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Facts About Teenage Alcohol Abuse

Teenage alcohol abuse is a serious problem that can affect the lives of both individuals and their families. Doctors distinguish between alcoholism and alcohol abuse. Alcoholism is a medical condition which is characterized by a dependence on alcohol. With alcohol abuse, an individual can consume too much alcohol over time or binge drink, but is not dependent on alcohol. Both alcoholism and alcohol abuse are serious conditions that can result in death.

Teenagers who abuse alcohol can experience a variety of negative consequences including interpersonal problems, not being able to complete homework or other responsibilities, drunk driving arrests or car accidents, and health conditions related to drinking too much. More than 50 percent of college students who drink experience some significant problem related to their drinking. Here are some other statistics on teenagers and alcohol abuse:

 

  • More than 15 percent of all college students consume alcohol at levels indicating a significant problem.

 

 

  • Alcohol poisoning has increased in recent years and can result in a coma or death for the individual.

 

 

  • Thousands of students in the United States die each year from alcohol related accidents including car crashes, bike accidents, and accidental drowning.

 

 

  • Of college students who commit suicide, 66 percent were drunk when they killed themselves.

 

 

  • A child who reaches the age of 21 without abusing alcohol or doing drugs is likely to never do so in his or her lifetime.

 

 

  • The average age that an individual first tries alcohol is 11 for boys and 13 for girls.

 

 

  • Those who begin drinking before the age of 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who drink after age 21.

 

 

  • Some estimates suggest that over 3 million high school students are alcoholics and millions more abuse alcohol.

 

 

  • Teenage drinking, including how often the student drinks and how much is consumed, is directly related to parental supervision, support, and communication.

 

Although many may shrug off the problem of teenage alcohol abuse, it is clear that early drinking can lead to a host of other problems down the road. Abusing alcohol can keep students from reaching their goals academically and can kill them through alcohol poisoning or various alcohol-related accidents.

What are the Alcohol Abuse Effects?

Heavy drinkers, regardless of whether the term alcoholic fits or not, can suffer alcohol abuse effects. Alcoholism is a term that often refers to the alcohol dependence, including a physical dependence on alcohol, difficulty in controlling how much is drunk, and a craving for alcohol. Many doctors prefer to distinguish this medical disorder with alcohol abuse. Abusers may not be dependent on alcohol, but they persist in binge drinking or chronic heavy levels of alcohol that leads to problems in other areas of their lives.

The effects of alcohol abuse can hit both alcoholics and alcohol abusers and the effects often depend on the consumption history of the person. That is to say that individuals who drink more and drink more often tend to suffer from more effects. The effects range from physical conditions to broken relationships to legal troubles.

Digestive system diseases and conditions are common with prolonged heavy use of alcohol. Any organ that helps digest and absorb alcohol, such as the liver, stomach, and pancreas, is at risk for problems. The brain also experiences damage with alcohol abuse. Other conditions like ulcers, inflamed pancreas, and cirrhosis of the liver can also occur.

Alcohol abusers also tend to physically and nutritionally neglect their bodies. Anemia may develop and injuries are common. As alcohol becomes more of an obsession and great amounts are consumed, individuals are more likely to engage in risky behaviors and to ignore any other problem that may develop physically.

Nervous system disorders can also occur with prolonged alcohol abuse. Blackouts, hallucinations, tremors, seizures, and other conditions can occur. Nervous system disorders can result in the death of the individual.

Psychological and interpersonal problems are also common for both alcoholics and alcohol abusers. Problems can include impaired thinking, impaired judgment, changes in mood, impaired social relationships, job problems, and legal troubles. These issues are signs that an individual may be experiencing a problem with alcohol.

Those who engage in problem drinking are at a high risk of premature death as well. Some of the causes of premature death include suicide, overdose, accidents, car crashes, and organ failure. The high risks associated with alcohol mean that many heavy drinkers will never fully experience the health dangers of alcohol because they will die before this happens.

Alcohol abuse effects are varied and dangerous. Problem drinking can lead to serious health problems and even death. In addition, psychological and interpersonal problems are common, leading to divorces, financial problems, legal troubles, and other risky behaviors.

