Alcohol Addiction and Abuse
Alcoholism is one of the most common addictions in the US.
Binge drinking is one form of alcohol abuse that can lead to addiction.
Learn more about alcohol use and abuse.
What to Know about Alcohol Addiction and Abuse
What to Know about Alcohol Addiction and Abuse, Binge Drinking and Excessive Alcohol Intake, Beer Addiction and Abuse, Wine Addiction and Abuse, Liquor Addiction and Abuse, Immediate Effects of Alcohol, High-Functioning Alcoholics, Statistics of Alcohol Abuse and Addiction, How to Choose an inpatient treatment center
Alcoholism is one of the most common addictions in the US. This is partly due to the fact that drinking is widely accepted, especially in social situations. This only makes it easier for alcoholics to stay in denial about their current situation. If left untreated, alcohol addiction leads to severe consequences.
Alcohol is a legal, controlled substance that comes in various forms, including beer, wine, and hard liquor. Alcohol lowers anxiety and inhibitions, which is why it is used as a “social lubricant” to make socialization easier. Unfortunately, it has a broad range of unpleasant side effects, ranging from loss of coordination to slurred speech.
While not everyone who drinks is an alcoholic, anyone whose life is negatively affected by consistent alcohol consumption is considered to have an alcohol use disorder.
Binge Drinking and Excessive Alcohol Intake
Binge drinking is one form of alcohol abuse that can lead to addiction. While some social drinkers only consume alcohol on occasion, their tendency to binge drink still puts them at risk of developing alcohol use disorder. Drinking excessively, even occasionally, is considered problematic drinking.
For men, binge drinking involves the consumption of five or more alcoholic drinks over a two-hour period. For women, binge drinking is consuming four or more alcoholic drinks over a two-hour period.
An infrequent binge drinker may be able to stop on their own. But someone who is addicted to alcohol may fail to quit even if they attempt to. They will not be able to stop drinking without proper medical assistance. In many cases, prolonged binge drinking can develop into alcoholism.
Beer Addiction and Abuse
Beer is typically made from water, barley, hops, and yeast. It usually has the lowest alcohol content by volume (ABV) compared to wine and hard liquor. Beer’s ABV ranges from about 2 to 12 percent. The most popular beers fall in the 4 to 6 percent range. For most people, it takes 3 to 5 beers to be over the legal driving limit.
The rise of craft beer made beer consumption even more popular, with microbreweries and home brewers testing new flavors and tastes. The craft beer revolution has one unfortunate side effect, however, because these new beers may have significantly higher amounts of alcohol than the average domestic draft—with some carrying as much as 12 percent.
Even those who drink beer during social activities or only drink craft beer are susceptible to an alcohol use disorder.
Wine Addiction and Abuse
Wine is made from fermented grapes or other fruits, such as berries and pomegranates. It is most commonly sold as white or red, with a variety of flavour profiles. Examples of white wine are chardonnay, pinot grigio, Riesling and moscato. Examples of red wine are merlot, cabernet, pinot noir, and zinfandel. The varieties are based on grape type.
Although wine has a reputation for being the “classy” drink, it is still possible to develop a problem with wine. Wine is usually consumed at dinner parties—its status as a fancy drink makes it harder to spot when someone has a problem.
Liquor Addiction and Abuse
Hard alcoholic drinks and spirits like vodka, tequila, gin, rum, and whiskey fall under the umbrella term “liquor”. Liquor has a much higher ABV than beer or wine. It is often mixed with sodas, juices, or water. The average size of a liquor pour is 1.5 oz.
Drinking liquor mixed with soda can cause quicker intoxication because carbonation speeds up the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream. Those with a severe alcohol use disorder may feel like they can’t start their day without a swig of vodka. They might finish each day with a glass of whiskey on the rocks. All of these drinks possess serious addiction potential.
Immediate Effects of Alcohol
As a central nervous system depressant, alcohol can slow down mental and bodily processes. This is why users may experience a decrease in feelings of anxiety and stress with their first drink of alcohol. Drinkers are more likely to feel confident, especially in meeting and mingling with new people. Alcohol reduces their need for approval as they become less concerned with how they are perceived by others.
However, it’s not all good. Alcohol abuse affects many aspects of a person’s life, including their health, their relationships, their career, finances, etc. When abuse escalates, it can turn into an addiction.
Alcohol addiction is marked by a craving for alcohol and the inability to stop drinking, even when it causes extreme social or personal harm. The addicted individual may start drinking more alcohol on a regular basis. They may start day-drinking, drinking all by themselves, or lying about their drinking habits.
It is important to note that there is a specific class of alcohol drinkers that are classified as high functioning alcoholics. People who are high functioning alcoholics can keep their alcoholism from interfering in their professional and personal lives.
A New York Times article estimated that as many as half of all alcoholics are high-functioning alcoholics. This group is largely made up of lawyers, professors and doctors. Because of their productivity, high functioning alcoholics rarely recognize their problem. The danger of high functioning alcoholism is that it can continue for years without the person ever recognizing they have a problem.
Statistics of Alcohol Abuse and Addiction
Adults who first used alcohol before they turned 15 are 7 times more likely to develop alcoholism than adults who first used alcohol at the age of 21.
Over 40 percent of all drug-related emergency room visits of people under the age of 20 were caused by alcohol abuse.
If someone in the family is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, it is important to seek help. A combination of medical detox and behavioral therapy can go a long way in the fight against drug abuse.
But because every individual is affected by addiction differently, a comprehensive program tailored to their specific needs is necessary. Look for a nearby addiction treatment facility today and find out how drug treatment programs work.
How to Choose an inpatient treatment center
While finding the right addiction rehab can seem overwhelming, help is available. There are plenty of resources available to help with the search. Finding the right one can go a long way in ensuring the success of the treatment. Visiting local rehabs and paying attention to the surroundings and the staff first-hand is a great idea to get a feel for the rehab facility’s atmosphere.
Asking about treatment methods, policies, and payment options can give the patient a solid idea on how things work in that facility. This will help them choose the right fit later on. There are facilities for certain demographics and preferences. There are programs designed for patients with co-occurring mental or physical illnesses. Loved ones can also try looking for online resources that provide the necessary information on different rehabs.
Most rehab facilities nowadays have websites or just hotlines people can dial to get more information. Admitting that there is a substance problem or addiction is never easy. Getting started on rehab can even be scary. But the short-term commitment that 30-day rehabs provide is one of its biggest benefits, and can really get one foot in the door for patients who are afraid of treatment. A rehab program lasting only 28 or 30 days is a relatively short time commitment, but the rewards of sobriety can be lifelong. If someone in the family is struggling with opioid or alcohol addiction, it is important to seek help.
A combination of medical detox and behavioral therapy can go a long way in the fight against alcohol abuse. But because every individual is affected by addiction differently, a comprehensive program tailored to their specific needs is necessary. Look for a nearby addiction treatment facility today and find out how alcohol treatment programs work.
Rehab Is your best Chance
Treatment is an addicted individualʼs best option if they want to recover. Beating an addiction not only requires eliminating the physical dependence, but also addressing the behavioral factors that prevent them from wanting to get better. Simply quitting may not change the psychological aspect of addiction. Some people quit for a while, and then take alcohol again, only to abuse because they did not detox properly. Recovery involves changing the way the patient feels, thinks, and behaves.