Understanding Alcohol Use, Abuse, Addiction & Recovery
Some Facts About Alcohol
- Alcohol is a drug that’s available to anyone over the age of 21 in the US; however, many minors also abuse it
- Alcohol comes in many forms, from hard to wine and beer
- Some people abuse alcohol by binge drinking periodically, but others use the drug constantly
- People who drink a large volume of alcohol over a short period of time are in danger of alcohol poisoning
- Many people who drink abuse other drugs as well
Alcoholism, or addiction to alcohol, is quite common in the United States. In fact, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, 17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffers from alcohol abuse or dependence. Alcohol is also known as a top contributor to domestic violence in the United States.
Symptoms/Signs of Alcohol Abuse
The symptoms of excessive alcohol intake are a bit more obvious that some other drugs. A person who has been drinking may smell of alcohol, slur their words, or get sick (vomit) if they’ve been drinking heavily. They may have trouble keeping their balance and have slow reaction times. A person who binge drinks or drinks daily, in excess, may have periods where they black out and forget what happened while drinking. This is just one dangerous effect of alcohol poisoning. Some people drink so much alcohol that the body goes into shock and start to shut down. All of these are serious effects of alcohol poising that can kill you.
A person who drinks one or two servings of alcohol a day isn’t likely to develop a dependency on alcohol. Alcohol abuse or full blown addiction (alcoholism) is typically associated with increased tolerance and therefore increased use. One “serving” of alcohol can vary in volume due to the varied potencies of the different types of drinks. For instance, one “serving” can refer to a 4 oz. glass of wine, one 12 oz. can of beer or 1.5 oz. of a distilled spirit such as vodka or whiskey.
Dangers of Long-Term Alcohol Abuse
A person who binge drinks runs the risk of consuming more alcohol than their body can handle – which can certainly lead to health problems. Over time, binge drinking episodes can also lead to alcohol addiction and make the person susceptible to liver damage (along with a host of other physical ailments). Alcohol abusers can progressively become physically and psychologically dependent on alcohol. Binge drinkers may “black out” when under the influence (i.e. they won’t remember what they are doing or saying.)
If a person addicted to alcohol tries to quit “cold turkey”, they could suffer from dangerous withdrawal symptoms that cause seizures, hallucinations, and other complications. Detoxing from alcohol is dangerous and should be conducted in a safe, clinical environment. In a clinical setting, professionals can prescribe medication to ease certain symptoms and monitor the user for any complications. This will help make withdrawal be as comfortable and safe as possible.
Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Dependency/Addiction
Alcohol addiction can have devastating consequences. A person who is addicted to alcohol may have financial problems or lose their jobs due to tardiness or daytime drinking. Many alcoholics suffer from accidents while drinking, and often have bruises they don’t remember getting. Heavy drinkers suffer hangovers and sometimes blackouts where they don’t remember their night of drinking. Many alcoholics suffer from legal consequences of their alcoholism – such as drunken driving convictions or public nuisance charges (like drunk in public or domestic violence).
An alcoholic may try to control their alcohol use or attempt to hide their drinking. They may do this by stashing liquor around the house or in other hiding places. Some people who are addicted to alcohol may act completely different when they are sober. They may be more likely to become aggressive, angry, or violent. These are all signs that a person has a drinking problem.
How to Get Help for an Drinking Problem
If you think you have a problem with alcohol or other drugs, and you’d like to find some help, you’re in the right place. We can offer you both help and hope breaking free from your addiction. Addiction professionals recommend that if you are dependent on alcohol, you should detox in a safe environment, then follow-up with an inpatient or outpatient recovery program. You can reclaim your life and start on a new, sober path. We’d like to help you get started. Give us a call, 100% confidential, to learn more about your recovery options today.