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Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment: What Can You Do?

Doctors recommend that individuals should have alcohol withdrawal treatment when they are attempting to quit drinking and detox. Research indicates that 95 percent of individuals who stop drinking alcohol will experience mild to moderate symptoms like headaches, sweating, rapid heart rate, shakes, or nausea. Another 5 percent will suffer sever symptoms that could be life threatening such as seizures, DTs, convulsions, and hallucinations.

Any individual who is detoxing should receive medical treatment and supervision. Inpatient treatment programs tend to be more successful than outpatient ones in part because of the increased support given to individuals in these programs. However, any treatment is better than no treatment at all.

Professionals may recommend several different types of treatment. Non-drug treatments can be used alone in individuals with mild symptoms or in combination with drug treatments for those with more moderate or severe symptoms. Non-drug treatments may include counseling, extensive social support, proper nutrition, acupuncture, and vitamin therapy among other alternatives.

Whether an individual chooses drug therapy or not, non-drug therapies often help individuals not only cope with symptoms of withdrawals, but also in the transition to non-drinking behaviors. Support is an essential element of treatment and should not be under-estimated. Physical cravings for alcohol will subside as detox time passes, but psychological dependence will still need to be dealt with.

For individuals with more severe symptoms or in various other situations, doctors might prescribe medications to help the person detox and stop drinking. Medications might include sedatives, anti-anxiety medications, and those that reduce cravings for alcohol. Antabuse, for example, produces effects like vomiting and dizziness if the individual consumes alcohol while taking the drug. This helps the individual stop drinking. A doctor should always oversee the use of such medications in case other side effects develop.

Opinions vary on what alcohol withdrawal treatments are best. Treatments to some degree vary from person to person, but doctors still disagree about the best ways to approach detox situations. You should talk to your doctor about what treatment they recommend and if you want, get a second opinion on how to handle detox from another doctor or rehab facility.

What researchers do agree on is that anyone attempting to detox needs an alcohol withdrawal treatment program. Whether the symptoms are mild or severe, detoxing can be unpleasant or even dangerous. Working with a doctor or rehab facility to detox will help keep the individual safe and enhance their chances of success.

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What to Expect When You Detox From Alcohol

A detox from alcohol is a program that rids the body alcohol and provides a physical and mental readjustment to life without the addictive substance. A detox program can be in an inpatient rehab center or conducted on an outpatient basis. Medications are used in some circumstances to reduce the symptoms of withdrawal and help reduce the alcoholic’s need for a drink.

Alcoholics need to detox from alcohol before other treatments and therapies can begin. With alcohol still in the body, the alcoholic will continue to physically crave the substance and recovery will be even more difficult to achieve. Anyone attempting to detox should be under the care of a medical profession and inpatient treatment centers are highly recommended.

Withdrawal symptoms can be mild to severe and some may require medication to treat. Some individuals may experience shaking or sweating as the body detoxes. Symptoms like headaches, nausea, anxiety, and a rapid heartbeat may accompany shaking and sweating. Hangover symptoms of someone who drinks occasionally stimulates the effects of withdrawal from more chronic use.

These mild to moderate symptoms are generally not considered dangerous, although some doctors may prescribe medications to help with them. The symptoms are more uncomfortable and irritating than dangerous. Cravings for alcohol often accompany the symptoms, making sobriety difficult to achieve.

More severe withdrawal symptoms include hallucinations, convulsions, seizures, delirium tremors, and cardiovascular disturbances. Currently, there are no known cures for delirium tremors, or DT’s. Because of the seriousness of these severe withdrawal symptoms and the fact that death can occur as a person attempts to detox, medical help is essential.

Many factors influence which symptoms a person will develop when she is detoxing from alcohol, such as the individual’s alcohol consumption history. Although some can be uncomfortable or unpleasant, it is important to remember that continuing to drink will cause severe physical and mental problems. While the detox symptoms can last for several days or weeks, stopping will help prevent more serious health problems from occurring.

