Alcohol addiction does not only affect the alcoholic. Alcoholics affect their families, friends and society in general. In spite of the fun time that the media projects, as anyone who has lived with an alcoholic and they’ll tell you that drinking excessively is not a laughing matter. It is one thing to have a drink with friends, or have a glass or two of wine for dinner, but it’s another thing to polish off a six pack and more, and behave like a totally different person.
However, alcohol abuse is different than dependence (alcoholism). You may not need a rehab, or even AA. This has to be determined.
Alcohol affects every organ in your body.
It is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that is rapidly absorbed from the stomach and small intestine into the bloodstream. It is metabolized in the liver by enzymes; however, the liver can only metabolize a small amount of alcohol at a time, leaving the excess alcohol to circulate throughout your body. The intensity of the effect of alcohol on the body is directly related to how much you drank.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention:
A standard drink is equal to 14.0 grams (0.6 ounces) of pure alcohol. Generally, this amount of pure alcohol is found in:
• 12-ounces of beer.
• 8-ounces of malt liquor.
• 5-ounces of wine.
• 1.5-ounces or a “shot” of 80-proof distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, or whiskey).
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Dietary Guidelines for Americans say this:
“Moderate alcohol consumption is defined as having up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men. This definition refers to the amount consumed, on any single day and is not intended as an average over several days.
It is not recommended that anyone begin drinking or drink more frequently on the basis of potential health benefits because moderate alcohol intake, also is associated with increased risk of breast cancer, violence, drowning, and injuries from falls and motor vehicle crashes.
Alcohol Addiction creeps in slowly. At first it’s just fun – drinking with friends on the weekend, occasionally after work as well, then it becomes every night – you get the picture.
So you start thinking maybe I am drinking too much but then again, maybe not – it’s hard to admit to an alcohol addiction. This is called ‘denial’.
Here’s a simple self-test by the US. National Counsel on Alcoholism which will help you break denial and see if there really is a problem.
yes or no to these 26 questions and find out if you're just a heavy drinker and
need to cut back, need a detox, a rehab or perhaps simply counseling or coaching.
1) Do you occasionally drink heavily after a disappointment, quarrel or a rough day? Yes/no
2) When under pressure, do you drink more heavily? Yes/no
3) Can you handle more liquor now than when you first started drinking? Yes/no
4) On the ‘morning after’ have you been unable to remember part of the evening before – even though friends say that you didn’t pass out? Yes/no
5) When drinking with others, do you try to have a few extra drinks when they don’t know it? Yes/no
6) Are there certain occasions when you feel uncomfortable if alcohol is not available? Yes/no
7) When you start drinking are you in more of a hurry to get the first drink than you used to be? Yes/no
8) Do you sometimes feel a little guilty about your drinking? Yes/no
9) Are you secretly irritated when friends or family discuss your drinking? Yes/no
10) Have you experienced memory blackouts more frequently? Yes/no
11) Do you usually have a reason for occasions when you drink heavily? Yes/no
12) Do you want to drink more after friends have had enough? Yes/no
13) When sober, do you often regret things you’ve done or said while drinking? Yes/no
14) Have you tried to control your drinking by switching brands of following different plans? Yes/no
15) Have you often failed to keep promises about controlling your drinking? Yes/no
16) Have you tried to control your drinking by changing jobs or moving? Yes/no
17) Do you try to avoid family or friends while drinking? Yes/no
18) Are you having an increasing number of financial and work problems? Yes/no
19) Do more people seem to be treating you unfairly without reason? Yes/no
20) Do you eat very little or irregularly when drinking? Yes/no
21) Do you sometimes have the morning ‘shakes’ and relieve them with a drink? Yes/no
22) Are you unable to drink as much as you once did? Yes/no
23) Do you sometimes stay drunk for several days at a time? Yes/no
24) Do you ever feel very depressed and feel that life is not worth living. Yes/no
25) After drinking, do you ever see or hear things that aren’t there? Yes/no
26) Do you get terribly frightened after drinking heavily? Yes/no
Results of alcohol addiction self-test
If you answered yes to any of these alcohol addiction questions you have symptoms indicating alcoholism. Yes to 3 or more questions in various categories indicate the following stages of alcoholism:
Questions 1 – 8 early stage
Questions 9 – 21 middle stage
Questions 22 – 26 late stage.
If you think that you or someone else has a drinking problem, there are many options. There is also help for the family members who are living with the problem. Don't lose hope.
For information, a consultation for someone you love or a free 1/2 hr coaching session, don't be shy :) contact me.
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