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Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in
Chicago, Illinois and Northfield, Illinois.

You can contact Dr. Frisch, Psy.D. at drfrisch@aliveandwellnews.com  or at
(847) 604-3290.

Recover from chemical dependency as well as  its toxic impact on family members. Raise your children to choose to be alcohol and other drugs free. Learn how to in Dr. Frisch’s, Psy.D. Recovery book series.

Facts About...

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. It affects virtually every organ in the body and chronic use can lead to numerous preventable diseases, including alcoholism.

Alcohol depresses your central nervous system, lowers your inhibitions, and impairs your judgment. Because alcohol lowers inhibitions and impairs judgment, consuming alcohol can lead to risky behaviors, including practicing unprotected sex. This can lead to acquiring HIV/AIDS as well as other sexually transmitted diseases, and unwanted pregnancy. Alcohol also hinders coordination, slows reaction time, dulls senses, and blocks memory functions. The relationship between alcohol and motor vehicle crashes is widely acknowledged.

Drinking alcohol leads to a loss of coordination, poor judgment, slowed reflexes, distorted vision, memory lapses, and even blackouts.

Alcohol can damage every organ in your body. It is absorbed directly into your bloodstream and can increase your risk for a variety of life-threatening diseases, including cancer.

If you’re around people who are drinking, you have an increased risk of being seriously injured, involved in car crashes, or affected by violence. At the very least, you may have to deal with people who are sick, out of control, or unable to take care of themselves.

Alcohol and other drug problems affect people of every age, sex, race, marital status, place of residence, income level, or lifestyle. Alcohol abuse is a pattern of problem drinking that results in health consequences, social, problems, or both. However, alcohol dependence, or alcoholism, refers to a disease that is characterized by abnormal alcohol-seeking behavior that leads to impaired control over drinking.

Alcoholism is a disease—just like diabetes or high blood pressure. But having the disease is nothing to be ashamed of. Many teens have determined that they are alcoholics and are getting help through Alcoholics Anonymous.

You can get help for yourself or for a friend or loved one from numerous national, State, and local organizations, treatment centers, referral centers, and hotlines throughout the country. There are various kinds of treatment services and centers. For example, some may involve outpatient counseling, while others may be 3- to 5-week-long inpatient programs.

While you or your friend or loved one may be hesitant to seek help, know that treatment programs offer organized and structured services with individual, group, and family therapy for people with alcohol and drug abuse problems. Research shows that when appropriate treatment is given, and when clients follow their prescribed program, treatment can work. By reducing alcohol and/or drug abuse, treatment reduces costs to society in terms of medical care, law enforcement, and crime. More importantly, treatment can help keep you and your loved ones together.

Pathfinder’s Checklist
How alcohol affects you.

1.) Alcohol affects your body.
2.) Alcohol affects your brain.
3.) Alcohol affects your self-control.
4.) Alcohol can kill you.
5.) Alcohol can hurt you—even if you're not the one drinking.

Pathfinder’s Checklist
Short-term affects of alcohol consumption

1.) Alcohol blocks the messages going to your brain and alters your perceptions and emotions, vision, hearing, and coordination.
2.) Alcohol goes directly into the bloodstream which is why it has effects on every system in the body.
3.) Distorted vision, hearing, and coordination 
4.) Altered perceptions and emotions”
5.) Impaired judgment
6.) Bad breath; hangovers

Pathfinder’s Checklist
Long-term affects of heavy alcohol consumption

1.) Loss of appetite
2.) Vitamin deficiencies
3.) Stomach ailments
4.) Skin problems
5.) Sexual impotence
6.) Liver damage such as cirrhosis and cancer of the liver
7.) Heart and central nervous system damage
8.) Memory loss

Pathfinder’s Checklist
How to tell if you or someone close to you has a drinking problem.

