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What is Alcohol? Types, Use & Abuse

Alcohol use is a common and accepted part of many cultures. Alcohol addiction is a chronic brain disease that consists of compulsive alcohol use. Alcoholics will continue to drink even though they know they have a drinking problem. Alcoholism affects the central nervous system by altering the chemistry of the brain. One of the signs of alcohol addiction is having withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking. Alcoholism is a serious disease that abuses alcohol that affects the brain and the body. It’s important to know the warning signs of alcoholism so you can get help. Alcohol abuse can lead to problems in various areas of life. This includes health, relationships, work, or school. Legal difficulties, depression or anxiety disorders, and financial difficulties are also common.

Alcohol Misuse Vs Alcohol Use Disorder

The Difference Between Alcohol Misuse and Alcohol Use Disorder When it comes to alcohol, different people react in various ways. However, the distinction between alcohol misuse and AUD is primarily based on how a person consumes alcohol in the short term rather than throughout an extended period of time. In addition, AUD is a compulsive-obsessive disease, which implies you may find it difficult to quit drinking even when you want to. The definition of AUD also takes into account the impact that heavy drinking has on your physical and emotional well-being.

Alcohol Misuse

Moderate drinking is defined as two drinks or fewer for men per day and one drink or less for women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source. You may be misusing alcohol if you consume more than that at any one time. For males, excessive consumption is defined as consuming 15 drinks or more a week, while females should not exceed eight drinks a week. However, it's also possible to misuse alcohol in terms of when and how much you consume. Any alcohol consumption by a pregnant woman would be considered an example of alcohol misuse, as well as drinking under the age of 21 in violation of the law.

Alcohol Use Disorder

When a person's drinking is out of control, they may be said to have AUD. The DSM-5 no longer uses the term "alcoholism," which is what people commonly refer to as when their drinking becomes excessive. You may have mild or moderate AUD if you've had at least two of the following in a year:

    • A few months ago, I drank a bottle of wine and when I started I couldn't stop.
    • Even though it was causing conflict with your family or friends, you continued to drink.
    • You gave up or cut back on activities that were essential or enjoyable to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink
    • In order to drink, you got into situations that increased the likelihood of getting injured (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or engaging in unlawful sex)
    • Continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious, or adding to another health problem, or after having had a memory blackout
    • Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want, or found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before
    • Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, restlessness, anxiety, nausea, sweating, a racing heart, or a seizure, or you sensed things that were not there

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    Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

    There are many different symptoms of alcohol withdrawal wich vary based on the individual, the amount they drink and their medical conditions. Some of the withdrawal symptoms include:

    • Upset stomach and vomiting
    • Hand tremors
    • Irritability or anxiety
    • Headaches and fatigue
    • Fever and sweating

    Alcoholism Statistics

    Alcohol abuse is a common problem that sees 1 in 8 Americans suffering from alcoholism.

    Alcohol Addiction Infographic

    Early Signs Of Alcoholism

    There are several warning signs to look out for to detect alcoholism. One common sign is the person’s drinking habits. Alcohol can affect a person’s moods and personality. These change when they abuse alcohol and when they stop.

    Drinking too much alcohol over time will become a coping mechanism. Individuals who struggle with alcoholism may start to neglect work and personal relationships. Alcoholics struggle to stop drinking despite the problems that arise. Those problems include financial strain, legal troubles, or withdrawal symptoms.

    It’s important to understand these warning signs to get the appropriate help. Yet, it’s important not to place blame on a loved one, which can be counterproductive. Instead of pointing fingers, offer support and encourage them to seek treatment.

    Some medical illnesses have similar symptoms or complications to alcoholism. The person will need a physical exam from a doctor to diagnose any issues.

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    Understanding Binge Drinking

    Binge drinking is consuming more than 4 drinks in two hours for men, and 3 for women. Binge drinking is also considered hazardous to your health.

