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The drug addiction Newsletter is published periodically, and provides up-to-date information concerning advancements in the treatment of drug addiction, as well as drug addiction trends.

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Facts About the Most Used and Abused Drugs from Alcohol to Ecstasy:

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Alcoholism...what is it?

For most people, alcohol is a pleasant accompaniment to social activities. Moderate alcohol use--up to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women and older people (a standard drink is one 12-ounce bottle of beer or wine cooler, one 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits) -- is not harmful for most adults. Nonetheless, a substantial number of people have serious trouble with their drinking. Currently, nearly 14 million Americans--1 in every 13 adults--abuse alcohol or are alcoholic. Several million more adults engage in risky drinking patterns that could lead to alcohol problems. In addition, approximately 53 percent of men and women in the United States report that one or more of their close relatives has a drinking problem.

The consequences of alcohol misuse are serious--in many cases, life-threatening. Heavy drinking can increase the risk for certain cancers, especially those of the liver, esophagus, throat, and larynx (voice box). It can also cause liver cirrhosis, immune system problems, brain damage, and harm to the fetus during pregnancy. In addition, drinking increases the risk of death from automobile crashes, recreational accidents, and on-the-job accidents and also increases the likelihood of homicide and suicide. In purely economic terms, alcohol-related problems cost society approximately $100 billion per year. In human terms, the costs are incalculable.

Alcoholism has little to do with what kind of alcohol one drinks, how long one has been drinking, or even exactly how much alcohol one consumes. But it has a great deal to do with a person's uncontrollable need for alcohol. This description of alcoholism helps us understand why most alcoholics can't just "use a little willpower" to stop drinking. He or she is frequently in the grip of a powerful craving for alcohol, a need that can feel as strong as the need for food or water. While some people are able to recover without help, the majority of alcoholic individuals need outside assistance to recover from their disease. With support and treatment, many individuals are able to stop drinking and rebuild their lives.

Why Drinking Excessively is Dangerous?

Ethyl alcohol or ethanol is the type of alcohol that is found in alcoholic beverages. Ethyl alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that affects regions in the brain that control behavior, so naturally people feel more outgoing and talkative. But, if a person continues to drink, the alcohol will slow the responses of the brain and nervous system, which could lead to sleep or unconsciousness. Unlike other tablet-form drugs, alcohol is absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Typically, a drink will reach the bloodstream within 15 minutes of consumption and peak in 30 minutes or so. The rate of alcohol consumption depends on how strong the drink is, if there is food in the stomach, and the person's weight, size, sex, age, race, and family history.

Alcohol is a drug and it is addictive. If you drink too much, your body will build up tolerance, and you will have to drink more and more alcohol to get drunk or intoxicated. If a person suddenly stops drinking, he or she can suffer from withdrawal. Heavy drinking affects almost every system in the body including the nervous, digestive, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and endocrine systems.

The Risks and Complications

  • Liver Disease
  • Cardiovascular System
  • Cancer
  • Brain Damage
  • Vitamin Deficiencies
  • Digestive Problems
  • Reproductive/Sexual Dysfunction
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • Higher Mortality
  • Withdrawal Dangers

How Common is Alcoholism?

Alcohol dependence and abuse are among the most common mental disorders. The recent National Comorbidity Survey says that 23.5% of Americans may become dependent or abuse alcohol sometime in their lives. According to the American Psychiatric Association, 10 million adults and 3 million children are alcoholics. The first episode of alcohol intoxication usually occurs in the early to mid-teens and alcohol dependence usually peaks between the ages of 20 to mid-30s. Alcoholic dependence often follows family patterns. The risk is 3 to 4 times higher for someone to develop alcohol dependence if he or she has close relatives who are alcohol dependent.

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drug treatment rehab alcohol addiction rehabilitation  The following articles contain useful information about drug addiction.
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What is Amphetamine Addiction?

Viewed in some circles as the less-threatening "little brother" of the dangerous and highly addictive crystal meth, amphetamine remains a significant threat to the adolescents and adults who use the drug in misguided attempts to fight off fatigue, enhance concentration, or gain a competitive edge in an athletic event.
 

 

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