Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse
Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD
Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
- Alcoholism and alcohol abuse facts
- What is alcohol abuse?
- What is alcoholism?
- What differentiates alcohol abuse from alcoholism?
- What are risk factors for alcoholism?
- What causes alcoholism? Is alcoholism hereditary?
- What are alcohol abuse and alcoholism symptoms and signs in teenagers, women, men, and the elderly?
- How is alcoholism diagnosed?
- What are the stages of alcoholism?
- What is the treatment for alcoholism?
- What medications treat alcoholism?
- How can you tell if someone has a drinking problem?
- Can an alcoholic just cut back or stop drinking?
- Is there a safe level of drinking?
- Is it safe to drink alcohol while pregnant?
- How can someone find more information or get help or support to treat alcohol abuse and alcoholism?
- What are the long-term physical and psychological effects of alcohol abuse and alcoholism?
- What is codependency and what is the treatment for codependency?
- Can alcoholism be prevented?
- What is the prognosis of alcoholism?
- Patient Comments: Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - Treatments
- Patient Comments: Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - Experience
- Find a local Psychiatrist in your town
Alcoholism and alcohol abuse facts
- Alcohol abuse is a disease that is characterized by the sufferer having a pattern of drinking excessively despite the negative effects of alcohol on the individual's work, medical, legal, educational, and/or social life.
- Alcohol abuse affects about 10% of women and 20% of men in the United States, most beginning by their mid teens.
- Signs of alcohol intoxication include the smell of alcohol on the breath or skin, glazed or bloodshot eyes, the person being unusually passive or argumentative, and/or a deterioration in the person's appearance or hygiene.
- Almost 2,000 people under 21 years of age die each year in car crashes in which underage drinking is involved. Alcohol is involved in nearly half of all violent deaths involving teens.
- Alcoholism is a destructive pattern of alcohol use that includes a number of symptoms, including tolerance to or withdrawal from the substance, using more alcohol and/or for a longer time than planned, and trouble reducing its use.
- Alcohol, especially when consumed in excess, can affect teens, women, men, and the elderly quite differently.
- Risk factors for developing a drinking problem include low self-esteem, depression, anxiety or another mood problem, as well as having parents with alcoholism.
- Alcohol dependence has no one single cause and is not directly passed from one generation to another genetically. Rather, it is the result of a complex group of genetic, psychological, and environmental factors.
- There is no one test that definitively indicates that someone has an alcohol-use disorder. Therefore, health-care practitioners diagnose these disorders by gathering comprehensive medical, family, and mental-health information.
- There are thought to be five stages of alcoholism.
- There are numerous individual treatments for alcoholism, including individual and group counseling, support groups, residential treatment, medications, drug testing, and/or relapse-prevention programs.
- Some signs of a drinking problem include drinking alone, to escape problems, or for the sole purpose of getting drunk; hiding alcohol in odd places; getting irritated when you are unable to obtain alcohol to drink; and having problems because of your drinking.
- While some people with alcohol dependence can cut back or stop drinking without help, most are only able to do so temporarily unless they get treatment.
- There is no amount of alcohol intake that has been proven to be generally safe during pregnancy.
- The long-term effects of alcohol abuse and alcoholism can be devastating and even life threatening, negatively affecting virtually every organ system.
- Codependency is the tendency to interact with another person in an excessively passive or caretaking manner that negatively affects the quality of the codependent individual's life.
- Adequate supervision and clear communication by parents about the negative effects of alcohol and about parental expectations regarding alcohol and other drug use can significantly decrease alcohol use in teens.
- With treatment, about 70% of people with alcoholism are able to decrease the number of days they consume alcohol and improve their overall health status within six months.
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