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Alcohol Addiction and Abuse

Alcoholism is one of the most common addictions in America. The social acceptance of drinking can often lead to denial - and, if left untreated, severe consequences.

Understanding-Alcohol-Abuse

Understanding Alcohol Abuse

What is Alcohol Abuse?

Alcohol is a legal, controlled substance that lowers anxiety and inhibitions. It also has a broad range of side effects, from loss of coordination to slurred speech. Not everyone who drinks is an alcoholic, but anyone whose life is negatively affected by alcohol on a consistent basis is considered to have an alcohol use disorder. Alcohol is commonly consumed as a drink in various forms, including beer, wine and hard liquor.

While substance use disorders are often the first to come to mind, addiction exists in many forms, including behavioral addictions.

Most addiction treatment centers will employ the basic principles of recovery in all types of treatment plans. Traditional rehab facilities can effectively treat addictions to alcohol, illicit drugs, and prescription drugs. There are also addiction treatment facilities that specifically target various behavioral health issues, including a range of eating disorders and behavioral addictions, such as sex, love, gambling, work, shopping, and the internet.

Recreational-Use
Recreational Use

Drinking in isolation Craving alchohol regularly Hiding alchohol use Needing alchohol to cape with life.

Dependence
Dependence

Drinking in isolation Craving alchohol regularly Hiding alchohol use Needing alchohol to cape with life.

Addiction
Addiction

Drinking in isolation Craving alchohol regularly Hiding alchohol use Needing alchohol to cape with life.

Beer Addiction and Abuse

Beer is an alcoholic drink typically made from water, barley, hops and yeast. Compared to wine or hard liquor, beer usually has the lowest alcohol content by volume (ABV). Beer’s ABV ranges from about 2 to 12 percent, with the most commonly consumed beers (Budweiser, Coors Light, Miller Lite, Corona, Busch, etc.) falling in the 4 to 6 percent range. For most people, it takes 3 to 5 beers to be over the legal driving limit.

Beer has become synonymous with many activities in American culture. Drinking games on college campuses revolve around it, happy hours are the go-to activity for professionals, and you’d be hard pressed to find a sporting event without it.

Beer-Addiction-and-Abuse

The rise of craft beer has even made beer consumption fashionable, with microbreweries and home brewers pushing the limits on what new flavors and tastes can be introduced. One unfortunate side effect of the craft beer revolution is that beers may have significantly higher amounts of alcohol than the average domestic draft — some can be as high as 11 or 12 percent.

Wine-Addiction-and-Abuse
Wine Addiction and Abuse

Wine is made from fermented grapes or other fruits, such as pomegranates or berries. It is most commonly sold as white or red with a variety of flavor profiles. Chardonnay, pinot grigio, riesling and moscato are examples of white wines while merlot, cabernet, pinot noir and zinfandel are reds. Varieties are based on grape type.

Compared to beer, wine has a more concentrated amount of alcohol. An average pour of wine (5 oz.) is equivalent in alcohol content to 12 oz. of beer. Wine is often consumed at dinner parties or alongside gourmet cheese and cracker pairings.

Women make up 59 percent of wine drinkers in the United States and are often the targeted audience in advertising campaigns promoting the drink. Because of this, women may be disproportionately susceptible to a use disorder. However, either gender can develop a problem with wine. If you or someone you care about has been drinking wine more frequently than intended or using it to combat anxious or depressive feelings, there may be a deeper issue at play. Get help for a wine addiction.

Liquor Addiction and Abuse

Liquor is the umbrella term for hard alcoholic drinks or spirits like tequila, vodka, gin, rum and whiskey. Liquor has a much higher ABV than beer or wine and is often mixed with sodas, juices or water. The average size of a liquor pour is 1.5 oz. When not mixed into drinks, liquor is consumed as a shot or “neat.”

Carbonation speeds up the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream, so drinking liquor mixed with soda can cause quicker intoxication. The lower liquid content of shots make them easier to consume, leading to a higher risk of abuse and subsequent drunkenness.

Liquor-Addiction-and-Abuse
Immediate Effects of Alcohol

Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, so it slows down mental and bodily processes. With the first drink of alcohol, users may experience a decrease in feelings of anxiety or stress. It is commonly touted as a social lubricant, meaning drinkers are more likely to feel confidence in meeting new people and less concerned with how they are perceived by others.

Because alcohol is legal and widely accepted in society, it can be hard to tell the difference between casual use and abuse. In general, any usage of alcohol that results in negative consequences is considered abuse. Some of the negative consequences of alcohol use include:

  • Physical harm or illness
  • Strained relationships
  • Problems at work
  • Financial difficulty