Elderly people who drink excessively are at risk for having more serious illnesses, doctor visits, and symptoms of depression, with less life satisfaction and smaller social support networks compared to senior citizens who have never consumed alcohol. While binge drinking is often thought to be a symptom of young people, an often unknown fact is that a significant percentage of middle-aged and elderly individuals also engage in binge drinking. This behavior increases the risk for driving drunk, no matter what the age. That, in turn, puts the individual at risk for being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol.
In keeping with AA's Eighth Tradition, the Central Office employs special workers who are compensated financially for their services, but their services do not include traditional "12th Step" work of working with alcoholics in need.[31] All 12th Step calls that come to the Central Office are handed to sober AA members who have volunteered to handle these calls. It also maintains service centers, which coordinate activities such as printing literature, responding to public inquiries, and organizing conferences. Other International General Service Offices (Australia, Costa Rica, Russia, etc.) are independent of AA World Services in New York.[32]
Alcoholism is a term used to describe someone with an alcohol use disorder. Someone with alcoholism has both a physical and psychological dependence on alcohol. They may have problems controlling their drinking habits or choose to keep drinking even though it causes problems. These problems may interfere with their professional and social relationships or even their own health.

Alcohol dependence is also known as alcoholism; however, health professionals tend not to use this term because of its potential to increase stigma and discrimination of the condition. Alcohol dependency is the most common substance use disorder in Australia. Individuals who are alcohol dependent tend to prioritise drinking alcohol over other activities (including seeing friends and going to work). However, alcohol dependency is not an all or nothing condition. It occurs on a continuum ranging from mild to severe. Individuals with a mild dependence on alcohol may crave an alcoholic drink when it is not available and find it difficult to stop drinking after a couple of drinks. Individuals with severe alcohol dependence suffer physical and/or psychological withdrawal symptoms (e.g. vomiting, anxiety) when they do not consume alcohol.
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Recently some researchers have suggested that there are two distinct types of alcoholism. According to these researchers, type 1 alcoholism develops in adulthood, often in the early twenties. It is most often associated with the desire to relieve stress and anxiety and is not associated with any criminal or antisocial behavior. Type 2 alcoholism develops earlier, usually during the teenage years. Drinking is done primarily to get high. Type 2 alcoholism is associated with violence, destructiveness, and other criminal and antisocial behavior. Those who study alcoholism do not universally accept the distinction between these two types of alcoholism. Research continues in this area.
Treatments are varied because there are multiple perspectives of alcoholism. Those who approach alcoholism as a medical condition or disease recommend differing treatments from, for instance, those who approach the condition as one of social choice. Most treatments focus on helping people discontinue their alcohol intake, followed up with life training and/or social support to help them resist a return to alcohol use. Since alcoholism involves multiple factors which encourage a person to continue drinking, they must all be addressed to successfully prevent a relapse. An example of this kind of treatment is detoxification followed by a combination of supportive therapy, attendance at self-help groups, and ongoing development of coping mechanisms. The treatment community for alcoholism typically supports an abstinence-based zero tolerance approach; however, some prefer a harm-reduction approach.[125]
As with similar substances with a sedative-hypnotic mechanism, such as barbiturates and benzodiazepines, withdrawal from alcohol dependence can be fatal if it is not properly managed.[55][61] Alcohol's primary effect is the increase in stimulation of the GABAA receptor, promoting central nervous system depression. With repeated heavy consumption of alcohol, these receptors are desensitized and reduced in number, resulting in tolerance and physical dependence. When alcohol consumption is stopped too abruptly, the person's nervous system suffers from uncontrolled synapse firing. This can result in symptoms that include anxiety, life-threatening seizures, delirium tremens, hallucinations, shakes and possible heart failure.[62][63] Other neurotransmitter systems are also involved, especially dopamine, NMDA and glutamate.[25][64]

Sponsors share their experience, strength, and hope with their sponsees... A sponsor's role is not that of a legal adviser, a banker, a parent, a marriage counselor, or a social worker. Nor is a sponsor a therapist offering some sort of professional advice. A sponsor is simply another addict in recovery who is willing to share his or her journey through the Twelve Steps.[29]
For some individuals whose circumstances or conditions don't require a full-time, residential recovery process, outpatient recovery may be a viable recovery option. In an outpatient recovery program, individuals undergo addiction rehabilitation while living at their own homes. They are able to schedule regular check-ins at a clinic or treatment center for medication and counseling on a regular basis.
Prevention must begin at a young age since the first instance of intoxication usually occurs during the teenage years. It is particularly important that teenagers who are at high risk for alcoholism-those with a family history of alcoholism, early or frequent use of alcohol, a tendency to drink to drunkenness, alcohol use that interferes with school work, a poor family environment, or a history of domestic violence -receive education about alcohol and its long-term effects. How this is best achieved, without alienating these young people and thus losing their attention, is the subject of continuing debate and study.

Young adult subtype: These individuals account for, per the study, about 32 percent of people struggling with AUD. This group generally begins to experience compulsive behaviors around alcohol associated with addiction when they are around 20 years old. While they have fewer occasions during an average week in which they drink, they tend to binge drink on those occasions.


