Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder (AUD), is a broad term for any drinking of alcohol that results in mental or physical health problems. The disorder was previously divided into two types: alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. In a medical context, alcoholism is said to exist when two or more of the following conditions are present: a person drinks large amounts over a long time period, has difficulty cutting down, acquiring and drinking alcohol takes up a great deal of time, alcohol is strongly desired, usage results in not fulfilling responsibilities, usage results in social problems, usage results in health problems, usage results in risky situations, withdrawal occurs when stopping, and alcohol tolerance has occurred with use. Risky situations include drinking and driving or having unsafe sex, among other things. Alcohol use can affect all parts of the body, but it particularly affects the brain, heart, liver, pancreas and immune system. This can result in mental illness, Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome, irregular heartbeat, liver cirrhosis and increased cancer risk, among other diseases. Drinking during pregnancy can cause damage to the baby resulting in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Women are generally more sensitive than men to the harmful physical and mental effects of alcohol.
With Step 9, individuals are apologizing for their actions while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or for the damages their addiction has caused. Individuals may then attempt to offer restitution and seek forgiveness and reconciliation but need to be aware that they may not receive it. Working through Step 9 helps to set things right so everyone can move on.
Nervous system. An estimated 30-40% of all men in their teens and twenties have experienced alcoholic blackout from drinking a large quantity of alcohol. This results in the loss of memory of the time surrounding the episode of drinking. Alcohol also causes sleep disturbances, so sleep quality is diminished. Numbness and tingling (parethesia) may occur in the arms and legs. Wernicke's syndrome and Korsakoff's syndrome, which can occur together or separately, are due to the low thiamine (a B vitamin) levels found in many alcohol-dependent people. Wernicke's syndrome results in disordered eye movements, very poor balance, and difficulty walking. Korsakoff's syndrome affects memory and prevents new learning from taking place.
The World Health Organization estimates that as of 2010 there were 208 million people with alcoholism worldwide (4.1% of the population over 15 years of age). In the United States, about 17 million (7%) of adults and 0.7 million (2.8%) of those age 12 to 17 years of age are affected. It is more common among males and young adults, becoming less common in middle and old age. It is the least common in Africa, at 1.1%, and has the highest rates in Eastern Europe, at 11%. Alcoholism directly resulted in 139,000 deaths in 2013, up from 112,000 deaths in 1990. A total of 3.3 million deaths (5.9% of all deaths) are believed to be due to alcohol. It often reduces a person's life expectancy by around ten years. In the United States, it resulted in economic costs of $224 billion USD in 2006. Many terms, some insulting and others informal, have been used to refer to people affected by alcoholism; the expressions include tippler, drunkard, dipsomaniac and souse. In 1979, the World Health Organization discouraged the use of "alcoholism" due to its inexact meaning, preferring "alcohol dependence syndrome".
People who drink too much are at an increased risk of ulcers, digestive problems, low hormone levels, and several cancers, including esophageal, stomach, colon, liver, mouth, and breast cancers. People who drink too much may induce a mood disorder, like anxiety or depression, or they may trigger a seizure disorder due to changes to the GABA system in the brain.
Meditation, prayer, and journaling make up Step 11 as individuals use these tools to form a spiritual connection with God or the higher power. Quiet time and solitude provide for self-reflection, and meditation can be helpful to increase the connection between the body, mind, and soul. When a person is in tune with themselves physically and emotionally, the spiritual aspect is also strengthened. Journaling during Step 11 can be a beneficial way to explore thoughts and emotions more fully as well.
I agree with many of the earlier comments highlighting the drawbacks of 12-Step for many folks seeking recovery. Although the program claims to be "spiritual" and "not religious," it's roots are in the Oxford Group, an early evangelical Protestant organization, and the 12 Steps (12, because there were 12 apostles) are taken directly from Oxford Group, which maintained that people were "powerless over sin." Bill W. simply replaced "sin" with "alcohol" and kept the rest unchanged.
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Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for AA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.
In 1941, interviews on American radio and favorable articles in US magazines, including a piece by Jack Alexander in The Saturday Evening Post, led to increased book sales and membership. By 1946, as the growing fellowship quarreled over structure, purpose, and authority, as well as finances and publicity, Wilson began to form and promote what became known as AA's "Twelve Traditions," which are guidelines for an altruistic, unaffiliated, non-coercive, and non-hierarchical structure that limited AA's purpose to only helping alcoholics on a non-professional level while shunning publicity. Eventually he gained formal adoption and inclusion of the Twelve Traditions in all future editions of the Big Book. At the 1955 conference in St. Louis, Missouri, Wilson relinquished stewardship of AA to the General Service Conference, as AA grew to millions of members internationally.