    Among adolescents, binge drinking is consuming at least five drinks on occasion. They have not developed a tolerance and will experience more pronounced effects from alcohol.

    Binge drinking leads to alcohol use disorder (AUD). This is a medical diagnosis for a pattern of recurring alcohol abuse issues. AUD is the most common form of substance use disorder in the United States.

    As with any disease, it’s important to diagnose alcoholism. Diagnostic criteria for AUD include

    • Alcohol is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than intended
    • There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or stop alcohol use
    • A great deal of time on activities necessary to get alcohol, use alcohol, or recover from its effects
    • Craving and inability to control drinking. Drinking will be the only thing you think about sometimes for days or weeks at a time
    • Withdrawal symptoms take place when drinking stops. Abstaining from alcohol leads to anxiety, shaking, stomach pain, and other uncomfortable effects

    High Functioning Alcoholics

    A high-performing alcoholic is someone who can function in day-to-day life. Yet, they are dependent on alcohol. They may go about their workday/night, raise a family, and keep up with responsibilities. These alcoholics will drink before or during these tasks to maintain their habit.

    One of the signs that someone is a high-functioning alcoholic is when they never drink alone. They are around people who drink which can lead them to believe that their habit is normal.  Another sign is when someone drinks right after they wake up or before they go to bed, regardless of the time of day.

    This means that they are dependent on alcohol to have a good time, regardless of the consequences. It’s important to remember that any amount of drinking can be dangerous. It will lead to problems so it’s important to be aware of this in everyday life. If you notice other signs of alcoholism, it’s important to be open about your concerns. in a gentle, non-judgmental way that offers support.

    Different Types of Alcohol

    There are many types of alcohol, and each one can cause different reactions in people. Some types of alcohol are more likely to make you drunk than others, and some can even have adverse effects on your health. In this article, we will discuss the different types of alcohol and the different reactions they cause in people. We will also provide information on how to drink responsibly and avoid any negative consequences. There are many different types of alcohol. Here are some of the main ones:

    Ethanol

    This is the type of alcohol found in beer, wine, and spirits. It is the most common type of alcohol consumed by people.- Methanol: This is a type of alcohol found in some types of hard liquor. It is more potent than ethanol and can be dangerous if consumed in large quantities.

    Isopropyl alcohol

    This is a type of alcohol found in some types of rubbing alcohol. It is more potent than ethanol and can be dangerous if consumed in large quantities.

    Ethylene glycol

    This is a type of alcohol found in some types of antifreeze. It is more potent than ethanol and can be dangerous if consumed in large quantities.

    Wine

    Wine is made from fermented grapes. It contains ethanol and other chemicals that can cause different reactions in people. Some people feel relaxed after drinking wine, while others may feel more energetic. Wine can also cause some people to become flushed or dizzy.

    Spirits

    Spirits are made by distilling ethanol and water. They contain higher concentrations of ethanol than other types of alcohol. This can make them more likely to cause drunkenness. Spirits can also cause some people to feel more aggressive or agitated.

    Beer

    Beer is made from fermented grains. It contains ethanol and other chemicals that can cause different reactions in people. Some people feel relaxed after drinking beer, while others may feel more energetic. Beer can also cause some people to become flushed or dizzy.

    Whiskey

    Whiskey is made by distilling ethanol and water. It contains higher concentrations of ethanol than other types of alcohol. This can make it more likely to cause drunkenness. Whiskey can also cause some people to feel more aggressive or agitated.

    Gin

    Gin is made by distilling ethanol and water. It contains higher concentrations of ethanol than other types of alcohol. This can make it more likely to cause drunkenness. Gin can also cause some people to feel more aggressive or agitated.

    Vodka

    Vodka is made by distilling ethanol and water. It contains higher concentrations of ethanol than other types of alcohol. This can make it more likely to cause drunkenness. Vodka can also cause some people to feel more aggressive or agitated.