While the program is neither religious nor mystical, it is considered spiritual in that members realize they are not the center of the universe. A higher power is at work, but that higher power can be defined however one chooses. Love, God, nature, conscience, the positive energy in a group of caring people, or an unnamed sense of spirit are all examples of higher powers.
Alcoholics may also require treatment for other psychotropic drug addictions and drug dependences. The most common dual dependence syndrome with alcohol dependence is benzodiazepine dependence, with studies showing 10–20 percent of alcohol-dependent individuals had problems of dependence and/or misuse problems of benzodiazepine drugs such as valium or clonazopam. These drugs are, like alcohol, depressants. Benzodiazepines may be used legally, if they are prescribed by doctors for anxiety problems or other mood disorders, or they may be purchased as illegal drugs. Benzodiazepine use increases cravings for alcohol and the volume of alcohol consumed by problem drinkers.[145] Benzodiazepine dependency requires careful reduction in dosage to avoid benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome and other health consequences. Dependence on other sedative-hypnotics such as zolpidem and zopiclone as well as opiates and illegal drugs is common in alcoholics. Alcohol itself is a sedative-hypnotic and is cross-tolerant with other sedative-hypnotics such as barbiturates, benzodiazepines and nonbenzodiazepines. Dependence upon and withdrawal from sedative-hypnotics can be medically severe and, as with alcohol withdrawal, there is a risk of psychosis or seizures if not properly managed.[146]
Prioritizing coping over healing. While AA obviously wants its members to avoid relapse and maintain sobriety, the means of doing so is heavily focused on using skills to cope with addictive behaviors rather than addressing the underlying issues that are causing them. Because of this, many people find the 12-Step program might help them stay sober, but leave them still struggling with the problems that led to becoming alcoholics in the first place.

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SMART Recovery: (Self Management for Addiction Recovery): SMART Recovery is a 4-point program based on cognitive behavioral therapy and seeks to empower the individual through education and practical techniques. It is present-focused and does not use the term “disease” when referring to addiction. Attendees may use medications, which are not encouraged in AA.

Fact: Alcoholism is NOT defined by what you drink, when you drink it, or even how much you drink. It’s the EFFECTS of your drinking that define a problem. If your drinking is causing problems in your home or work life, you have a drinking problem—whether you drink daily or only on the weekends, down shots of tequila or stick to wine, drink three bottles of beers a day or three bottles of whiskey.


Because Alcoholics Anonymous was exclusive to people who struggled with alcohol addiction, a vast array of other programs were formed to aid and support those in recovery from other addictive disorders. These include the following groups: ACA –Adult Children of Alcoholics Al-Anon/Alateen (for friends and families of alcoholics) CA –Cocaine Anonymous CLA –Clutterers Anonymous CMA –Crystal Meth Anonymous Co-Anon (for friends and family of addicts) CoDA –Co-Dependents Anonymous (for people working to end patterns of dysfunctional relationships and develop functional and healthy relationships) COSA (an auxiliary group of Sex Addicts Anonymous) COSLAA –CoSex and Love Addicts Anonymous DA –Debtors Anonymous EA –Emotions Anonymous, for recovery from mental and emotional illness FA –Families Anonymous, for relatives and friends of addicts FA –Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous FAA –Food Addicts Anonymous GA –Gamblers Anonymous Gam-Anon/Gam-A-Teen (for friends and family members of problem gamblers) HA –Heroin Anonymous MA –Marijuana Anonymous NA –Narcotics Anonymous N/A –Neurotics Anonymous (for recovery from mental and emotional illness) Nar-Anon (for friends and family members of addicts) NicA –Nicotine Anonymous OA –Overeaters Anonymous OLGA –Online Gamers Anonymous PA –Pills Anonymous (for recovery from prescription pill addiction) SA –Sexaholics Anonymous SA –Smokers Anonymous SAA –Sex Addicts Anonymous SCA –Sexual Compulsives Anonymous SIA –Survivors of Incest Anonymous SLAA –Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous SRA –Sexual Recovery Anonymous UA –Underearners Anonymous WA –Workaholics Anonymous
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Acamprosate may stabilise the brain chemistry that is altered due to alcohol dependence via antagonising the actions of glutamate, a neurotransmitter which is hyperactive in the post-withdrawal phase.[132] By reducing excessive NMDA activity which occurs at the onset of alcohol withdrawal, acamprosate can reduce or prevent alcohol withdrawal related neurotoxicity.[133] Acamprosate reduces the risk of relapse amongst alcohol-dependent persons.[134][135]
Just as there is no one test for screening or diagnosing alcoholism, there is not one single therapy or medication that definitively treats alcoholism in all those affected. Like many chronic diseases, alcohol dependence is not an easy condition to resolve, and many people will relapse into drinking several times before gaining lasting sobriety. Some of the damage done to the liver and to other organs while drinking may resolve, while some may be permanent. Patients and their doctors will need to work together over the years to maintain sobriety and to address any complications that arise from alcohol damage.
Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS). SOS is presented as a secular alternative to the more spiritual 12-step addiction recovery programs (such as AA and NA) that encourage people to reach out to a higher power. The program targets substance abusers who would like to separate sobriety from spirituality and religion. The organization credits the individual for maintaining sobriety as opposed to crediting a higher power. SOS is comprised of a network of autonomous local groups that help individuals achieve and maintain sobriety. The organization has meetings in many cities across the United States. In SOS, sobriety is presented as the number one priority for individuals suffering from alcoholism or addiction. It emphasizes the use of clear communication and scientific knowledge in choosing the most rational approach to living a sober and rewarding life.
Alcohol is a depressant – probably not a good substance for someone already experiencing depression in life. Worse yet, depression and alcohol share a two-way street. Because depression causes feelings of sadness, loneliness and disinterest, many depressed people self-medicate with alcohol. Also, the NIAAA in a 2002 study published proof that 30% to 50% of alcohol abusers also have clinical depression.

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The mental obsession is described as the cognitive processes that causes the individual to repeat the compulsive behavior after some period of abstinence, either knowing that the result will be an inability to stop or operating under the delusion that the result will be different. The description in the First Step of the life of the alcoholic or addict as "unmanageable" refers to the lack of choice that the mind of the addict or alcoholic affords concerning whether to drink or use again.[20]
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