Individuals who wish to detox from alcohol should consult with a medical professional and enter a rehab program if at all possible. Detox under the supervision of a doctor and therapist can alleviate or reduce the symptoms that the individual might encounter. The social support can also help the individual through the detox process and give the person a better chance to stay sober.

What are the Three Alcoholism Stages?

Studies suggest that there are three alcoholism stages that individuals go through if they continue to drink. The stages can each last for a number of years before the next one happens. The stages can be grouped into early, middle, and late alcoholism. By understanding the three stages, you will be better able to see problems developing in yourself or in loved ones.

Early Stages

In early stages of alcoholism, an individual begins to drink to affect their moods, forget about problems, and think more about alcohol. Physically, the individual needs to drink larger quantities of alcohol in order to get the same effects that he used to get from smaller amounts. The person may also appear to be functioning normally even when she is drinking large quantities of alcohol.

With early stages, it is likely that neither the person nor the people around them will recognize the signs of beginning alcoholism. Higher functioning while drinking contributes to this as well as the improvement in mood while drinking.

Middle Stages

By the middle stages of alcoholism, individuals are experiencing a greater need to drink. Drinking larger and larger amounts and beginning to drink earlier in the day are common signs. The individual’s tolerance from the early stages begins to disappear and the individual become drunk more easily. Withdrawal symptoms can occur if the person stops drinking or cuts back.

The person may deny that drinking is a problem, but he can no longer judge how much alcohol his body can handle. Stomach problems, blackouts, and hangovers may be common.

Late Stages

During late or end stages of alcoholism, the individual becomes obsessed with drinking. Others can often identify a problem and the individual neglects other aspects of their life in favor of alcohol. Mental and physical health deteriorates as many of the body’s organs have been damaged. Relationships are also damaged or destroyed.

If the individual continues to drink, alcohol will eventually kill the person. Suicide, injuries, or accidents are common as well as death due to the health issues created over time. Malnutrition, liver damage, B1 deficiencies, and damaged cells all contribute to health issues.

Understanding the stages of alcoholism can help you get assistance for a loved one or for yourself. Learn about the warning signs of alcoholism and do something if you see a problem developing. Alcoholism stages will continue unless the drinking is stopped and the person commits to sobriety.

Understanding Your Alcohol Detox Medication Options

During an alcohol detox program, doctors often prescribe an alcohol detox medication to help alcoholics deal with withdrawal symptoms and to help them resist drinking in the future. A number of drugs are commonly used and researchers continue to look for more options to fight alcoholisms. Doctors prescribe the medications for different aspects of the recovery process.

If you’re doctor recommends using a detox medication, find out as much information as you can about the medication. Knowing about potential side effects, uses, and how to properly take the drug will help you feel more comfortable with the drug and will increase your chances of success with it. Be sure to ask your doctor about any questions that you have and any side effects that you might encounter.

Some of the common detox medications that doctors prescribe include:

 

  • Acamprosate (Campral) helps control a person’s craving for alcohol. This medication is often used after detox to help the individual continue sobriety.

 

 

  • Disulfiram (Antabuse) makes an individual feel ill when they consume alcohol. The pleasurable effects of alcohol are slowed down and the person feels sick.

 

 

  • Naltrxone (ReVia) operates in the same way that disulfiram does.

 

 

  • Thiamine (Vitamin B1) can help prevent Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, which causes permanent brain damage to some chronic alcoholics.

 

 

  • Anti-Anxiety medications may be used to treat delirium tremens which can happen during withdrawal.

 

 

  • Sedatives can be prescribed to help treat common withdrawal symptoms like headaches and nausea.

 

 

  • Painkillers are also sometimes prescribed for convulsions and seizures that can happen during detox.

 

Depending on the situation, doctors may prescribe other medications. In addition, other therapies may be used in detox situations including counseling, proper nutrition, acupuncture, and other ways to help support the individual going through detox.

Studies show that inpatient detox programs are more successful than outpatient ones. This could be due to the increased support and medical supervision of withdrawal symptoms. Talk to your doctor or alcohol counselor about what options and medications may be right for your individual situation.

