Alcohol, the beverage form known as the ethyl alcohol, is a distilled chemical compound added to fermented fruit and grains. Scientifically, it is classified as a depressant drug, meaning it slows down vital organs and bodily function. Someone who has consumed a lot of alcohol (“drunk”) may experience impaired judgment, loss of coordination, and confused speech. People commonly drink alcohol to celebrate or relax. Though in excess, it can be unpleasant and harmful long term, the effects depend on the volume consumed and person’s body tolerance. Many people can drink a few beers at a party and be relatively fine, but it can be addictive, and some are genetically predisposed to alcoholism. Whether your decision to drink is a personal choice, but there are inherent dangers, particularly with drinking and driving, drinking underage, and binge drinking.
Alcohol Abuse... The Facts
With alcohol abuse, a person is not yet physically dependent on alcohol but still has a serious drinking problem.Symptoms include a failure to fulfill major work, school, or home responsibilities, legal or social problems, or drinking in situations that are dangerous, such as while driving. Treatment may include support groups, counseling, or medications to prevent relapse.
More than 10 percent of U.S. children live with a parent with alcohol problems.
In 2012, 3.3 million deaths, or 5.9 percent of all global deaths were attributable to alcohol consumption.
In 2010, alcohol misuse cost the United States $249 billion.
In 2013, of the 72,559 liver disease deaths among individuals ages 12 and older, 45.8 percent involved alcohol.
Death Rate 50%
Although alcoholism is more than twice as common among men than women, men have up to a 50% lower death rate.
Death Rate 100%
Women alcoholics have a higher percentage of death due to alcohol-related injuries, suicides, and circulatory disorders.
Abuse & Dependance
Alcohol abuse can nebulously be defined as having maladaptive or unhealthy drinking behavior. This could include drinking too much at a single moment in time, or continuing to drink every day. Most alcohol abusers know that what they are doing is detrimental to their daily lives, but are unable to easily discontinue the behavior. Being aware of warning signs of alcohol abuse will make it easier to obtain help for yourself or a loved one who may be struggling from subtance abuse.
Consumption of alcohol in larger quantities or binging for longer periods of time.
Dedicating unhealthy amount of time and energy to obtain and drink alochol.
User will experience one or more withdrawl symptoms when not using; dizziness, shakes, nausea etc.
Overdosing on alcohol can lead to alcohol poisoning. Symptoms include confusion, vomiting, seizures, loss of consciousness etc.
Having a parent or grandparent who suffered from addiction increases the likelihood of the trait being passed down through genetics.
There is evidence that around 90% of alcoholics are likely to relapse within 4 years.
Driving while under the influence of alcohol is illegal and highly dangerous. As previously mentioned, alcohol impairs cognitive ability, motor skills, reaction times, and memory. Without being in the right mindset, it is never safe to drink. Alcohol can boost confidence and fool you into thinking you can drive. Any level of it can induce drowsiness leading you to fall asleep at the wheel. In every state, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content volume of .08%, but often people are unaware of their limit. The statistics behind drinking and driving related accidents are frightening. According to the CDC, driving under the influence causes 16% of all car accidents across the nation. In fact, every day 28 people die a day from drunk driving. That’s means you have a 1 in 3 chance of being affected in your lifetime!
Whether you’re seeking treatment for yourself, a loved one or as a referring physician, we are always available to answer your questions and help connect you with the resources you need.
Binge Drinking - Harmful Blackouts
Binge drinking is defined as consuming large quantities of alcohol in one session, usually 5 or more drinks for a man and 4 or more for a woman. The CDC estimates that about 40% of Americans admit to binge drinking, 90% of this population being underage. This chronic behavior of this kind can lead to permanent brain, liver, and kidney failure and many forms of cancer. This sudden and heavy consumption can induce a coma, “blackout” memory loss, diarrhea, vomiting, and death by alcohol poisoning, a stroke, and shallow breathing. As the body consumes excessive about of alcohol, the liver tries to flush it out but cannot react in time when binge drinking. Unsafe levels of ammonia and manganese enter the brain and create hepatic encephalopathy, resulting in constant personality and mood changes, ongoing psychological conditions, and immediate loss of consciousness. From habitual binge drinking, the pancreas, normally responsible for processing food, gets confused and actually begins to eat itself, leading to diabetes, many forms of cancer, and eventual death directly. Preexisting heart and stomach conditions can worsen the effects of binge drinking.
Heightened Abuse - Mixing Alcohol with Other Drugs
Wild partying commonly mixes alcohol with other drugs, particularly cocaine. One study found that 12% of all alcohol dependents were also heavy users of illicit drugs. Many falsely believe this somehow lowers the dangerous effects of the drugs, but actually, it increases the likelihood of an overdose dramatically. Because combining cocaine and alcohol creates opposing effects, a rush of adrenaline and depressed body functions, the results range and can be very unpredictable This combination is perilous and can lead to immediate death due to heart attacks, respiratory problems, and violent behaviors. Many addicts also combine alcohol with prescription medications, like opioid based painkillers, or marijuana. Joined with these drugs you are likely to experience much higher levels of loss of bodily control and numbness.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Treatment plans for alcoholism vary, but it is never effective to try quitting on your own. Talk with your doctor regarding the best recovery plan with your physical conditions, who may recommend a kind of inpatient or rehabilitation center. These facilities will provide 24/7 medical attention and proper dietary plans to detox the substance fully. This close monitoring by doctors and nurses may be needed to manage the withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal Symptoms May Include:
Intense bouts of depression and anxiety
Chest pain and general heart problems
In some cases, seizures, and hallucinations
Seek Help Immediately if you notice any of these signs:
You have no control or willpower to stop drinking
You drink in risky situations, such as driving, at work or school, or operating machinery
Your drink interferes with your ability to care for yourself properly, such as disregarding hygiene and appearance, a healthy diet, and sleep cycle.
You need to drink more alcohol more frequently to get the same effect
Your drinking habits harm your relationships with loved ones
You physically get sick often from drinking
You feel guilty about drinking and try to hide buying alcohol
You have experienced legal problems caused by too much drinking
Take The First Step
Many people already suffering from depression, bipolar, and anxiety disorders may seek alcohol as a way to relax and escape, but the damage caused by alcoholism only multiplies and complicates the problems. If you know someone is an alcoholic, don’t preach or talk down to them. Instead, give them positive attention while being honest about their need for recovery.