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Understanding Alcohol Addiction And Abuse

Typically, when we refer to alcohol, we mean the alcohol present in beer, wine, and spirits. These beverages include alcohol, which is what makes you intoxicated. Additionally, it can be discovered in several medications, mouthwashes, home goods, and essential oils (scented liquid taken from certain plants). 

It is produced through the chemical process of fermentation, which makes use of yeast and sugar. There are various kinds of alcohol. Alcohol used to manufacture alcoholic beverages is known as ethyl alcohol (ethanol). 

Regular or excessive alcohol consumption may raise the chance of developing various cancers, including mouth, throat, esophagus, breast, liver, colon, and rectum.

Like other substances, alcohol has an impact on how your body functions. Unfortunately, it may also be addictive and harmful.

Although drinking a little alcohol can help you feel happier or more at ease, alcohol is actually a depressant. Which means:

Your thoughts, feelings, and behavior will change if your body’s communication with your brain is slowed down.

Composition of drugs

Alcoholic beverages vary in strength (have a higher concentration of alcohol).

  • Alcohol ranges from 0.9% to 6% in beer.
  • Between 12% and 14% in wine.
  • Sherry and port, two fortified wines, have 18% to 20% alcohol.
  • 40% to 50% is found in alcoholic beverages like scotch, rum, vodka, and bourbon.

This means that wine and spirits will impact you more than beer for the same amount of drink.


Hangovers are after-effects caused by drinking an excess of alcohol.

Most hangovers usually start once your blood alcohol level drops closer to zero. In most cases, hangovers linger no more than 24 hours and go on their own. 

Drinking on an empty stomach makes hangovers more likely or may make them worse, so it’s a good idea to eat before and while you consume alcohol. Using additional medications while drinking can cause severe hangovers (smoking nicotine is known to worsen a hangover). 

Alcohol consumption and insufficient sleep can lead to troublesome headaches (alcohol may worsen your sleep which may, in turn, worsen your hangover). In addition, ingesting dark-colored alcohols such as brandy, rum, or whiskey can cause extreme headaches and dreadful hangovers.

Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction or alcoholism is the inability to control drinking due to physical and emotional dependence on alcohol. Alcohol use disorder is a disease. It entails drinking a lot or frequently, even when doing so results in issues, mental anguish, or physical harm. 

In addition, heavy drinking can cause changes in the brain and neurochemistry of an individual. As a result, a person with an alcohol addiction may be unable to control their actions. The severity of this disease, how often someone drinks, and the alcohol they consume varies from person to person.

A person dependent on a substance usually experiences drug tolerance and drug withdrawal:

  • Drug tolerance means that the subject’s body has adapted to the drug’s presence and effects, so it consumes more of the drug to produce the same upshots. 
  • Drug withdrawal occurs when people experience specific physical and psychological symptoms/changes if the use of the substance is instantaneously reduced or suddenly halted.

Alcohol consumption disorder symptoms:

Symptoms include:

  • Blacking out or losing all recollection of events.
  • Consuming alcohol despite the harm or misery it may bring you or others.
  • Exceeding your desired drinking time or amount.
  • Drinking more and more to achieve the same result.
  • Once you start drinking, it’s impossible to stop.
  • Drinking excessively or sobering up after drinking.
  • Being unable to cut back despite wanting to.
  • Experiencing irritability or grumpiness without alcohol.
  • Frequent hangovers.
  • Getting into hazardous situations while intoxicated (for example, driving, Having unsafe sex, or falling).
  • Sacrificing activities to drink.
  • Feeling the need for alcohol.
  • Having ongoing issues with the law, your job, your studies, or your relationships because of your drinking.


Even when we consume a moderate amount of alcohol, practically every component of our brain matter is severely impacted, with ramifications for both the short and long term.

Studies show that alcohol’s effects are particularly dangerous to the developing brain. Alcohol abuse during adolescence and early adulthood can disrupt how the brain develops and cause structural and functional changes to the brain that last a lifetime. 

Short-term effects:

The individual may initially feel at ease, unconstrained, or giddy. However, as they drink more, drunkenness could happen.

Additional indications of drunkenness include:

  • Muddled speech.
  • Awkwardness and erratic stance.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Sensory and perceptual distortion.
  • Consciousness is lost.
  • Absences of memory.
  • Vomiting.
  • Headache.

Long-term effects:

Among the most frequent adverse effects of drinking are:

  • Dangers to developing children.
  • Road and other mishaps.
  • Public and domestic violence.
  • Criminal family disintegration.
  • Social disorder.
  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Diabetes.
  • Nutritional problems.
  • Oral cavity.
  • Obesity and overweight.
  • Liver conditions.
  • Self-harm (suicide).

What stages of alcohol consumption disorder are there?

Alcohol abuse that progresses to a use problem happens over time.

  • At-risk phase: During this time, drinking is done for social purposes, stress relief, or self-improvement. You can begin to grow tolerant of alcohol. Early stages of alcoholism include blackouts, drinking alone or in secret, and excessive alcohol-related thoughts.
  • Mid-stage alcohol use disorder: Your drinking has gotten out of hand and is causing issues in your day-to-day life (work, family, financial, physical, and mental). Lab testing and imaging can reveal organ damage.
  • End-stage alcohol use disorder: Your life now revolves around drinking rather than food, relationships, health, or happiness. Despair, organ damage problems, and death are now imminent.

Withdrawal Symptoms:

12 to 48 hours following your last drink: In this time frame, more severe issues, such as hallucinations, may begin. These issues may include seizures within the first two days after you stop drinking and hallucinations between 12 and 24 hours after you stop. Things that aren’t there can be seen, felt, or heard.

When they reduce or stop drinking, a person with an alcohol use problem may also experience withdrawal symptoms, such as:

  • Shakiness.
  • Sweating.
  • Shakiness.
  • Depression.
  • Irritability.
  • Dry heaves and nausea.
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