August 20, 2007
When To Call A Professional
Get help if you or someone you love has an alcohol-related problem. Alcoholism is an illness that can be treated.
If you have an alcohol dependency problem and have decided to stop drinking, call your doctor for help. Your doctor can advise you and can prescribe medicines to make withdrawal symptoms more tolerable if they occur. Your doctor can also put you in touch with local resources that will help you to stay alcohol free.
Alcohol withdrawal is common, but delirium tremens only occurs in 5% of people who have alcohol withdrawal. Delirium tremens is dangerous, killing as many as 1 out of every 20 people who develop its symptoms.
After withdrawal is complete, it is essential that you not begin drinking again. Alcohol treatment programs are important because they improve your chances of successfully staying off of alcohol. Only about 20% of alcoholics are able to abstain from alcohol permanently without the help of formal treatment or self-help programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Of people who attend AA, 44% of those who remain free of alcohol for one year probably will remain abstinent for another year. This figure increases to 91% for those who have remained abstinent and have attended AA for 5 years or more.
On average, an alcoholic who doesn’t stop drinking can expect to decrease his or her life expectancy by at least 15 years.