Alcohol Awareness Month - A Time to Learn More About the Disease of Alcoholism

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It is a common misconception that alcoholism is a sign of weak will. In fact, alcohol abuse is recognized as a chronic disease that, like other chronic illnesses, can follow a progressive downhill course without appropriate treatment. Lexington Center for Recovery (LCR), one of the largest providers of alcoholism and substance abuse treatment in New York's Hudson Valley, encourages people to learn more about the dangers of alcohol use and abuse and to seek help when needed - during Alcohol Awareness Month this April - and year-round.

It is a common misconception that alcoholism is a sign of weak will. In fact, alcohol abuse is recognized as a chronic disease that, like other chronic illnesses, can follow a progressive downhill course without appropriate treatment.

Lexington Center for Recovery (LCR), one of the largest providers of alcoholism and substance abuse treatment in New York's Hudson Valley, encourages people to learn more about the dangers of alcohol use and abuse and to seek help when needed - during Alcohol Awareness Month this April - and year-round.

According to the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), there are an estimated 80,800 adults aged 18 and over (about 7% of the population) with an alcohol dependency problem in New York's Dutchess, Rockland and Westchester counties. (Source: NY State OASAS; Rockland, Dutchess and Westchester County Service Need Profiles, September 2008)

How can a person tell when social drinking has developed into alcohol abuse? Signs of problem drinking include drinking to improve mood or to cope with stress; lying about drinking habits; feeling guilty about alcohol use; needing to consume greater amounts for the same effect; and medical, social, or financial complications arising from chronic alcohol use.

As the disease of alcohol abuse progresses, it can cause mental and physical damage, as well as early death. The immediate effects of alcohol on the body, like dehydration, task impairment, loss of coordination and loosening of inhibitions, wear off over time. The long-term effects like ulcers, inflammation of the stomach, cancers, liver cirrhosis, brain damage, hypertension, and nerve disorders become worse with chronic drinking and contribute to multiple serious health problems associated with alcoholism.

"As with other chronic illnesses, alcohol abuse is treatable, and people who abuse alcohol can recover," said Adrienne Marcus, Ph.D., executive director and founder of LCR. "Alcohol Awareness Month is an ideal time to take the proactive steps needed to break the alcohol cycle and treat the underlying illness."

LCR's administrative headquarters is located at 116 Radio Circle, Mt. Kisco, NY. Westchester County clinics and programs are located in Mount Kisco, NY; New Rochelle, NY; Yonkers, NY; White Plains, NY; and Peekskill, NY. The agency's Dutchess County clinics are located in Poughkeepsie and Beacon, NY. Rockland County treatment facilities are located in Airmont Haverstraw. For additional information, call 914.666.0191 x1006 or visit http://www.lexingtonctr.org.

About LCR: Lexington Center for Recovery is one of the largest providers of alcoholism and substance abuse treatment in the Hudson Valley. It has treated approximately 40,000 people in its 26-year history and has 18 distinct programs throughout Westchester, Dutchess and Rockland counties. A vital community resource, LCR eliminates barriers to entry and success in an alcohol and substance abuse recovery program by providing support services to clients and their families. Its innovative programs are affordable and aimed at different needs and ages. LCR is licensed by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.

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Lauren B. Kaufman
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