During April, the National Center for Advocacy and Recovery for Behavioral Health (NCAAR-BH) focuses on raising awareness about alcoholism and providing resources to support individuals struggling with alcohol use disorder. Alcohol use disorder is a medical disease and can include heavy or frequent alcohol consumption. The individual may continue drinking even if it’s negatively impacting their personal or social life and even their workplace. Alcohol use disorder or alcoholism doesn’t just affect the individual; it also affects people around them. Their family, spouses, and children are exposed to high stress and traumatic situations. Since children are not equipped with coping mechanisms to deal with the stress and trauma, they are at greater odds of experiencing depression, social isolation, behavioral issues, and alcohol or drug addiction in the future.
10 Fast Facts About Alcohol Abuse
Many individuals are not ready to admit they have a drinking problem. It may take a while for some to recognize that they are suffering from alcohol addiction. But before you consume your next alcoholic beverage, consider these facts about alcohol abuse.
1. Alcohol Affects Many Major Organs
Heavy and prolonged drinking causes significant damage to your liver. Over time it can lead to significant health issues such as fatty liver, Alcoholic hepatitis, Fibrosis, or Cirrhosis. Alcohol also damages the brain, causing issues with the communication pathways that coordinate movement, balance, physiological functions, and emotional stability. It also wreaks havoc on the heart; even one binge drinking session could lead to heart damage such as cardiomyopathy, arrhythmias, high blood pressure, or even a stroke. The pancreas also gets impacted; alcohol causes the pancreas to make toxic substances that, over time, can lead to pancreatitis, which will prevent proper digestion. Since many significant organs are impacted by alcohol use disorder, one complication or multiple can also contribute to death.
2. There Are Toxins in Alcohol
Ethanol, also known as alcohol, ethyl alcohol, is a clear liquid and the main ingredient in alcoholic beverages like beer, wine, or brandy. Because ethanol can readily dissolve in water and other organic compounds, ethanol is an ingredient in various products, from beauty products to paints and varnishes to fuel. If it’s in the paint on your walls or the gas in your car, do you want to put it in your body? Large quantities of ethanol provoke vomiting, dehydration, and depressed breathing.
3. Excessive Drinking is Dangerous
Many young people tend to participate in binge drinking. For adolescents, it may be that they don’t have regular access to alcohol, so when they can obtain it, they go wild. For college students, it may occur at parties or fraternity events, with everyone trying to drink as much as they can before the keg is kicked or the party is broken up. Binge Drinking qualifies as more than five drinks in two hours for men, and for females, more than four alcoholic beverages within two hours.
4. Alcohol Impacts Your Hormones
We already know that alcohol impacts your significant organs, but that’s not all it impacts. Both men and women can have adverse hormonal side effects due to alcohol consumption. For females, it increases estrogen levels and decreases the sex hormone globulin, which can cause and increase the risk of breast cancer. It can change the hormone balance of the ovaries and testes. Men may experience a decreased sex drive due to low testosterone levels, reduced energy, and depression.
5. Alcohol Abuse is A Family Disease
Alcoholism happens in all types of families, and its side effects are experienced by all bystanders, including partners, children, and other family members. The lives, behaviors, and attitudes of those impacted can change forever due to the disease. Individuals who may have never even consumed a drink themselves can experience anxiety, depression, and shame due to alcohol addiction. Residing in a home with someone suffering from alcoholism can result in disruptive behavior, tension, and strained relationships, which can cause significant stress on the family unit. Children who have a parent or family member suffering from alcohol use disorder have a higher risk of becoming addicted later. Studies have revealed specific genetics that contributes to alcohol use disorder.
6. Hangovers Stink
Whiskey, scotch, bourbon, red wine, brandy, and dark liquors contain naturally existing chemicals known as congeners. The chemicals give the drinks their dark color and irritate blood vessels in the brain, making a hangover worse. Consuming drinks light in color may provide less of a hangover. However, the best way to prevent nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness is to drink less or not at all.
7. Be Mindful With Your Drinking
It is not advisable for anyone to drink more than 14 drinks per week. Check your ABV or Alcohol By Volume; this number will tell you what quantity of the total volume of liquid in a beer is made up of alcohol. Cocktails and Mixed Drinks are more challenging because you will never know how many units your drink contains depending on the pour.
8. A Glass of Wine is Good For You- True or False
Health professionals usually recommend a 5 oz glass of wine. Good red wine contains antioxidants, can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, and decrease the risk of a stroke. It can increase memory and protect the brain from neurodegenerative diseases. However, they mean on occasion, not every day, and not for individuals that struggle with alcohol use disorder.
9. Alcohol Causes Motor Vehicle Infractions
Alcohol consumption causes an increase in car accidents and violent deaths, especially on weekends. Drinking and driving involve operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of at least 0.08%. These motor vehicle infractions are often referred to as driving under the influence (DUI)or driving while intoxicated (DWI). However, even a tiny amount of alcohol can develop into harmful situations. Common risks of drinking and driving include slow reaction time, poor motor skills, inability to concentrate, impaired judgment, and poor vision.
10. Alcohol Withdrawal Can Be Fatal
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms appear as early as eight hours after someone stops drinking alcohol. Individual symptoms can depend on the amount and frequency of alcohol consumption. Typical symptoms include headache, nausea, sweating, anxiety, insomnia, depression, or committing. Severe symptoms may require treatment by health care professionals. In these conditions, a person’s struggle with addiction becomes more intense. Different factors in a person’s life may struggle with alcohol abuse. Nowadays, Different treatment options are available to help you win the battle against addiction. Detoxing, medications, supplements, and social and family support are extremely important in recovery. Unfortunately, alcohol screening tools do not allow clinicians to predict what type of symptoms someone will experience and whose will or will not be life-threatening symptoms. Individuals with mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms or questions about what withdrawal symptoms they may experience should consult with a doctor or clinician that treats patients suffering from alcohol withdrawal. Individuals experiencing moderate to severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal or those at risk of experiencing moderate to severe symptoms usually require inpatient monitoring and treatment of withdrawal symptoms at a hospital or detox facility. Outpatient treatment might be available for mild-to-moderate symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. However, inpatient detox may be required if symptoms become severe.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has declared April 6th as National Alcohol Screening Day. On this day, individuals can learn about the harmful effects of alcohol and receive free and confidential screens, either in person or online, to determine whether they have a potential problem with alcohol. We encourage anyone struggling with alcohol abuse themselves or knows someone struggling to take advantage of the free screening tool and the resources provided.
If you have questions or want to learn more about the alcohol detox or the alcohol treatment options, please contact Avatar Residential Detox Center today and talk to our admissions staff at 973-774-7222.