Over time, alcohol abuse can have negative consequences for the person with the addiction and loved ones who surround them. One of the most widely used substances in the world, alcohol consumption can be done in a healthy way in moderation. However, some people struggle to control drinking habits which can start off with one drink on occasion and slowly progress to a drink per day then building towards a consistent drinking habit which feels uncontrollable.
Upside of Moderate Alcohol Consumption
Cardiovascular health can be improved with the imbibement of occasional alcoholic beverages. Moderate drinkers may experience greater longevity in the life span over individuals who do not consume alcohol due to decreased heart disease risk and lower mortality rates for those who consume one drink per day. In spite of moderate drinking habits, questions remain as to the long term health benefits of drinking alcohol on a consistent basis.
Alcohol can become addictive when misused. Moderate drinking levels are defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1 and a half ounces of liquor (a drink per day for women, 2 for men). Heavy drinking is defined as 5 or more drinks on the same occasion on 5 or more days in the past 30 days overall. Binge drinking is considered a pattern of imbibing alcohol which brings the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL which can occur after 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men in a 2 hour time span. Drinking to get drunk or experience a psychoactive effect can cross the line into abuse. Alcoholism can sneak up on a person who believes drinking habits are under control.
Signs of Alcohol Abuse
Some of the signs to look for in an individual who is suspected of abusing alcohol include:
- feelings of shame and guilt about drinking
- regularly drinking more than intended
- drinking for relaxation or to feel better
- experiencing side effects of dependence such as withdrawal
- legal and financial problems arise from drinking
- blackouts and memory gaps occur from drinking
- unsuccessful attempts to quit drinking
Side Effects of Alcohol Abuse
Serious side effects can occur as a result of abusing alcohol. Physical, emotional, financial, social and other issues can arise which can negatively impact a person’s life. Some of the potential side effects include:
- interference with brain’s communication pathways causing cognitive, motor, mood and behavioral changes
- long-term drinking or occasional, high quantity drinking which damages the heart causing cardiomyopathy, stroke or high blood pressure
- heavy drinking can impact the liver with fatty liver disease, hepatitis or cirrhosis
- pancreatic issues occur from toxic substances produced which can lead to pancreatitis and digestion issues
- pregnancy related complications if imbibed while pregnant
Alcohol abuse is a serious problem which needs to be addressed for the overall health and wellbeing of the individual, family and friends who care about the person. Therapeutic, 12-step and other programs are based on recovery principles to support sobriety now and in the long run. Tackling this issue head on is an important first step to getting the help needed to overcome alcohol addiction.
Alcohol abuse can have serious consequences. There is hope, and help, available. Call Hired Power at 800-910-9299 for more information on how we can support your recovery.