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Alcohol Addiction

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Alcoholism

What is Alcohol and How Does it Affect the Body?

Alcohol is a liquid substance that affects the central nervous system. It’s a depressant, so it slows down mental and physical processes. Alcohol is found in liquor, beer, and wine. It’s often used in social situations because it has a calming effect on anxiety, but with too much alcohol in the blood, it can quickly lead to impaired coordination, motor skills, speech, emotional regulation, and decision-making ability.

Alcohol is a legal and regulated substance. Alcoholic drinks can also be considered liquor or spirits. “Hard liquor” includes tequila, rum, vodka, gin, brandy, and whiskey. Consuming alcohol on a daily basis and consuming too much at one time, otherwise known as binge drinking, can cause problems with long-term effects. These conditions can be referred to as alcoholism and alcohol use disorder (AUD).

What Does Alcohol Look Like?

Alcohol itself is a clear liquid. Spirits can remain clear, such as with vodka or rum, or come in a variety of hues. It’s in beverages that are light yellow and have carbonation, like with beer and champagne. It may also come in dark beers, and a variety of different shades of wines.

How is Alcohol Taken?

Alcohol is a liquid substance that is consumed as a beverage. It can be found in beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages. It can be mixed with other non-alcoholic drinks and will specifically show a percentage of alcohol content by volume (ABV) on the bottle or can.

Why Do People Use Alcohol?

People often use alcohol to ease anxiety and nerves in social situations or when they are alone. Alcohol has a calming effect, which can be beneficial in moderation. However, it also has an intoxicating euphoric effect, leading many people to overuse and abuse alcohol. It is both a mentally and physically addictive substance, so people can easily become dependent on it and will continue to use it to ease the symptoms of withdrawal.

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Slang Terms

  • Booze
  • Having a drink
  • A cold one
  • Brewski
  • Spirits
  • Liquid courage
  • Getting drunk, tipsy or buzzed
  • Getting hammered or wasted

History of Alcohol

Today, beer is made with water, barley, hops, and yeast. Wine is made from fermented grapes. Thousands of years ago, alcohol was made with fermented grain, fruit juice, and honey. Around 2700 B.C., the Babylonians worshipped a wine goddess, and in India, an alcoholic drink called sura was made from distilled rice. Greece had an alcoholic drink called mead, made from water and honey, and South America had a drink called chica, made from corn and grapes or apples.

In the 16th century, alcohol was used medicinally. In the mid-18th century, alcoholism became widespread in Britain after a law passed that allowed the use of grain to distill spirits, which gave easier access to cheap alcohol. In the 19th century, there was a push for moderate use of alcohol. In 1920, the United States prohibited the making, selling, and trading of alcohol. In 1933, they removed the ban because the illegal alcohol trade was booming.

What are the Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction?

Alcohol abuse is considered any use of alcohol that ends with negative consequences. The symptoms of alcohol addiction can be mental and physical. You’ll start to recognize that you or your loved one is addicted to alcohol when they start to have withdrawal symptoms from it. Before withdrawal symptoms, there are also warning signs. Here’s what you may notice when you or your loved one are in the early stages of addiction to alcohol.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Consistent drinking or binge drinking
  • Hiding alcohol from family or friends
  • Inability to resist alcohol
  • Blacking out
  • Strong craving to drink alcohol
  • Body tremors or shakiness
  • Consistently drinking alone
  • Inability to control drinking or stop

Paraphernalia

  • Paper bag
  • Cans and tabs
  • Beer pong tables
  • Kegs, beer bongs, and funnels
  • Empty bottles and bottle caps
  • Disposable party cups
  • Wine glasses and corks
  • Shot glasses

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What are the Effects of Alcohol Addiction?

Alcohol addiction can affect you in a short period of time. When you’re used to binge drinking or have multiple drinks per day on a consistent basis, your body may start to depend on it. At first, you or your loved one may start to experience withdrawal symptoms when you’ve stopped drinking, as soon as 8 hours after your last drink. Below are the symptoms you may have when you continue to drink excessively.

Short Term Effects of Alcohol Addiction

  • Developing a tolerance
  • Loss of memory and coordination
  • Mood swings
  • Withdrawal symptoms when sober
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Being unable to stop drinking
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Spending a long time trying to get alcohol
  • Alcohol

Long Term Effects of Alcohol Addiction

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Liver damage
  • High blood pressure
  • Epilepsy
  • Loss of memory and balance
  • Heart and pancreas damage

Alcohol Addiction Statistics

How is Alcohol Addiction Treated?

For people struggling with alcohol addiction, getting treatment may be the only way to get the help that they need. Treatment for alcohol addiction helps people get free from the grip that alcohol has on their lives; address underlying factors that contribute to addiction, and sets the foundation for lasting sobriety.

For many people, the first step in the alcohol addiction treatment process is go to alcohol detox. Detox helps the body to learn to live without alcohol, breaking physical dependence. Once detox is complete, additional treatment is recommended which can include inpatient rehab or outpatient rehab, along with counseling, group meetings, or involvement with a 12-step program. For those in early recovery, or for people who feel they need it, additional support can be found in sober living homes.

Other Drugs

Common Drug Combinations with Alcohol?

Alcohol is commonly paired with cigarettes and caffeine. Both caffeine and Adderall are stimulants, which can lead to blackouts because a drinker may not feel the effects of alcohol during consumption. Other drugs such as painkillers and cocaine are commonly mixed but should not be because the result can be fatal.
  • Caffeine
  • Nicotine
  • Marijuana
  • Benzos
  • Painkillers
  • Adderall
  • Cocaine
  • Mushrooms

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