An alcohol detox medication can help you get and stay sober. However, you should think of medication as one part of a larger strategy. By approaching alcoholism from multiple angles, you’ll be more likely to find a treatment that works for you.

Using an Alcohol Detox Protocol

An alcohol detox protocol is often one of the first steps in treating alcoholism. Typically this treatment is done under the supervision of a doctor and it often takes place in an inpatient rehab treatment program because of the time frame needed for detox. This allows the individual undergoing the treatment to be under supervision for any ill effects or health hazards as the body is rid of alcohol.

Studies show that every person who experiences alcohol withdrawal symptoms should receive medical treatment. Most alcoholics experience mild to moderate symptoms but they should also have an alcohol detox protocol in place. Although the protocol may be different than for someone with severe symptoms, it is important for the individual to be under the care of a doctor in case of problems.

For those with mild or moderate withdrawal symptoms, non-drug detox protocols have been found to be the least problematic. Most non-drug alcohol detox protocols involve social support throughout the detox. Vitamin therapy and proper nutrition may also be used to help combat the withdrawal symptoms.

For those with more severe symptoms or for chronic alcoholics, drug treatments are often used. Alcoholics are less likely to experience seizures or brain damage when treatment drugs are used during detox. Benzodiazepines have the best record of success in treating alcoholism. When drugs are used, doctors typically decrease the drug dosage over time.

After a person has undergone an alcohol detox protocol, other drugs may be used to make alcohol consumption unpleasant for the individual or to reduce the craving for alcohol. This helps the individual stay sober.

Studies indicate that inpatient programs tend to be more successful than outpatient in keeping alcoholics sober after treatment. Inpatient treatments are particularly important for those with severe symptoms or who have been alcoholics for a long time. The supervision and constant support in these situations increases the likelihood of success, although it is still a battle for anyone with an alcohol addiction.

A professional alcohol detox protocol is highly recommended for anyone who is seeking to treat alcoholism. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms should be taken seriously by everyone involved, regardless of how mild they are. A detox protocol can get your sobriety off to the best start possible.

How to Choose an Alternative Alcohol Treatment Program

Although traditional methods may help some people with an alcohol problem, others find that they need to seek out an alternative alcohol treatment program in addition to or in place of traditional treatments. You may find that you need an alternative treatment after finishing a rehab program or that using several different treatments works best for you. One method doesn’t work for everyone so you may need to seek out alternatives.

Many people have suggested alternative alcohol treatments over the years. Some have quickly faded away while others have become quite popular. Given all of the options out there, how do you choose the right alcohol treatment program? Treating alcoholism is serious business and you want a good treatment method that will work and not cause greater harm.

Some of the alternative treatment options for alcohol include acupuncture, homeopathic therapies, body cleansing, drumming, vitamin supplements, and other naturalistic options. Many alternate treatments are new and/or have less documented success than traditional methods. This does not mean that the treatment will not work, but that it may not have been studied or been around long enough for real answers on its effectiveness.

One way to learn about treatments is to talk to a physician or alcohol counselor. They will probably have information about various options and can talk you through the pros and cons of each. Most will be more familiar with traditional treatments than alternate ones, but they can offer their professional opinions to help you weigh the options.

You can also ask questions of the organizations or individuals offering the alcohol treatments. Find out as much as you can about how long the treatment takes, what is involved, how much it costs, what risks there are, and so on. Also ask to talk to others who have taken part in the treatment. Recognize that the organizations will be invested in the program and will want to give you the best impression, including giving you references that will be positive. If you can, find others who have used the treatment and ask their opinions.

Keep in mind that you can often combine traditional and alternative alcohol treatments in your quest to become and stay sober. It makes good sense to use as many different therapies as are helpful for you and to approach your alcohol problem from multiple angles. Consider holistic approaches that blend mind, body, and spirit.

As people try to learn more about alcohol addictions, alternative alcohol treatments will emerge from time to time. When looking at these programs, it is important to choose an alternative alcohol treatment program that fits your needs and that will work for you. Don’t let the alternative status of a treatment turn you off, but also keep your eyes out for therapies that won’t work for you.

