may never be able to work. What if I am pregnant and have been drinking? If you drank alcohol before you knew you were pregnant, stop drinking now. You will feel better and your baby will have a good chance to be born healthy. If you want to get pregnant, do not drink alcohol. You may not know you are pregnant right away. Alcohol can hurt a baby even when you are only 1 or 2 months pregnant.
Alcohol is often mentioned in one breath with drugs, especially when the subject is abuse or addiction. More often, alcohol is referred to as a separate substance and in fact, its abuse is often discussed separately from that of drugs. But can alcohol be considered a drug? Drug defined: If a textbook definition is used, a drug may be defined as a substance that has an effect on living cells and their function and is also used for medical purposes for the diagnosis, prevention and cure of disorders and diseases. As such, alcohol may not be considered as a drug since it is not used directly to effect a cure. However, it is also a substance that can have similar effects to drugs to disinfect, act as an analgesic, a tranquilizer or rarely, a stimulant. The link between alcohol and drugs: Alcohol is said to possibly be a contributor to health as some are some drugs, but alcohol, like some drugs can be addictive. When used in moderate amounts, alcohol has been said to improve cardiovascular health. However, health experts discourage non-drinkers to start drinking alcohol for the sole reason of benefiting the heart. They recommend that other methods such as exercising and eating a good diet, should be considered as the first line of defense.
Studies also show that most of these alcoholics are living with spouses in well-founded homes and have established jobs. A high percentage of people suffering from alcoholism hold jobs involving special responsibilities and or skills. Economic factors greatly affect a person's drinking patterns. High profiled businessmen drink at their exclusive men's club. Suburban dwellers drink at home parties with friends, family and neighbors. There are those who drink at local taverns. Even culture affects a person's predisposition to alcoholism. Studies show that the Irish and the Poles are among the cultural group with the highest incidence rate of alcoholism in the United States. The Italians, Greeks and Jews on the other hand show the least number of alcoholics despite their heavy alcohol consumption. People in specific work groups have also shown high incidences of alcoholism.
Consuming alcohol on a regular basis also becomes a habit after a while, just like driving down a familiar road. If there is a problem, or a social setting that calls for alcohol, you may be grabbing that bottle of beer or glass of wine without even thinking about it. Once you get in the habit of drinking alcohol on a more or less regular basis, your body gets used to the alcohol in the blood stream and reacts with withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking. These withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe.
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