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Alcohol Abuse

Alcoholism is also referred to as alcohol dependence, a disease that includes craving, loss of control, physical dependence, and tolerance. The craving resulting from alcohol abuse is a potent desire or urge to drink. When the individual loses control they cannot stop drinking once they start. Physical dependence includes painful withdrawal symptoms, (nausea, sweating, tremors, and anxiety after the cessation of drinking), and tolerance is the need to drink larger amounts of alcohol in order to get "high."

Because alcoholism is a disease, the craving an alcoholic has for alcohol can be as tremendous as the need for food or water. Alcohol abuse causes the individual to drink despite grave family, health, or legal issues. As is the case with several other diseases, alcoholism lasts throughout an individual’s lifetime. Depending on an individual’s genes and lifestyle, he or she may be at risk for developing alcoholism.

Based on research, alcoholism often run in families. But although the genes an individual inherits is part of the reason for this pattern, their lifestyle is also an issue. Researchers are now trying to find out the specific genes that cause individuals to be at risk for alcoholism. An individual’s friends, stress in their life, and how obtainable the alcohol is can also play a role in an individual being at risk for alcohol abuse.

Still, this doesn’t mean that because alcoholism generally runs in families a child who has an alcoholic parent will automatically develop the disease. There are some individuals who develop alcoholism even though none of their family members have a drinking issue. Further, not all children who have alcoholic parents experience trouble with alcohol. Still, it is important to know if you are at risk of developing the disease, so you can take necessary precautions to protect yourself from alcohol abuse.

Because there is no cure for alcoholism, even if an alcoholic hasn't had a drink in a long time, they can still undergo a relapse. Therefore, the safest route is to avoid alcoholic beverages altogether. Fortunately, there is treatment for alcoholism. Alcoholism treatment programs include counseling and medications to assist the alcoholic in his quest to stop drinking. Medications such as Disulfiram, Naltreone, and Acamprosate are approved treatments used to treat alcohol abuse and dependence. These medications assist the alcoholic in reducing their drinking, and help them to avoid relapsing to heavy drinking while achieving and maintaining abstinence from alcohol use.

Researchers are making it top priority to develop new and more effective medications to treat individuals suffering from alcoholism. Alcoholism treatment is effective for many individuals. However, while some individuals cease drinking and stay clean, others undergo lengthy periods of sobriety, only to suffer a relapse. There are also individuals who just cannot stop drinking for any period of time. Still, the longer an individual refrains from alcohol use, the better their chances of remaining clean.

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