Know the signs of alcoholism and what to do to help

  • Posted: Monday, July 22, 2013 9:07 a.m.
Staff Photo by Stephanie Turner
Beer and other alcoholic drinks leads to many health and social problems when used excessively.
Staff Photo by Stephanie Turner Beer and other alcoholic drinks leads to many health and social problems when used excessively.

Alcohol is brought to liven up parties and loosen up at clubs, but too much can ruin more than just having a good time.

A person can abuse the substance or become dependent on it.

Alcohol abuse occurs when the drug affects the drug-taker’s health and daily interactions. Alcoholism, or alcohol dependence, happens when the person become so reliant on the drink that he or she loses control over it, according to a fact sheet from the Aiken Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Services.

Men should not drink more than two drinks a day, while women no more than one drink per day, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Alcohol doesn’t just impact the one drinking; it also impacts those around him or her.

Signs of alcoholism include using alcohol as a break from reality or frequently without thought; blacking out with sometimes no memory of what happened; having a flip in your personality or problems at work or school and showing higher and higher tolerance levels, according to the center.

If your family and friends are concerned or if you just can’t make it through the day without that one glass, resources are available.

There are counseling and rehabilitation facilities, as well as support groups open for anyone who would like to attend.

Those groups include Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon Family Groups. At these meetings, attendants are there to listen and give advice.

They know they can’t change you, as a woman with the Al-Anon Aiken hotline put it. Due to the group’s policy, her identity cannot be released.

The Alateen group lets young people gather with their peers and talk about the experiences of their family members and friends.

Locally, Al-Anon meetings are held every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 961 Trail Ridge Road; Mondays at 6:30 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church, 2724 Whiskey Road; and Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 12:30 p.m. at First Christian Church, 900 Kerr Drive S.W.

An Alateen group meets every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., also at First Christian Church.

For more information on Alcoholics Anonymous, call the main office at 212-870-3400 or the Columbia office at 803-254-5301.

To find out about the meetings and more information on Al-Anon in Aiken, call 803-642-2898.

Alcohol can interfere with your hearing, vision, coordination, judgement and emotions, but, in the long run, it can influence one’s skin, heart, central nervous system and stomach, according to the Aiken Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Services.

Overdose can lead to comatose or death, according to the Drug and Alcohol Rehab Services website.

You can survive it though, and don’t have to struggle through it alone, the woman with Al-Anon said.

The Aiken Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Services, 1105 Gregg Highway, offers treatment options and resources to aid those seeking help.

For information on its services, call 803-649-1900.

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