1.) Inability to control drinking—it seems that regardless of what you decide beforehand, you frequently wind up drunk
2.) You use alcohol to escape problems
3.) You experience a change in personality when drinking—turning from Dr. Jekyl to Mr. Hyde
4.) You experience increased tolerance for alcohol level—drinking just about everybody under the table
5.) You experience blackouts—sometimes not remembering what happened while drinking
6.) Problems at work or in school as a result of drinking
7.) Concern shown by family and friends about drinking
8.) You believe that in order to have fun you need to consume alcohol and other drugs.
9.) You turn to alcohol and/or drugs after a confrontation or argument, or to relieve uncomfortable feelings.
10.) You drink and/or use drugs alone.
11.) Lying about how much alcohol you’re using.
12.) You have trouble at work, school, or even get in trouble with the law because of your drinking or drug use.
13.) You make promises to yourself or others that you'll stop getting drunk or using drugs.
14.) You feel alone, run-down, scared, miserable, depressed, or even suicidal.
15.) Getting drunk on a regular basis.

Pathfinder’s Checklist
Common referral sources that are often listed in the phone book.

1.) Community Drug Hotlines
2.) Local Emergency Health Clinics, or Community Treatment Services
3.) City/Local Health Departments
4.) Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or Al-Anon/Alateen

Pathfinder’s Checklist
Quick facts about alcohol.

1.) Know the law—Alcohol is illegal to buy or possess if you are under 21.
2.) Get the facts right—One 12-ounce beer has as much alcohol as a 1.5-ounce shot of whiskey or a 5-ounce glass of wine.
3.) Stay informed—Wine coolers look like juice sparklers but they have just as much alcohol as a 12-ounce beer. One glass of clear malt can give a teenager a .02 on a breathalyzer test. In some States that amount is enough for anyone under the age of 21 to lose his/her driver's license and be subject to a fine.
4.) Be aware of the risks—Drinking increases the risk of injury. Car crashes, falls, burns, drowning, and suicide are all linked to alcohol and other drug use.
5.) Keep your edge—Alcohol can ruin your looks, give you bad breath, and make you gain weight.
6.) Play it safe—Drinking can lead to intoxication and even death.
7.) Do the smart thing—Drinking puts your health, education, family ties, and social life at risk.
8.) Be a real friend—If you know someone with a drinking problem, be part of the solution. Urge your friend to get help.
9.) Remain alert—Stay clear on claims that alcohol means glamour and adventure. Stay clear on what's real and what's illusion.
10.) Sweep away the myths—Having a designated driver is no excuse to drink. Drinking only at home, or sticking only to beer does not make drinking any safer.

Pathfinder’s Checklist         
What you should know about alcohol.

1.) Know the law—It is illegal to buy or possess alcohol if you are under 21.
2.) Get the facts—One drink can make you fail a breath test. In some states, people under the age of 21 who are found to have any amount of alcohol in their systems can lose their driver's license, be subject to a heavy fine, or have their car permanently taken away.
3.) Stay informed—Binge drinking means having five or more drinks on one occasion. About 15 percent of teens are binge drinkers in any given month.
4.) Know the risks—Mixing alcohol with medications or illicit drugs is extremely dangerous and can lead to accidental death. For example, alcohol-medication interactions may be a factor in at least 25 percent of emergency room admissions.
5.) Keep your edge—Alcohol can make you gain weight and give you bad breath.
6.) Look around you—Most teens aren't drinking alcohol. Research shows that 70 percent of people 12-20 haven't had a drink in the past month.

Frequently Asked Questions About Alcohol

Q. Aren't beer and wine "safer" than liquor?
A. No. One 12-ounce beer has about as much alcohol as a 1.5-ounce shot of liquor, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or a wine cooler.

Q. Why can't teens drink if their parents can?
A. Teens' bodies are still developing and alcohol has a greater impact on their physical and mental well-being. For example, people who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who begin at age 21.

Q. How can I say no to alcohol? I'm afraid I won't fit in.
A. Remember, you're in good company. The majority of teens don't drink alcohol. Also, it's not as hard to refuse as you might think. Try: "No thanks," "I don't drink," or "I'm not interested."



Recover from chemical dependency as well as  its toxic impact on family members. Raise your children to choose to be alcohol and other drugs free. Learn how to in Dr. Frisch’s, Psy.D. Recovery book series—From Insanity to Serenity.

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