Types of Alcohol Abuse
July 26, 2019
For many, drinking alcohol responsibly is not a problem. Millions of people throughout the United States have drinks with their friends, at parties, on vacation, and in the comfort of their homes. And while those people are able to control what they drink, there are millions of others who simply cannot. In these cases, professional treatment may be necessary.
Today, one in eight American adults has alcohol use disorder. That makes up about 13 percent of the population, making alcohol the most abused mind-altering substance in the country, outweighing even opioids. Unfortunately, less than eight percent of those individuals obtain professional treatment, meaning that the majority of people afflicted with alcoholism go untreated.
Alcohol plays a major role in many peoples’ lives on a regular basis. Consider the following:
● Nearly 30 percent of all motor vehicle deaths are due to alcohol impairment
● The United States pays $199 billion in drunk driving costs annually
● Approximately 4,700 teenagers die each year from alcohol use, more than all drug-related deaths combined
● Excessive drinking in men can increase aggression, which can lead to increased risk for committing sexual assault and other violent acts
● Excessive drinking in women can increase the risk for infertility and the development of depression
The specific outcomes that a person will experience within his or her life while abusing alcohol will depend on the type of alcohol abuse that he or she engages in.
Not all alcoholics are like those portrayed in TV and movies, where they are completely out of control and knocking on death’s door. Many who struggle with alcoholism continue to function with hardly anyone knowing they have a problem. Again, this is dependent on each person’s unique relationship with alcohol.
Binge drinking, which is most common in Americans between the ages of 18 and 34, occurs when someone consumes a dangerous amount of alcohol in one sitting.
Technically, a man who consumes five standard alcoholic beverages in a period of about two hours is binge drinking. The same goes for a woman, though she would only have to consume four standard alcoholic beverages in that same timeframe. Even though binge drinking occurs in people of all ages, it is extremely common in college students, due to the culture of partying on the weekends.
Despite the misconception that someone cannot be an alcoholic if he or she isn’t drinking every day, those who binge drink put themselves at just as much risk as those who get drunk on a regular basis. Some of the most common consequences associated with binge drinking include the following:
● Increased risk of committing or experiencing sexual assault
● Accidental injuries that range from scrapes and broken bones to car accidents and alcohol poisoning
● Greater likelihood of contracting sexually transmitted diseases due to lowered sexual inhibitions
● Health problems such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and liver disease
● Higher risk for developing cancer in the breast, liver, colon, mouth, and throat
● Problems with memory
It is important to note that people who binge drink are not dependent on alcohol. For this specific type of alcohol abuse, binge drinkers do not require alcohol in order to avoid the onset of withdrawal symptoms or to maintain functionality.
Alcohol abuse is simply defined as continuing to consume alcohol despite the problems that it causes in one’s life. When someone is dealing with alcohol abuse, he or she is typically drinking more frequently than the occasional binge drinking episode. What distinguishes alcohol abuse from binge drinking are the problems that result because of that abuse. For example, a person is struggling with alcohol abuse if his or her drinking causes any or all of the following:
● Drinking while driving (regardless of accidents occurring or not)
● Decrease in performance at work or school
● Neglecting responsibilities
● Getting into legal trouble
When someone is abusing alcohol and continuing to do so despite the repercussions that occur while under the influence, he or she should seek immediate treatment. The longer that the abuse goes on, the faster a person can become dependent on alcohol, which is a more severe type of alcohol abuse.
Someone who is experiencing alcohol dependence is likely going through several physical, emotional, and mental issues related to that dependence. Different from alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence occurs when a person is unable to stop drinking without suffering the onset of withdrawal symptoms like headaches, shakiness, nausea, and vomiting. These withdrawal symptoms indicate that the person’s body is unable to function properly without the presence of alcohol, because it relies on it now.
Those with alcohol dependence experience powerful cravings to keep drinking, continue to drink even though it is making physical and mental issues worse, and become tolerant of the amount of alcohol they consume. Alcohol dependence is a vicious cycle that can be hard to break, which makes receiving treatment even more critical. In some cases, Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is needed.
Keep in mind that all drinking behaviors are connected to one another in the sense that the longer a person takes to receive professional treatment, the more severe his or her drinking can get. For example, someone who begins binge drinking in college can easily go on to abuse alcohol after college. If that abuse goes untreated, he or she can develop an alcohol dependence.
Get Help at JourneyPure Melbourne and End Your Drinking Today
Very rarely do people struggling with an alcohol problem overcome their challenges without some sort of professional intervention. At JourneyPure Melbourne, we can get you the help you need so that you do not have to lose your life to this terrible disease.
Do not wait any longer. Call us right now. At JourneyPure Melbourne, we can help.
Michelle Rosenker is a content writer for JourneyPure where she gets to exercise her journalistic skills by working with different addiction treatment centers nationwide. She has 10 years of experience in the field of addiction treatment and mental health and has written content for some of the country’s most prominent treatment centers and behavioral hospitals. Through her writing, Michelle is proud to continually raise awareness about the disease of addiction and share hope for the future. She lives next to the ocean in Massachusetts with her husband, two young children, and faithful dog.