    Tequila

    Tequila is made from the fermented juice of the agave plant. It contains ethanol and other chemicals that can cause different reactions in people. Some people feel relaxed after drinking tequila, while others may feel more energetic. Tequila can also cause some people to become flushed or dizzy.

    Effects Of Different Types Of Alcohol Drinks

    The type of alcohol you drink can affect how quickly you become intoxicated. For example, drinking spirits is more likely to cause drunkenness than drinking beer. This is because spirits contain higher concentrations of ethanol. Drinking wine or beer can also cause you to become intoxicated, but it will take longer for this to happen.

    Different types of alcohol can also cause different reactions in people. For example, some people may feel relaxed after drinking wine, while others may feel more energetic. Beer can also cause some people to become flushed or dizzy. It is important to drink responsibly and avoid any negative consequences. Drinking too much alcohol can lead to drunkenness, which can be dangerous. It is also important to be aware of the different types of alcohol and the different reactions they can cause in a person.

    Frequently Asked Questions About alcoholism

    How prevalent is alcohol consumption?

    The 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that 85.6 percent of people ages 18 and older admitted to drinking alcohol at some point in their lives, 69.5 percent admitted to drinking within the past year, and 54.9 percent admitted to drinking within the past month (59.1 percent of men and 51.0 percent of women in this age group).

    How many people binge drink and or abuse alcohol?

    In 2019, 25.8% of adults (18 and older) recorded binge drinking in the previous month (29.7% of men in this age bracket and 22.2% of women in this age category), and 6.3% (8.3% of men in this age group and 4.5% of women in this age group) observed increased alcohol consumption in the previous month.

    What drugs are commonly mixed with alcohol?

    Alcohol is very reactive with other substances, especially both legal and illicit drugs. These reactions can have serious effects on the mind and body and pose an incredible danger in the long and short term. Drugs commonly used with call include cocaine, Adderall, antidepressants, antihistamines, antidepressants, and antibiotics.

    What drugs are synergistic with alcohol?

    When depressants (such as Valium or Xanax)  and alcohol are mixed, it can have hazardous and even fatal effects, including quick onset of dizziness, stumbling, loss of sphincter control, memory loss, and even death. 

    Alcohol Is a Legally Controlled Substance

    Alcohol is a popular legally controlled psychoactive drug that is commonly consumed in social settings. Ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, is the intoxicating ingredient in alcoholic beverages that produces the feeling of being drunk. It lowers anxiety and inhibitions with a broad range of side effects, from euphoria to other harder side effects such as loss of coordination to slurred speech. Many people feel that since alcohol is legal and everywhere it’s much harder to stop than other commonly abused drugs. Recovery from alcohol abuse and misuse is possible. Going to a medically monitored detox facility will put your mind at ease. Contact our admissions team to start the process today.

    Alcohol and Other Related Drugs

    Alcoholism leading to drugs is not uncommon. It’s important to be aware of the signs so you can keep yourself and others safe. Alcohol is one of the most common substances used with other drugs. Such as tobacco, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, inhalants, and other drugs. The difference is that alcohol is legal and accessible. Alcohol is available at any grocery store, convenience store, bar, and restaurant. Other substances such as marijuana or cocaine are not accessible in the same way. The ease of access makes it much more likely for people who enjoy alcohol to become addicted. Alcohol changes your brain fast. This means that your risk for mental health disorders increases the more you drink.

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    This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

    This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

    Dr. Bickley graduated from U.C. Irvine with honors: Phi Beta Kappa, Golden Key International Honor Society, Cum Laude. He has been featured on national radio and print media. He is also a frequent lecturer at National Conferences. He holds an A.S. degree in Drug & Alcohol Studies, and two B.A. degrees in Criminology & Psychology, and masters and doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology. He is a licensed California Drug & Alcohol Counselor Level II, a licensed Clinical Supervisor and is certified in treating Eating Disorders.

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