Monday, May 28, 2007

Speaking of genes...


Alcoholism is a chronic disease that can last a lifetime. One question that people have asked about alcoholism is whether or not it runs in families. Although there is no definite proof that alcoholism is entirely a matter of genetics there are clear patterns of inheritance that indicates it can and does run in families. It has been determined that there is a genetic predisposition to alcoholism.

There are many factors that determine whether a person may develop a tendency toward alcoholism. They include genetic heredity, lifestyle and environment. Stress can play a role toward developing the habit as well as friends and other peers. Those who have a history of depression may be more likely to suffer from alcohol addiction.

Some people who suffer from alcoholism are prone to outward behavior problems while others suffer from inner disturbances. For example, some people may become more aggressive and argumentative whereas others withdraw into themselves and become depressed. Problem drinkers may even be prone to violence.

A person can suffer from distorted vision, hearing and lack of coordination while under the influence of alcohol. It causes impaired judgment as well. Alcohol can also alter a person's perception and affect emotions. Alcoholism can cause long-term health problems such as liver and kidney damage, stomach disorders, memory loss and even heart damage.

Some people suffer from alcohol abuse while others suffer from alcohol dependency. What's the difference? Alcohol abuse describes dangerous drinking habits such as drinking every day and/or drinking too much at a time. Alcohol abuse can lead to dependency. People who suffer from alcohol abuse may miss a lot of work or school due to being up all night drinking and feeling the effects of a hangover. They may drive under the influence of alcohol and continue to abuse alcohol even though such abuse has caused them problems in the past such as losing a job or their driver's license.

People that are alcohol dependent drink large amounts of alcohol often. They built a tolerance to the alcohol and have to drink more in order to get the same effect. They suffer from withdrawal symptoms, have difficulty sleeping and may sweat or shake when not drinking.

There is no cure for alcoholism. Most alcoholics that try to quit usually suffer a relapse. They often feel as though they can't function without the alcohol and need it to cope with life. Alcoholism can be treated with counseling and medication. Most alcoholics do not seek treatment on their own. How do you know if someone is an alcoholic? There are symptoms. They have a strong craving or urge to drink. They may not be able to stop drinking once they start. They will suffer withdrawal symptoms when not drinking due to their physical dependence on the alcohol.

How can you help? If someone you know is an alcoholic remove the temptation and help him or her to get support. If you suffer from alcoholism admitting that you have an alcohol problem is the first step on the road to recovery. Don't keep alcohol in your home. Say no to others when they offer you a drink and seek the help and support you need.

author: Darlene Zagata, Uniontown, PA

1 comment:

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