Alcohol abuse is a disease and disorder of the mind; it is much more common than alcoholism. The intake of large alcohol amounts causes personal, social, and business problems. It affects those closest to the person suffering from this disorder. Their children and emotional partners are exposed to stressful situations, putting children at risk to experience social isolation, depression, and alcohol or drug addiction in the future.
During the first weekend of April, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) focuses on supporting individuals to abstain from alcohol consumption. On National Alcohol Screening Day (NASD), health care professionals give support and opportunity for those who are addicted to alcohol to start therapy and win the battle against alcoholism.
10 Alcohol Abuse Facts
Many people are not ready to face problems that come with a chronic alcohol addiction. Before you take the next drink, think about these facts about alcohol abuse.
1. Alcohol affects your brain and body
Excessive alcohol consumption leads to reversible brain damage. It affects brain structures such as brain cortex, hypothalamus, small brain, and amygdala. These structures are responsible for coordinating movement, balance, physiological functions, and emotional stability.
Chronic and excessive alcohol consumption leads to dangerous and illegal behaviors and addiction. It causes liver cirrhosis – liver insufficiency, and consequently death.
2. Ethanol is the most popular psychoactive addictive substance
Those who tried alcohol in childhood have increased the risk to become addicted. Recent research shows that 70% of college students drink alcohol almost every day. Nearly 17 million Americans suffer from alcohol abuse.
3. Binge drinking is dangerous
Concerning fact is that many young people report excessively drinking in a short period of time. For men, it is more than five, and for women more than four alcoholic drinks within two hours. Large amounts of ethanol provoke vomiting, dehydration, and depresses breathing.
4. Alcohol has a negative impact on your hormones
Large amounts of alcohol have negative health consequences for both men and women. It can impair the physiological hormone balance of the ovaries and testes.
Binge drinking increases circulating estrogen level and decreases sex hormone binding globulin, which increases the risk of breast cancer. It also lowers testosterone level, which leads to decreased sex drive, low energy, depression, reduced bone, and body mass.
5. Alcohol abuse has a genetic component
Children who have someone in their family suffering from alcohol use disorder, have a higher risk of becoming addicted. Scientists have found specific genes that contribute to alcohol use disorder.
6. Dark colored drinks cause severe hangovers
Brandy, bourbon, red wine, and whiskey contain natural chemicals called congeners. These chemicals give the drinks their dark color and irritate blood vessels in the brain, which makes a hangover worse. Drinking light colored drinks may give you less of a hangover. However, the best way to prevent nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, etc. is just to drink less.
7. Some drinks contain more pure alcohol than you think
It is not recommended to drink more than 14 alcohol units per week. If you drink beer, be aware of light beers because sometimes they contain more pure alcohol compared to others. You should avoid drinking cocktails because you will never know how many units your drink contains.
8. Red wine is good for your body
A 5 oz glass of wine is usually recommended by health professionals. Good red wine contains antioxidants, reduces blood pressure, cholesterol, and the risk of a stroke. It improves memory and protects the brain from neurodegenerative diseases.
9. Alcohol is a leading cause of violent behavior and traffic accidents
There is a strong link between alcohol abuse and violence. Men behave more violent after alcohol intake when compared to women.
Alcohol increases the risk of car accidents and violent deaths, especially on weekends.
10. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms range from mild to serious
Withdrawal symptoms show up as early as eight hours after you stop drinking. They can be different and their characteristics depend on the amount and frequency of alcohol consumption.
Symptoms include sweating, anxiety, headache, insomnia, depression, etc. Serious 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 lead them to struggle with alcohol abuse. Nowadays, there are different treatment options available that can help you win the battle against addiction. Detoxing, medications, supplements, social, and family support are extremely important for those who are determined to start a new life.