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Learning About Alcohol Misuse

What is alcohol misuse?

Alcohol misuse means drinking so much that it causes problems for you or others.

Early problems with alcohol can start at home. You may argue with loved ones about how much you're drinking. Your job may be affected because of drinking. You may drink when it's dangerous or illegal, such as when you drive.

Drinking too much for a long time can lead to health conditions like high blood pressure and liver problems.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of alcohol misuse may include:

  • Drinking much more than you planned.
  • Drinking even though it's causing problems for you or others.
  • Putting yourself in situations where you might get hurt.
  • Wanting to cut down or stop drinking, but not being able to.
  • Feeling guilty about how much you're drinking.

How is alcohol misuse treated?

Getting help for problems with alcohol is up to you. But you don't have to do it alone. There are many people and kinds of treatments to help with alcohol problems.

Talking to your doctor is the first step. When you get a doctor's help, treatment for alcohol problems can be safer and quicker.

Treatment options can include:

  • Treatment programs. Examples are group therapy, one or more types of counselling, and alcohol education.
  • Medicines. A doctor or counsellor can help you know what kinds of medicines might help with cravings.
  • Free social support groups. These groups include AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and SMART Recovery (Self-Management and Recovery Training).

Your doctor can help you decide which type of program is best for you.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Where can you learn more?

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