In the United States alone, there were an estimated 16.3 million people who were diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder (AUD) in the year 2014.
Why Do People Abuse Alcohol?
Alcohol can be used to forget about a stressful day at the office or with the kids. Other people use alcohol due to traumatic events or when grieving a loss. Still others use alcohol to cope with the symptoms of a mental health disorder. Unfortunately, the prolonged use of alcohol to deal with any of these issues can result in addiction.
Long-Term Effects of Alcohol
Many people do not clearly understand the devastating effects of long-term alcohol use.
It has been estimated that 88,000 people die from alcohol use per year.
Not only are there devastating physical complications from alcohol use, there are numerous other negative impacts. People who abuse alcohol find it difficult to maintain their daily lives and carry on meaningful relationships.
What is Alcohol?
Alcohol is a depressant. Although many people feel like alcohol helps them loosen up and have more fun in social settings, it is not a stimulant. Alcohol affects the central nervous system by slowing it down. Furthermore, alcohol impairs a person’s judgment and can result in negative or risky behaviors. Some risky behaviors that people may indulge in include unplanned sexual behavior and driving while under the influence.
If you or a loved one need help with an alcohol addiction Contact RehabInfo.com today at
One often-abused type of alcohol is beer. In most cases, beer is made from the fermentation of barley and other grain types. Generally, the manufacturer adds hops to the liquid to increase flavor and to act as a preserving agent. A 12-ounce beer is the typical serving. When compared to other types of alcoholic beverages, beer has the least alcohol content with 5% in a single serving.
A few beers spaced throughout a week will have limited impact on a person. On the other hand, dependence on alcohol and frequent consumption can lead to serious health problems. Cirrhosis of the liver is one of those negative health problems.
The next type of alcohol that typically gets abused is wine. Like beer, a few glasses of wine during an entire week should not have a negative effect on your health. In fact, some research indicates that a glass of wine per day can be good for your health. Wine is made from fermented grapes. In many instances, wine is paired with certain types of foods and consumed during social events.
A glass of wine is smaller than a glass of beer. Frequently, a serving of wine is 5 ounces. However, the amount of alcohol in wine is higher than in beer. The alcohol content in wine is 12%. As with beer, a person can become dependent on wine with frequent use.
Identifying a problem with wine or other alcoholic drinks is sometimes obvious and at other times not so obvious. Some people can hide their alcoholism better than others. There are a number of warning signs one can look for and our friends over at Alcohol.org have written a good article on these signs. Sometimes the alcohol related problems are so destructive that it requires alcohol rehabs to address it. At these facilities, detoxing is something that will be implemented.
Even though many people consider drinking wine less serious than drinking hard liquor,
People are just as susceptible to alcohol in this form as in any other.
The last type of alcohol that often leads to an alcohol use disorder is hard liquor. In comparison to beer and wine, hard liquor has the highest concentration of alcohol per serving. For example, a typical serving size of hard liquor is 1.5 ounces but has an alcohol content of 40%. The most frequently drunk hard liquors include:
One of the biggest dangers of hard liquor is that it is frequently served in mixed drinks. The soda or juice that the liquid is added to makes the drink easier to consume. As a result, a person can take in a large amount of alcohol in a short amount of time and not realize how much they’ve consumed.
If you suspect an alcohol related emergency, you need to act fast. We recently wrote an entire article on this subject and it is well worth reading if you have an alcoholic in the family. It is better to be prepared and know what to do than simply react in the moment.
Alcohol Abuse Signs
There are many alcohol abuse signs, but here is a good starter list of warning signs.
You may be abusing alcohol if you find yourself:
- Spending a great deal of time being hungover or sick from drinking
- Having problems at your job or at home due to drinking
- Drinking more alcohol than you plan to
- Having relationships affected by your drinking
- Engaging in risky behavior, such as drunk driving
- Having to drink more alcohol to get the effect you want
- Thinking about or wanting alcohol so much you can’t focus on more important matters
- Having withdrawal symptoms like trouble sleeping, shakiness, or nausea.
- Cutting back on other important activities in order to have time to drink
- Being in denial about the extent of the alcohol abuse problem
- Becoming distressed at the prospect of not having access to alcohol
Consequences of an Alcohol Abuse Problem
The form of the alcohol doesn’t matter. All types of alcohol impair a person’s judgment and decision making, put other’s lives in danger when used while driving, and have devastating consequences to a fetus if consumed during pregnancy. The negative health impacts of alcohol include a weakened immune system, organ failure, and premature death. Alcohol impacts the liver, brain, heart, pancreas, and can increase the likelihood of developing cancer.
If you or someone you care about has a drinking problem, we can help. Call our hotline anytime for help with alcohol related problems, finding a good rehab center, insurance related questions, or anything else related to alcohol abuse problems. Call us at 1-800-492-QUIT.