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Alcohol – the most abused drug in the United States

It seems that there is an ever-growing focus on drugs, addictions, and legalization of illegal drugs in the United States today. Alcohol is legal, but remains an enormous burden on this country physically, emotionally and financially due to the prevalence of alcohol abuse. Some facts about alcohol abuse in this country:

  1. According to the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, alcohol abuse alone is the primary reason for entering both outpatient drug rehab centers and inpatient facilities for the treatment of alcohol abuse.

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  1. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that in 2009, 23.1 percent of admissions into publicly funded alcohol abuse treatment centers were due to alcohol only without use of any other substances, which was the highest single categorization.
  1. Do you or someone you love have an alcohol abuse problem? Have you started to notice that you or they are drinking more than usual? Have you or they started planning activities around the availability of alcohol? Do you or your loved one suffer from blackouts or forget things said or done while drinking? There are endless signs and symptoms, but chances are, if you are wondering if you or they are developing an alcohol abuse problem, then it is a possibility. The good news is, there are several options available to those with alcohol abuse problems.
  1. There are support groups and organizations where people come together to discuss and share about their alcohol abuse problems. In today’s society, there are typically both non-religious and non-spiritual groups, in addition to those basing learning and healing on religious beliefs. Support groups have been very successful for many people.
  1. There are medications that your physician can prescribe to curb your craving for alcohol. Talk to you doctor about the variety of drugs available today that can be prescribed to manage and deter alcohol abuse.
  1. Several small changes can be made such as avoiding trigger situations or locations, finding alternative activities to drinking and also to developing a crisis plan when confronted with the desire to drink. Make out schedules for your day or if it is a loved one struggling with alcohol, invite them to participate in activities where alcohol is not available. Does a typical Monday evening after work involve sharing a bottle of wine on the deck, discussing your days? Change your routine by taking walks after work, joining a local gym, or finding volunteer opportunities in the evening.
  1. Regardless of where you live, it’s likely that you do not live too far from outpatient drug rehab centers or alcohol abuse treatment centers. Many people may feel unsure about whether outpatient or inpatient treatment is best, so it’s a good idea to contact these centers to discuss your options. Understandably, a person struggling with alcohol abuse probably has concerns and fears regarding choosing between outpatient and inpatient treatment. Often people fear losing their jobs, finances, or getting behind in school if they choose inpatient treatment. It’s important to discuss all options with a qualified assessment specialist when contacting outpatient or inpatient facilities. Many insurance providers provide percentages of reimbursement for both inpatient and outpatient treatment for alcohol abuse. Additionally the Family Medical Leave Act protects your employment while on leave to seek treatment. The same position is not guaranteed upon return but often you can maintain your employment and perhaps receive short-term medical benefits while on leave if available from your employer.

People are often overwhelmed wondering where to turn and what to do when seeking alcohol abuse treatment for themselves or a loved one, but help is always available.

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