Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Use, Abuse, Addiction and Facts
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Alcohol is a drug that’s available to anyone over the age of 21 in the US (18 in some states); however, many minors also abuse it.
Alcohol comes in many forms, from hard liquor – which contains more alcohol by volume to wine and beer. It is usually consumed via drinking.
Having a glass of wine or two with dinner is a common thing in America; in fact, doctors even recommend it for health benefits. But having a drink a few times a week is different than having few too many drinks almost every night. Some people abuse alcohol by binge drinking every weekend. Others become addicted and have to consume it almost every day.
Some people addicted to alcohol drink alcohol throughout the day. Many people who drink abuse other drugs as well.
Although other drugs have gained popularity in recent years (particularly prescription drugs), alcohol is by far the most common drug of addiction for those enteri
What Are the Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse?
Somebody who has been drinking heavily may slur their words, lose consciousness, get sick (vomit) from alcohol poisoning, and have trouble with coordination/reaction times. A person who has been drinking to excess will often smell of alcohol, too. They may have periods where they black out and forget what happened while drinking.
If you are concerned about someone, things to look out for include:
- moodiness and irritability
- the person creates excuses to drink
- cancels or misses activities that they are scheduled to do (incl work and leisure activities)
- the person seems to set limits then steps over those limits
How Much Is Too Much When It Comes to Drinking Alcohol?
A person who drinks one or two servings of alcohol a day isn’t likely to develop any problems or addiction to alcohol. Moderate drinkers don’t usually suffer from negative consequences when they drink a glass of wine or two.
For the record, one serving of alcohol means:
- One four-ounce glass of wine
- One 12-ounce can of beer or
- One 1.5-ounce shot of a distilled spirit.
There is no “minimum requirement” for someone to “officially” have a problem with alcohol. Some counselors have been known to say that “continued drinking in the face of negative consequences resulting from the drinking” is a good benchmark to know if someone is a problem drinker.
Additionally, not all problem drinkers are alcoholics either. Although there is an imaginary line with regard to the alcoholic designation, usually someone who continues drinking in light of negative consequences and also exhibits physical symptoms when the alcohol is removed from their system (ie shakiness, illness) can be considered an alcoholic.
Signs and Symptoms of Full Blown Alcoholism
Alcohol addiction can have devastating consequences for the family and the individual who is addicted. Daytime drinking can lead to job losses. Many alcoholics suffer from accidents while drinking such as falls. Many heavy drinkers also suffer hangovers and blackouts where they don’t remember their night of drinking. Some end up in jail after getting caught driving under the influence or being drunk in public.
Alcohol is considered one of the top contributors to domestic violence. Some people who are addicted to alcohol may act completely different when they are sober. These are all signs that a person has a drinking problem.
What Are the Long-Term Effects and Dangers of Alcohol Abuse?
When you abuse alcohol or binge drink, you’re consuming more alcohol than the body can handle. Over a period of time, this can lead to long-term health problems, such as liver damage. Binge drinking can also lead to alcohol addiction. When a person is addicted to alcohol, they’re both physically and psychologically dependent on alcohol. An alcoholic may be unable to imagine life without drinking. They may try to control their habit. They may try to hide their drinking or stash liquor around the house. Secretive activity is a great indicator of someone having a problem with alcohol.
When a person under the influence “blacks out” they won’t remember what they are doing or saying. This is just one dangerous effect of alcohol poisoning. Some people drink so much alcohol that their body goes into shock and start to shut down. They pass out and their lungs slow. This is a symptom of alcohol poising that can kill you.
Alcohol Dependence, Hope and Recovery
If your drinking is causing negative consequences and you’re having trouble when you try to stop, your chances of long term sobriety go up exponentially when you seek treatment at an inpatient recovery program. Alcohol dependence, or alcoholism, occurs when the body cannot function without alcohol. Once a person has become addicted to alcohol, they will continue to drink, even if he or she suffers serious health, legal, or financial consequences. If a person addicted to alcohol tries to quit “cold turkey”, there is a danger of serious side effects that could cause seizures, hallucinations, and other grave health consequences. Dependency on alcohol is dangerous and any attempt to withdraw from it should be supervised in the care of professionals. They will help your withdrawal be as comfortable and safe as possible.
Although alcohol abuse and addiction is widespread, there is much hope for the recovering alcoholic to grasp onto. Many people who felt like they were hopelessly addicted have managed to live a rewarding, and sober, lifestyle. Many recovering alcoholics go on to do great things.
If you think you may have a problem with alcohol, and you’re looking to find a way out, please contact us. The first step – reaching out and admitting you have a problem — is always the hardest. You deserve the hope and peace that comes with recovery. You deserve to live a rewarding life without the shame and pain of addiction. Call us today to start reclaiming your life.