User uShare Login | Register
Login
Register

Along with posting photos, videos, and stories, your uShare account lets you post Classified Ads, recipes on What's For Dinner, and Announcements.


70° View Weather Current Conditions Sioux Falls Change Location
Set Weather Options

RADAR LOCATION

TEMPERATURE LOCATION

Share your Photos, Videos, and Stories on uShare! Click here to get started.

News

[0] My Saved Articles
Back to all news

Healthbeat

Find local businesses
on the KELO Pages!

 

Alcohol Addiction As A Disease

September 14, 2012, 6:08 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Alcohol Addiction As A Disease
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Many people may not view alcohol addiction as a disease, but the American Medical Association has recognized it as one for more than 50 years. It's also one of the most deadly.

Joan Swenson now works at TLC Tallgrass, an alcohol rehab and addiction treatment center. It's a job she loves because of the issue at the heart of the facility hits close to her heart.

"I was drinking vodka out of a water bottle," Swenson said.

"The last four to five years of my drinking I drank all the time, like every day all day long," Swenson said.

Swenson first started drinking on the weekends when she was 21.  But around ten years ago, she started to notice she had a problem.

"When my mom got sick and died with cancer, it continued to get progressively worse," Swenson said.

Before getting help at Tallgrass, Swenson tried a couple of outpatient treatment centers and a different inpatient center. Her addiction dramatically impacted her family life, but Swenson says it was difficult to quit.

"For whatever reason it crossed a line. I didn't have a choice that I was going to become a daily drinker. I never wanted to wake up and say, 'look at what I've done to everybody'. This is great, no more than my mom did with colon cancer," Swenson said.

"It's critical because if we approached it like we approached abdominal pain, we would go get help right away," Avera McKennan Regional President Dr. Dave Kapaska said.

About 80 percent of the people who come to legitimate treatment centers for help have a genetic family history within two generations. That's just one of the reasons why alcohol addiction is viewed as a disease.

"Without a doubt there are changes to the neurotransmitters, the chemistry of the brain, when somebody is addicted. You can illustrate that. You can demonstrate that," Dr. Luther Hegland said.

Meanwhile Swenson has not had a drink in five years. She's thankful she got the help she needed but hopes the community realizes that alcohol addiction is a disease and that others get help before it's too late.

"If you had cancer, we wouldn't be debating this. You would not be telling yourself this is not that big of a deal because you're going to die from it one way or another," Swenson said.

On Monday night, people from all walks of life will share their stories of recovery with you during an hour-long prime time special.  The KELOLAND News Special Report begins at 7 p.m. on KELOLAND TV.  Join us as we "Face It Together."

Previous Story

Next Story


Comments







 
Find Local Businesses on KELO Pages!

View healthbeat

You may also like

Local Doctors Create Headache Treatment

4/15/2014 6:22 PM

Millions of Americans suffer from chronic, severe headaches on a regular basis.  Local doctors have now teamed up to create technology to diagnos...

Full Story | Watch
Increase In Whooping Cough & STDs In SD

4/17/2014 10:41 AM

The number of whooping cough cases appears to be on the rise in South Dakota.

Full Story
OB Care In Small Towns

4/16/2014 6:39 PM

While a growing number of doctors at small-town hospitals are no longer able to deliver babies, Sioux Center Health is building a new birthing center.

Full Story | Watch
Increase In Child Abuse Reports

4/17/2014 6:23 PM

A KELOLAND mom is spreading awareness about child abuse after her son suffered from shaken baby syndrome.

Full Story | Watch
Testing For Allergies That Affect Eyes

4/14/2014 6:13 PM

If your eyes are itchy and watery lately, you could already be battling spring allergies.  But it can be difficult to tell whether you're suf...

Full Story | Watch


Events

 
 
KELOLAND TV: 501 S. Phillips Avenue, Sioux Falls, SD 57104
Phone: 605.336.1100 · Breaking News call: 1-800-888-5356
Web Site Design and Custom Programming By: Lawrence & Schiller© 2014 KELO-TV -- KELOLAND.COM -- ALL RIGHTS RESERVED