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 •  Haskell, TX 79521

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Haskell Memorial Hospital

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Alcoholism – what it is and what it isn’t

Alcoholism

Each year, nearly 90,000 individuals will die from alcohol-related causes in the U.S., making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in America.

Each year, nearly 90,000 individuals will die from alcohol-related causes in the U.S., making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in America. Of this number 62,000 are men and 26,000 are women.

Alcoholism, or alcohol dependence, is a disease that had four major hallmarks:

  1. Craving - a strong need or compulsion to drink.
  2. Loss of control - the inability to limit one’s drinking on any given occasion.
  3. Physical dependence - withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, sweating, shakiness or anxiety.
  4. Tolerance - the need to drink greater amounts of alcohol in order to get the desired buzz.

What many people do not understand is that alcoholism has little to do with willpower. Alcoholics are subject to powerful cravings and uncontrollable needs that will prevail over their ability to say no to that first drink or even that sixth drink.

In the past, scientists have credited alcoholism to be genetic. So if Grampa Linus was an alcoholic, little Billy had a predisposition; however, scientists are now seeing that genetics are not the whole story and that certain factors in a person’s environment may have more to do with a genetic risk for alcoholism to play a part in their life. Environmental factors include how he or she lives, friends, culture, peer pressure and even how easy it is to obtain alcohol.

If you have ever thought you or a loved one might have a dependence on alcohol, it is best to examine the following questions:

  • Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?
  • Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
  • Have you ever felt bad/ guilty about your drinking?
  • Have you ever had a drink in the morning to recover from a late night out or help with a hangover?

If you answered yes to any one of the above questions, it might be time to find help.

Dr. Joplin obtained his associate’s degree in nursing in 1972, his bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1985 and his M.D. in 1992 from the University of North Texas at Ft. Worth. His specialties include ER medicine, Family Practice medicine and obstetrics. He and his wife Pam have been married for 38 years and have two children. In his spare time, Dr. Joplin enjoys composing and performing music and has had 14 of his songs in the top 100 of Christian country music charts.