"I discovered how good relationships get better and how unhealthy relationships get exposed when you work your program," said Cathy. "I've been friends with Hannah for years, but we had been partying friends. So when I entered recovery, we were really careful around each other. Then we began talking—really talking. Now our friendship is deeper and more honest. Recovery has been good for both of us."
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was the first 12-step program established and many other support groups have branched off from AA using this model. AA is an organization that unites people who have struggled with alcohol dependency, providing strength and faith in one another to overcome addiction. Its mission is to “stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety” without judgment or segregation. AA founders Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith developed the 12 steps based on concepts from Carl Jung’s theories as influenced by Eastern philosophy, and from spiritual values such as those rooted in the principles of the Oxford Group.
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Following detoxification, social support to abstain from or moderate drinking is needed for an extended period of time. It is useful for individuals who are recovering from alcohol dependence to identify people who can support them through the process, as it can still be very difficult not to drink alcohol, or to drink in moderation following detoxification. People who have difficulty may wish to investigate whether there is medication which can help them stay away from alcohol. There are range of prescription medicines which might assist some people. Talk to a doctor before taking any medication.
Clear communication by parents about the negative effects of alcohol, as well as about their expectations regarding drug use, has been found to significantly decrease alcohol use in teens. Adequate parental supervision has also been found to be a deterrent to underage alcohol abuse. Alcohol, and other drug use, has been found to occur most often between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., immediately after school and prior to parents' arrival at home from work. Teen participation in extracurricular activities has therefore been revealed to be an important prevention measure for the use of alcohol in this age group. Parents can also help educate teens about appropriate coping and stress-management strategies. For example, 15- to 16-year-olds who use religion to cope with stress tend to use drugs significantly less often and have fewer problems as a result of drinking than their peers who do not use religion to cope.
Problem drinking in women is much less common than it is in men, and the typical onset of problem drinking in females occurs later than in males. However, progression is more rapid, and females usually enter treatment earlier than males. Women more commonly combine alcohol with prescription drugs of abuse than do males. Women living with substance-abusing men are at high risk.
When an individual has been struggling through an addiction, it is usually not simply the substance abuser who needs support. Family members' lives are often closely connected with, and deeply affected by, the loved one who has been abusing a substance. Thankfully, there are also support groups to help carry these loved ones through the difficult times and questions that may arise in these circumstances.
Since its origin with AA, the 12-Step model has been adopted and altered by many groups to fit other programs – for addiction treatment and otherwise. Many groups, like Narcotics Anonymous, use the steps exactly as they were conceived by AA. Others have modified the steps to fit their own needs and cultures. For example, a Native American group has combined the 12 Steps with the Native American concept of the Medicine Wheel to create a program designed specifically to help indigenous Americans who struggle with alcoholism and addiction, the Medicine Wheel and 12 Steps program. Others have come up with similar ideas to integrate the basic ideas of the 12 Steps into a cultural framework that makes sense for members of that culture.
Addiction is a complex brain disease that impacts people emotionally, physically, socially, financially, behaviorally, and personally. Families and loved ones are negatively affected as well. Addiction recovery is aided by professional treatment programs and by engaging in support groups that can offer encouragement, hope, and healthy peer interactions. These self-help groups aid in facilitating the formation of groups of people who have similar goals for sobriety and long-term abstinence from drugs and alcohol. The idea of a 12-Step program began with Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA, a program designed to support individuals struggling with addiction to alcohol in their recovery efforts.
AA sprang from The Oxford Group, a non-denominational movement modeled after first-century Christianity. Some members founded the Group to help in maintaining sobriety. "Grouper" Ebby Thacher was Wilson's former drinking buddy who approached Wilson saying that he had "got religion", was sober, and that Wilson could do the same if he set aside objections to religion and instead formed a personal idea of God, "another power" or "higher power".
Ten health risks of chronic heavy drinking A wide range of factors determines how the body responds to chronic heavy drinking. A single binge-drinking episode can result in significant harm, and excessive consumption of alcohol is the fourth-leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. Learn about the ten diseases most commonly linked to heavy drinking here. Read now
The purpose of the Central Office is to receive, distribute and follow up on calls for help, to answer inquiries about AA, to cooperate with local public information committees, maintain information about local hospitals and recovery facilities for alcoholics, to provide local AA meeting lists, to provide a newsletter, and to order, sell and distribute AA literature.
