Alcoholism Gets Oklahoma Drinkers into Legal Trouble

Alcoholism can lead people to neglect responsibilities. An Oklahoma City teacher was arrested Aug. 4 for public drunkenness during her first week back at school. A school official told police that science teacher Rebecca Daniels had been sitting in her car after class had started, and when Daniels got out of her car, she appeared uneasy on her feet. She later allegedly admitted to the school’s principal that day that she had been drinking.

Alcoholism is defined as a physical and mental dependence upon alcohol. According to the National Institute of Health, alcoholism can only be determined after several factors are examined. These include the average amount drank in the course of a day or week, the inability to quit drinking, and the presence of cravings and other indicators of withdrawal when the drinker attempts to quit.

What is Addiction and How does it Form?

A distinction must be drawn between the abuse of and addiction to alcohol. The alcohol abuser only becomes an addict after he has developed a habit of drinking heavily on a regular basis. The presence of alcohol in the user’s body affects the brain’s neurotransmitters, slowing down the signals sent between them. As drinking occurs over a prolonged period of time, the brain adjusts to its effects, and the drinker develops a dependence.

Is it Alcohol Abuse the Same as Addiction?

If you’re worried about alcoholism, problem drinking or alcohol dependence, it’s important to be on the lookout for some of the signs and symptoms. Keep in mind that the signs for teenagers and children are different than those for adults. For adults, some of the most common signs of addiction and dependency include:

  • Needing increasing amounts to achieve the same effects, or simply to achieve a sense of normalcy and calm
  • An inability to stop drinking, despite a desire to do so, or despite the repercussions drinking is having on your life
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking, including anxiety, nervousness, sweating, shaking, headache and nausea
  • Giving up other activities or missing out on things you would normally enjoy because of your drinking or being drunk
  • Feelings of guilt or shame, including hiding your drinking, drinking alone, or purchasing your alcohol at different stores so you aren’t recognized or to hide the actual amount of alcohol you are consuming

Alcoholism is difficult to deal with, but groups like Alcoholics Anonymous ( can help. Go to a local meeting to speak with recovering drinkers and form lasting bonds.

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