If you checked one to three boxes from each of the two checklists, there’s a strong chance that your loved one has an alcohol problem. However, some of these signs could also be red flags for a mental or physical illness. Encourage your loved one to be evaluated by a physician or therapist. Talk to him or her about alcohol abuse, and express your support for further treatment, such as therapy, counseling, or a 12-step program. You or your loved one can also call a free alcohol hotline for more information.
With a U.S. economy inching laboriously back from recession with a flagging job market in tow, we should be sensitive to hidden costs of this “lifestyle choice.” In a perfect world, we would weigh the right to drink excessively against the $94.2 billion in tax dollars that we spend every year to pay the costs of alcoholism. We should weigh the collective choice against the 1.9 million public school teachers we could hire with that $94.2 billion — or the million public parks that money could build for communities across the country, or the million students we could put through school. And we’d think hard about what cultural shift could moderate this “lifestyle choice” before it becomes disease.
It isn’t easy to change environmental factors such as socioeconomic status, but there are ways to mitigate against unfavorable environmental factors and work to fight drug addiction or prevent it from happening in the first place. One tactic is to delay onset of drug use entirely. Another is to nurture environmental motivators for positive behavior, such as educational attainment and job training. Vigilant friends and family can also model positive behaviors and engage with at-risk users in sober activities.
This is an ongoing debate in the medical community, but it is generally agreed that there is no one cause for the development of addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, contributing factors may include a genetic predisposition to develop addictive tendencies, an environment that is permissive of drug abuse, access to illicit substances, and certain developmental issues. The existence of a Dual Diagnosis is one of the biggest risk factors for the development of addiction.
Because Ecstasy affects the brain’s response to the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin — naturally produced chemicals that affect mood — the drug can also cause mood swings, depression, and anxiety. Ecstasy is often thought to be non-addictive, but research shows that regular users experience the signs of physical and psychological dependence, including increased tolerance to the drug and the compulsive need to obtain and use it.
Oral medications. A drug called disulfiram (Antabuse) may help prevent you from drinking, although it won't cure alcohol use disorder or remove the compulsion to drink. If you drink alcohol, the drug produces a physical reaction that may include flushing, nausea, vomiting and headaches. Naltrexone, a drug that blocks the good feelings alcohol causes, may prevent heavy drinking and reduce the urge to drink. Acamprosate may help you combat alcohol cravings once you stop drinking. Unlike disulfiram, naltrexone and acamprosate don't make you feel sick after taking a drink.
Getting alcohol out of the addicted person’s system is the first part of recovery. People with a severe alcohol addiction can experience intense withdrawal symptoms. A supervised alcohol detox is usually necessary for people addicted to alcohol to prevent potentially fatal complications. Shaking, sweating, seizures, and hallucinations are possible alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Woman Turns to Rehab After Struggling With Drugs, Alcohol: Part 1