Choosing an Alcoholism Medical Treatment Program

An alcoholism medical treatment is highly recommended for anyone who is attempting to detox from alcohol. Withdrawing from alcohol can be dangerous in some circumstances and doctors recommend that anyone attempting this be under the care of a physician. Involving a doctor in the process gives the patient a better chance of success and a healthy outcome.

Research suggests that in patient medical treatment programs have more success than out patient treatment for alcoholism. In part, this is due to more social support during the withdrawal process. This support is available for the patient at any time of the day or night. With out patient programs help and support is more limited.

The treatment program should be chosen based on the individual and the situation. For some individuals, out patient programs work best because of their circumstances including location, finances, and the low risk of severe symptoms. Other individuals should consider in patient programs, particularly if they have a high risk of severe symptoms or complications.

Alcoholism medical treatments may use psychosocial therapy and support, drug treatments, or other alternative therapies. Patients should discuss the options with their doctor and/or alcohol counselor to find the best options.

Research indicates that psychosocial treatments have only a moderate success rate for treating alcoholics. However, doctors have also been reluctant to use drug treatments for all but the most severe cases of alcoholism and withdrawal symptoms. Research continues and some drugs are showing promise for use in medical treatment for alcoholism.

Drug treatment for alcohol may include sedatives or other drugs if the symptoms are severe or are needed to protect the patient’s health. Doctors also use drugs that affect alcohol’s influence on the body and brain. This helps reduce cravings.

Additionally, antabuse or similar drugs are used to make an individual feel ill if they consume alcohol while taking the drug. This helps keep a person from consuming alcohol and aids the patient in his or her effort for sobriety.

Medical professionals continue to search for medical treatments that can be used to successfully treat alcoholism. Alcoholism medical treatments today range from psychosocial treatments to drug therapies to alternative methods. Research will continue on treatments to find methods that can be used to successfully treat alcoholism. Someday, a cure for the disease may be found.

Is There a Drug Treatment for Alcoholism?

Doctors often recommend drug treatment for alcoholism when a person is attempting to withdrawal from the substance. Due to the risk of serious symptoms or complications, medical supervision is always recommended. As part of the treatment for withdrawal, drugs may be used to ease symptoms and to reduce the cravings for alcohol. Doctors often like to reserve drug treatment for severe cases where symptoms or risks are high. Most don’t want to add drugs to an already addictive situation.

Depending on the situation, doctors may choose to use a variety of different drug treatments for alcoholism. The symptoms of withdrawal can range from nausea, headaches, and shakiness on the mild side to delirium tremors, convulsions, and seizures at the severe side. Death can be a possibility. A person’s history of alcohol consumption plays a role in the severity of the symptoms and the process of withdrawal.

Doctors sometimes use sedatives to help calm a patient undergoing alcohol withdrawal. The physician will control the dosage, keeping them at the lowest level possible, and gradually reduce the dose as the alcohol withdrawal symptoms decrease. Some doctors will only prescribe sedatives if the patient is experiencing seizures as part of the withdrawal process. Other drugs may also be used to help control symptoms.

Finding a treatment for alcoholism has frustrated professionals. Researchers have found that psychosocial treatments are only moderately effective. Because of this, medical professionals and alcohol counselors have considered drug therapies to help alcoholics in some cases.

Some drugs have received approval for treating alcohol. Some drugs influence brain and body function so that cravings are reduced. Compliance with such drugs can be a problem and there is some discussion of releasing a once a month injection of the drug which would be gradually reduced into the body.

Other drugs that are sometimes used make a person feel ill when alcohol is consumed. This helps keep the alcoholic from drinking and helps to reduce the craving. Some people learn to associate alcohol with feelings of illness.

Research continues for drugs that could be used to treat alcoholism. Some drugs, currently used for other illnesses, show some promise for treating alcohol. In addition, medical professionals are examining how combinations of drugs might prove more successful in treating alcoholism.

Drug treatment for alcoholism shows some promise although most doctors prefer to avoid it if possible. In situations with severe withdrawal symptoms, drug therapy may be necessary to keep a patient alive.