Knowledge nixes alcoholism

By Christine Adolf
February 19, 2009

Shannon Keough

Alcohol dependency syndrome, known as alcoholism, is characterized by four characteristics: craving, loss of control, physical dependence and tolerance, states an article from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

“The effects of alcohol vary depending on how much a person has had to drink,” Dara Herskovits, therapist at Cabrini College Counseling Services, said.

The article details the specific components that constitute alcoholism. Craving is the very strong need to have an alcoholic drinking. Loss of control is the inability to stop drinking after you start.

Physical dependence is the occurrence of withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness and anxiety, when alcohol use is stopped after a period of heavy drinking. Tolerance is the increasing need to keep drinking until that “high” feeling.

It’s your responsibility to know if you are at risk for alcoholism. Alcoholism is not only something you can bring on yourself, but it can be inherited as well.

Not all children of an alcoholic parent will automatically inherit alcoholism.

While some people are able to recover without help, the majority of alcoholic individuals need outside assistance to recover from their disease. With support and treatment, many individuals are able to stop drinking and rebuild their lives.

With spring break coming up and all the vacationing that will be happening, students need to watch their backs and pay attention to what they are doing and drinking.

“Binge drinking is a big part of the spring break experience for many students and it’s what gets students into trouble the most,” Herskovits said. “The safest approach is to not binge drink. Binge drinking is defined as a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to .08 or above. This typically happens when females consume four or more drinks and males consume five or more drinks and to know your personal limits with alcohol.”

Students who take spring break as a time to party and hang out with friends without the added tension of schoolwork need to watch the amounts of alcohol they consume.

“Some people think about getting drunk every time they are with friends and to me that means something is wrong,” Gina Mulranen, junior math and secondary education major, said.

Too much alcohol could lead to bad things happening. Students should take responsibility for their actions and just be conscientious about their drinking decisions over spring break.

“I don’t want any of my friends or family to fall down the path of alcoholism. I personally don’t drink unless it is one drink with my dad or watching a sporting event. It concerns me a lot to see people who can’t have a good time without alcohol,” Mulranen said.

“At lower levels, alcohol causes lowered inhibitions and minor impairment in reasoning and memory. At higher levels, it causes depressant effects, impairment of balance, speech, vision, reactions and hearing; reduced judgment and self-control and very poor decision-making. It can cause complete mental confusion, blackouts, loss of consciousness and even death,” Herskovits said.

“If someone is an alcoholic, they should seek help immediately and realize their problem because many people deny it for a long time,” Jenna Chiavoroli, junior elementary education major, said.

“No one thinks they have an alcohol problem unless someone approaches them seriously about it. Friends need to watch out for their friends and approach them if they think something maybe wrong,” Mulranen said.

All students are encouraged to go to Cabrini’s Counseling Services, located in Grace Hall Room 196 to schedule a free and confidential assessment, or call 610-902-8561.

Students can speak with their doctor about their concerns or students can seek support through a group such as Alcoholics Anonymous.

Students should know their limits and be responsible, all the while having a fun and relaxing spring break.

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Christine Adolf

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