In a closed AA meeting, the only people who may attend are those who are recovering addicts (or those interested in learning more about overcoming their addiction). Open meetings allow the attendance of friends, spouses and family members. Whether you decide to go to a closed or open meeting depends exclusively on what you’re comfortable with. Some people would rather keep their recovery separate from the rest of their life. Others thrive on the support that loved ones can provide during meetings.
Alcoholism is a chronic, progressive behavioral disorder characterized by a strong urge to consume ethanol and an inability to limit the amount of drinking despite adverse consequences, including social or occupational impairment and deterioration of physical health. The disorder includes both physical dependence (withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, sweating, tremors, and delirium resulting from abstinence) and tolerance (the need to increase alcohol intake to achieve the desired effect). Excessive drinking may occur daily or during binges separated by intervals of sobriety lasting from days to months. About 30% of U.S. adults drink to excess at least occasionally, and 3-5% of women and 10% of men have chronic problems of excessive drinking. In approximately 40% of those who habitually abuse alcohol, a pattern of inappropriate drinking is evident before age 20. Alcoholism is frequently accompanied by addiction to nicotine and other drugs, anxiety, depression, and antisocial personality. It tends to run in families, but personal history and environmental factors are apparently at least as important as genetic predisposition. Behavioral traits that are typical of alcoholism include solitary drinking, morning drinking, lying about the extent of one's drinking, and maintenance of a secret supply of liquor. Alcoholism costs the U.S. approximately $200 billion yearly. Chronic alcoholism decreases life expectancy by about 15 years. It is associated with an increased incidence of cardiac arrhythmia, hypertension, stroke, acute hepatitis, cirrhosis, gastritis, pancreatitis, syncope, amnesia and personality change. Because ethanol is a rich source of nonnutritive calories, heavy drinking often leads to malnutrition and vitamin deficiency. Degenerative central nervous system disorders associated with alcoholism include Wernicke encephalopathy (due to thiamine deficiency) and Korsakoff psychosis. Alcoholics are more likely than nonalcoholics to be involved in automobile accidents (more than 25% of all traffic deaths involve alcohol) and to commit violent crimes, including spousal and child abuse and homicide. A child born to an alcoholic mother may suffer the stigmata of fetal alcohol syndrome, characterized by low birth weight, facial dysmorphism, cardiac anomalies, and mental retardation. The treatment of alcoholism requires intensive counseling of patient and family. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational enhancement therapy, group therapy, and support groups are all of proven value. Administration of benzodiazepines during withdrawal and use of topiramate or naltrexone to maintain abstinence are often effective. Disulfiram taken regularly can lower the risk of relapse by inducing severe malaise and nausea if alcohol is consumed. Detoxification programs for the management of acute alcoholic intoxication include withdrawal of all alcohol consumption and provision of nutritional, pharmacologic, and psychological support.
Diabetes: There is a high risk of developing diabetes type 2, and people with diabetes have a high chance of complications if they regularly consume more alcohol than is recommended. Alcohol prevents the release of glucose from the liver, resulting in hypoglycemia. If a person with diabetes is already using insulin to lower their blood sugar levels, hypoglycemia could have serious consequences.
Alcohol biomarkers are physiologic indicators of alcohol exposure or ingestion and may reflect the presence of an alcohol use disorder. These biomarkers are not meant to be a substitute for a comprehensive history and physical examination. Indirect alcohol biomarkers, which suggest heavy alcohol use by detecting the toxic effects of alcohol, include the following  :
We offer flexible programming and a curriculum focused on fully integrated behavioral and mental health that also treats substance use. Through our program, your child will develop new coping skills and learn to address triggers and stressors as they continue their normal routine at home and school. Every aspect of your child’s treatment is designed to meet their specific needs and all substance abuse treatment is individualized to meet the needs of each patient.
We are excited by the launch of our new Alcoholics Resource Center web site and hope that each of you will share in that excitement. The purpose of this site is to provide information and social networking to support our fellow AA members. We believe that this site will meet a need for those interested in all matters related to AA within the scope of the Traditions.
The Sinclair method is another approach to using naltrexone or other opioid antagonists to treat alcoholism by having the person take the medication about an hour before they drink alcohol and only then. The medication blocks the positive reinforcement effects of ethanol and hypothetically allows the person to stop drinking or drink less.
The first book written to cover the 12 step program was titled "Alcoholics Anonymous", affectionately known as the Big Book by program members. Following the subsequent extensive growth of twelve step programs for other addictive and dysfunctional behaviors, many additional books were written and recordings and videos were produced. These cover the steps in greater detail and how people have specifically applied the steps in their lives. An extensive chronology and background about the history of A.A. has been put together at Dick B.'s website.