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Some 17.6 million Americans have alcohol problems affecting their lives

If alcohol affects your life and relationships – you find it difficult to control how much you drink or you're addicted to alcohol to get through the day – you can be among the 17.6 million adult Americans, 1 in 12 who have an alcohol use, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. It is the medical term for what people usually call alcoholism. The Council reports that 7 million children live in a household where at least one parent has abused alcohol or is dependent on it, and more than half of all adults have a family history of alcohol use. Varying degrees exist, from mild to severe, depending on the number of symptoms a person experiences. But a powerful desire for alcohol, despite the consequences, is common in that spectrum. The possible health effects of alcohol abuse include an increased risk for several types of cancer, liver cirrhosis, heart problems, stroke, stomach bleeding, a weakened immune system, brain damage, mood changes and more. Heavy drinking also increases the risk of death from car accidents and various injuries. More than 88,000 deaths each year have an alcohol-related cause, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. But the disease does not have to be fatal. It can be difficult to quit and relapse can occur. But behavioral therapy, medication and support from family, friends and others in the same situation, as members of alcoholics Anonymous, have been effective in helping many stop drinking. –…

If alcohol affects your life and relationships – you find it difficult to control how much you drink or you’re addicted to alcohol to get through the day – you can be among the 17.6 million adult Americans, 1 in 12 who have an alcohol use, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. It is the medical term for what people usually call alcoholism. The Council reports that 7 million children live in a household where at least one parent has abused alcohol or is dependent on it, and more than half of all adults have a family history of alcohol use. Varying degrees exist, from mild to severe, depending on the number of symptoms a person experiences. But a powerful desire for alcohol, despite the consequences, is common in that spectrum. The possible health effects of alcohol abuse include an increased risk for several types of cancer, liver cirrhosis, heart problems, stroke, stomach bleeding, a weakened immune system, brain damage, mood changes and more. Heavy drinking also increases the risk of death from car accidents and various injuries. More than 88,000 deaths each year have an alcohol-related cause, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. But the disease does not have to be fatal. It can be difficult to quit and relapse can occur. But behavioral therapy, medication and support from family, friends and others in the same situation, as members of alcoholics Anonymous, have been effective in helping many stop drinking.

– Linda Searing

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