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Beware of Alcohol Excess

Beware of Alcohol Excess

There was a time when being plotzed was considered funny. Do you remember the comedian Foster Brooks and Dean Martin? Foster, slurring every word: “Have you ever been in Schenectady?” Martin: “No.” Foster: “Neither was I. It must have been a couple of other guys.”

Those days are long-gone. But Americans’ inclination to drink too much has never been greater! According to a recent report from the CDC more than 30,700 Americans died last year from alcohol-induced causes, such as alcohol poisoning and cirrhosis. If drinking-related homicides and accidents were included, the number might hit 90,000!

That toll is greater than deaths related to heroin or pain pills combined, so it could be considered our most serious addiction. And because excess alcohol can raise body-wide inflammation it can also trigger heart attack and stroke, lead to cancer, damage the brain, plus devastate relationships with loved ones. But because it’s legal, folks may not recognize their own (or a loved one’s) over-indulgence for the health crisis it is.

So, as we focus on the best ways to counter addiction, we want to make sure to offer help to those who need to gain control over dependence on alcohol. Alcoholism is not something to be ashamed of -- any more than you would feel ashamed for having Parkinson’s or psoriasis. It’s a treatable disease you can overcome with a combination of 12-step programs, specific medications and counseling. Check out information at doctoroz.com and Clevelandclinic.com’s center for behavioral health. And then help someone to get to, and celebrate, recovery.

Medically reviewed in February 2018.

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