August 23, 2017

Alcohol Abuse

[frame align=”left”]Alcohol Abuse[/frame]Alcohol Abuse is a behavioral disorder, exhibiting itself as a dysfunctional pattern of excessive but controlled drinking. In other words, an individual struggling with alcohol abuse can control their drinking and set limits somewhat. Despite this ability to control or limit excessive drinking, it still causes destructive and negative consequences. It is difficult to identify alcohol abuse patterns versus the actions of a social drinker, but not impossible.

There are specific characteristics shown in the dysfunctional pattern of alcohol abuse over a period of 12 months. These symptoms include:

  1. Efforts to cut back on drinking unsuccessful
  2. Obsession in keeping a constant alcohol supply
  3. Tolerance Increased
  4. Frequent blackouts
  5. Emotional dependency on alcohol to relieve stress, anxiety and/or upset feelings
  6. Drinking interferes with special events, work and home obligations
  7. Making excuses to drink-anticipating the next opportunity to have a drink

Alcohol Abuse Causes

According to scientists, the causes of alcohol abuse linked to the following: environment, biological, psychological, culture, and genetics. Research has shown genetics may or may not play a role in the risk of alcohol abuse. Despite the lack of evidence relating to the cause of alcohol abuse, there is research/data identifying “Risk Indicators.”

By identifying these “Risk Indicators”, doctors, researchers as well as therapist have a small window into understand alcohol abuse. The section below not only identifies these “Risk Indicators” but also explains how this helps in treating and preventing alcohol abuse.

Alcohol Abuse Risk Indicators

When it comes to identifying the risk factors for alcohol abuse, researchers as well as doctors have specified a list. At the same, one must keep in mind that alcohol abuse is not limited to the following indicators. Before listing the indicators, please note an alcoholic drink is defined as on ½-ounce shot of liquor, a five-ounce glass of wine and a 12-ounce bottle of beer.

  1. Females consuming 12 alcoholic drink or more each week
  2. Males consuming 15 alcoholic drink or more each week
  3. Drinking more than five alcoholic drink or more per occasion during a period of one week
  4. At least one parent who is an alcoholic (Recovered or current alcoholic)
  5. Mental disorders such as bipolar, schizophrenia, anxiety, depression or even low self-esteem
  6. Stressful lifestyle
  7. Strained or abusive relationships
  8. Living in a culture where alcohol consumption is more acceptable

Alcohol Abuse Prevention

Even though alcohol abuse is not as serious as alcoholism in the eyes of a doctor, it still can cause many health and life problems. Alcohol abuse is 100% treatable but more importantly 100% preventable. How is alcohol abuse 100% preventable? It is simple. Learning the warning signs and risk indicators allows a person to prevent alcohol abuse before it starts. Even if alcohol abuse has taken a hold of you or a friend/family member, the problem can be stopped before it gets worse. Alcohol abuse turns into alcoholism if allowed to progress.

Learning the warning signs and risk indicators of alcohol abuse is the most important step in prevention; there are other methods as well. Listed below are other ways to prevent or stop alcohol abuse:

1. Know what triggers excessive alcohol consumption

Examples:

  • to relax
  • coping mechanism
  • stress
  • help with social situations

2. Avoid areas considered “High Risk”

These are areas where you consumed excessive amounts of alcohol, which lead to this dysfunctional behavior.

3. Find a new outlet

  • If alcohol abuse was fun and ways to be social: Take up a new sport, hobby, or a book club-something to fill the void of alcohol abuse.
  • If alcohol abuse was a way to cope with emotions or difficult situations: make an appointment for a therapist, journal/blog about your emotions, or set up an accountability partner/sponsor.

4. Let go and ASK for help

  • Find a professional therapist
  • Seek out AA meetings
  • Join an outpatient/inpatient substance abuse group or program

Dangers of Alcohol Abuse

There are two important statements to remember regarding the dangers of alcohol abuse:

  1. Underestimating the effects of alcohol abuse is extremely dangerous
  2. Alcohol abuse affects every aspect of an individual’s life.

Underestimating the Effects of Alcohol Abuse is Extremely Dangerous

When comparing the level of dangerous effects of alcohol abuse and alcoholism alcohol abuse comes out on top for being more dangerous. As confusing or oxymoronic as that statement may appear, alcohol abuse is more dangerous than alcoholism for one reason. Alcohol abuse is a disorder that deludes it is abuser in thinking they do not have a problem. In every sense, the abuser is right because they are not dependent like an alcoholic…yet.

“Yet” is the key is why alcohol abuse is so dangerous because the potential of alcohol abuse leading to alcoholism is very high. In the mind of an alcohol abuser, they can go months, weeks, days, hours and minutes without having the compelling need for a drink. As time goes on and tolerance is built up from excessive drinking, the delusion of “not having a problem” because a reality. Hence, why it is important to remember the first statement “Underestimating the Effects of Alcohol Abuse is Extremely Dangerous”

Alcohol Abuse Affects Every Aspect of an Individual’s Life

An obvious way alcohol abuse affects an individual’s life is health issues. Long-term alcohol abuse leads to a number of health issues, which include but not limited to:

  1. Heart Disease
  2. Liver Disease
  3. Gastrointestinal Issues
  4. Brain Damage
  5. Malnutrition
  6. Suppressed Immune System

There are so many others but the six mentioned above are the biggest dangers of just alcohol abuse. Further complications occur if an alcohol abuser does not get help and goes into full alcoholism. Without being a full alcoholic, an individual could die from alcohol abuse and not realize the seriousness and dangers it can bring.

When it comes to the emotional and social aspect of an individual’s life, alcohol abuse devastates all types of relationships. When one excessively drinks, various behaviors such as mood swings, aggression, violence and the inability to make wise decisions all effects personal relationships. As far as work or school life, the alcohol abuser over time becomes unreliable due to being hung over or drunk for long periods of time. Over time, these kinds of behaviors start to make friends/family members distant themselves from the alcohol abuser. If this pattern continues, too often an alcohol abuser feels alone and depressed because everyone who was once important, is gone.

Remember, alcohol abuse is 100% treatable and preventable. By learning the warning signs, risk indicators, as well as dangers of alcohol abuse, one can prevent alcohol abuse before it starts.

The primary effects and approved medical uses of alcohol are as follows:

  • General decrease in CNS arousal/excitability level
  • No current therapeutic uses, but formerly used as an anesthetic and a sedative

Example of Alcohol:

  • ethyl alcohol (other alcohols have similar actions but are associated with very toxic effects, e.g., methanol)