Jean Hogan, RN
Department of Nursing, Orthopaedic Nursing Division, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed
First Published: May 1994
Last Revised: January 2005
If alcohol and drugs have been your tour guide, maybe it is time for a change.
Alcohol or drug addiction are life threatening diseases. Alcohol related crashes killed 17,013 Americans in 2003. An additional 600,000 were seriously injured. Alcohol related crashes in the United States cost the public an estimated $114.3 billion in 2000.
Alcoholism and drug addiction are chronic, progressive illnesses displaying certain symptoms in the early, middle and late stages of addiction. Alcoholism and drug addiction are treatable.
If you think alcohol or drug use is one of the causes of your stay here in the hospital, we encourage you to answer the following questions:
Many people who answer yes to four or more of these questions realize they have a problem. There is no cure for alcoholism (addiction). It is treatable. If drinking (drug use) continues, the results are accurately predictable.
- Have you ever decided to stop drinking (using drugs) for a week or so but only lasted for a couple of days?
- Do you wish people would mind their own business about your drinking (use of drugs) - stop telling you what to do?
- Have you ever switched from one kind of drink (drug) in the hope that this would keep you from getting drunk?
- Have you ever had an "eye-opener" upon awakening during the past year?
- Do you envy people who can drink (use drugs) without getting into trouble?
- Have you had problems connected with drinking (using drugs) during the past year? Be honest! Experts say that if you have a problem with alcohol or drugs and continue using, it will get worse - never better. Eventually, death or institutionalization may result. The only hope is to stop!
- Has your drinking (drug use) caused trouble at home?
- Do you ever try to get "extra" drinks (drugs) at a party because you do not get enough?
- Do you tell yourself you can stop drinking (using drugs) any time you want to, even though you keep getting drunk (high) when you don't mean to?
- Have you missed days of work or school because of drinking (using drugs)?
- Do you have "blackouts?" A blackout is when a person loses a period of time while drinking or using drugs.
- Have you ever felt that your life would be better if you did not drink (use drugs)?
Treatment options include:
- Inpatient treatment at a hospital or treatment center. This may include a 30-day stay.
- Outpatient treatment. This can be arranged around work hours if needed. Length of treatment varies with individual.
- Attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings. This is most often effective if in combination with one of the first two options. Local AA Intergroup can be reached at 338-9111 for a meeting schedule. This hospital offers an open AA meeting on Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday evenings at 7 p.m.
- Iowa Substance Abuse Information Center can give you information on assistance in your local area. Call 1-800-247-0614 for information for your area. Hours are Monday- Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- A professional addiction counselor can help plan the treatment best for you.
- Al-Anon is a support group for family and friends. Check with your local AA chapter for further information. 319-341-7068 for Iowa City area.
- An RN and/or counselor from The Chemical Dependency Center or 5BT is available to talk with you about options and give you information for outpatient treatment here at UIHC.
Alcoholism is considered a disease. It has a pattern of identifiable symptoms that will gradually get worse and will lead to an early death unless treated.
Alcoholism is thought of as a family disease because it affects everyone in the family. Treatment centers often request that the family participate in counseling to help themselves and provide support for their recovering family member.
Treatment is only a beginning. Recovery is a lifelong process characterized by periods of growth and sometimes relapse. It is not a sign of failure on the part of the client or counselor if relapse occurs. It is not unusual for people to require treatment more than once in their lifetime.
We hope you have learned more about alcohol/drug addiction. If you're looking for a change and think alcohol (drugs) is a problem, we will assist you in getting the right help.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
Mecca - Substance Abuse Services Mid-Eastern Council
Alcohol and Drugs Can Be Quite a Trip! If alcohol and drugs have been your tour guide, maybe it is time for a change.