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Recognizing and Treating Alcoholism as a Disease

Gary Schrader—One of the main problems we have in society today is the difficulty in recognizing alcoholism as a disease. It does not seem like one because society today expects you to drink at social gatherings.

A great example of this is when teenagers turn 18 they are expected to go to the bar and be part of the ritual of getting drunk on their birthdays.

Some say that this is the initiation into becoming an adult.

Most people drink today because they like the effect produced while they are consuming alcohol.

Do you or a family member have a problem with Alcohol?
Contact Alcoholics Anonymous at

When does one cross the magical line between social drinking and alcoholisms?

Few people recognize that often some of the people they drink with are alcoholics and really have an illness.

Alcoholism has been recognized for many years by most professional medical organizations as a primary, chronic, progressive and sometimes fatal disease.

At this time, alcoholism is a disease; clinically there is no cure for chronic alcoholism. It is like the disease of diabetes; you can control it but never really cure it. Alcoholism is a progressive disease which is like a mental obsession which causes a physical compulsion to drink. It is a subtle and unusual disease which occurs over a period of time. Chronic alcoholics can never just have one drink; they have to drink to get drunk.

Even most alcoholics fail to notice when they really cross that

invisible line where alcohol takes over their lives.

Denial of the disease sets in and they fail to understand why or when alcohol becomes a mental obsession.

During this period of time you will notice that most alcoholics are restless, irritable, discontented and only experience a sense of ease and comfort by taking a few drinks.

At this stage in their lives, bouts of drinking are repeated over and over again always ending with negative results.

No matter how much you complain or ask an alcoholic to stop drinking he will never stop, even when he promises you he will.

Unless the alcoholic is willing to accept that he is powerless over alcohol and his life is unmanageable, he will continue to drink which usually leads to losing all he has including his life.

The AA program (Alcoholics Anonymous) describes alcoholics as individuals with intolerance to alcohol, suffering from withdrawal symptoms with either loss of control or inability to abstain from alcohol.

This type of person cannot drink in moderation, and with continued drinking, the disease is progressive and life-threatening and leads to death.

Some people are more at risk for the disease than others and high doses of alcohol can cause loss of consciousness and even death, referred to as alcoholic poisoning.

Granted some of these people may be neurotic, self-centered, emotional individuals, but are they, therefore, doomed to alcoholism?

Research has shown that alcoholics may not be able to metabolize alcohol in the same way other people do. So in reality no one really knows until they consume alcohol to excess how it will affect them.

Therefore, some drinkers are playing with a loaded gun when it comes to consuming alcohol.

Think of alcoholism as a type of disease. For other diseases we go to the doctor for a cure or a pill, but for the alcoholic there is no medical cure available at this time, no magic pill that can stop you from becoming an alcoholic.

However there is help available, from the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba where you can attend an in-house 21 day addiction program.

During your stay as an in-house patient you will be introduced to the AA program along with a suggestion that you attend AA meetings.

Luckily there are also programs available for the families of alcoholics.

It may never be completely understood what caused alcoholism but there is a treatment. Remember that alcoholism is a chronic disease and it will not go away by itself, you will require help.

Scientists, doctors, AFM, and AA all agree that alcoholism is a disease

The only way we can improve this condition is by developing an education program in the school system before the problem gets out of hand.

Do you feel you have a drinking problem and alcohol is controlling your life? Are you lonely, lost all your friends and no one wants you to attend their parties? Then just maybe you are an alcoholic and you may need help.

Just remember the only person you can help today is you and you alone, so pick up the phone and reach out and ask for help before it is too late.

AA also knows how to assist people who were formerly violent, anti-social, completely immoral, the despair of their friends and themselves

However, this will not be an easy task; it will be a great struggle back to a normal way of living through timely education.

The importance of this cannot be over looked or overestimated; it is a proven fact that AA works. Alcoholism is a devastating disease that can cause death and suffering.

It can be managed with the help of fellow alcoholics in the AA program along with the support of your friends and family.

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