Mahaska Health Partnership Cautions on Alcohol Abuse
MAHASKA COUNTY- Alcohol is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. April is National Alcohol Awareness Month, Mahaska Health Partnership wants to share the signs and symptoms associated with alcohol abuse and treatment options available.
“Alcoholism is characterized by a prolonged period of frequent, heavy alcohol use,” said MHP Behavioral Health Services Therapist Allison Gilles. “People with this disease are unable to control their drinking once it has begun. Physical dependence is seen in withdrawal symptoms when the individual stops using alcohol. They develop a tolerance and continually need to use more and more alcohol to achieve the same effects. Sometimes a variety of social and/or legal problems can arise from their use of alcohol as well.”
“Alcohol, though it is legal for individuals 21 years of age and older, is a drug that people get addicted to every day,” shared Gilles. “Alcoholism is a chronic disease, but people can and do recover from it. The research and understanding surrounding it has greatly improved our treatment techniques and abilities to spot the warning signs early.
“People who abuse alcohol have a tendency to not fulfill responsibilities at home and work,” continued Gilles. “They may put themselves in dangerous situations, such as drinking and driving or making high risk decisions why under the influence.”
Gilles went on to warn of the health risks associated with consuming too much alcohol after one night or over an extended period of time. “Almost every part of your body can be affected in some way from drinking too much. Your coordination and clarity of thought decrease. Your risk of stroke, high blood pressure and cirrhosis of the liver increase. Even your risk of cancer of the mouth, esophagus, throat, liver and breast is greater than a non-alcoholic. Your immune system is weakened, so your risk for a wide variety of common diseases increases as well.
“The key is awareness,” Gilles stressed. “If you think you have a problem, making an appointment with a Behavioral Health counselor is the first step. The faster you address the issue, the quicker it can be resolved.”
Allison Gilles, IADC, is a certified alcohol and drug counselor at MHP. To schedule an appointment, call 641.672.3159.
Mahaska Health Partnership, located in Oskaloosa, is a non-profit health system accredited by the Joint Commission. It is guided by its mission to provide exceptional customer service and health improvement, linking the science of medicine with the humanity of compassionate care. For more information about how Mahaska Health Partnership is making healthcare personal, visit www.mahaskahealth.org.