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.
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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.
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.
Consequences of an Alcohol Use Disorder
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.