Alcohol addiction is more common than most people realize. Because it is legal for adults over the age of 21 to consume, and because of its vast availability, it’s not difficult to access and drink frequently.
It’s also incredibly easy to become addicted to it because if how communally acceptable it is, and the regularity at which it is consumed in both social settings and at home. Alcohol is viewed as being a regular part of having a good time.
However, the effects of alcoholic beverages depend on which type is consumed and how much, as well as individual body chemistry. A variety of things can happen to a person who drinks alcohol, including but not limited to decreased inhibitions, an increase in courage, a lack of coordination, slurred speech, extreme hangovers, and the complete loss of consciousness and memories of the previous hours.
The Effects of Beer
Alcohol comes in a variety of forms, but beer is one of the most common types. It is made from fermented grain and has an alcohol content of 2 to 12 percent, which is the lowest of the most popular alcoholic drinks.
Drinkers abuse beer because it is affordable and perceived as a very social beverage.College drinking games usually involve consuming large quantities of beer, usually from a keg. The tradition continues in the workplace as well, with coworkers often meeting for after-work “happy hours” on discounted beers. The rise of craft beer, which tends to have a higher alcohol content, is a hobby for many as well. People who consume beer in any of these situations can easily lapse into alcoholism, often before they realize that it has crossed over from a social activity to an addiction.
The Effects of Wine
Wine comes from fermented grapes and generally contains more alcohol by volume than beer. A 5-ounce glass of wine contains about the same amount of alcohol as a 12-ounce can of beer. Society tends to view wine as a classier drink than beer. However, it’s easy to consume far more than 5 ounces of wine in one sitting, which can lead to getting drunk more quickly.
Despite the smaller serving size, wine drinkers can become addicted to the alcohol within it just as they would with any otherdrink. Women are the majority consumers of wine, while men are the majority consumers of beer. Moreover, women are at an increased risk of health problems from alcohol addiction because of their lower body mass and water content than their male counterparts.
The Effects of Liquor
Liquor is made from other fermented substances, such as grain or potatoes. Types of alcohol include rum, whiskey, tequila, vodka, and gin. Because liquor has much higher alcohol by volume content, it is consumed in smaller quantities. One serving of liquor is only 1.5 ounces, which many people drink mixed with something else like juice or soda.
The way liquor is consumed often makes it more dangerous than other drinks. Drinking liquor with soda intensifies its effects. Many people also consume liquor in the form of a shot, in which they drink an ounce or two of liquor without any mixer, and often in one fell swoop. When people consume several shots in a row, they can become intoxicated quickly.
Binge Drinking and Alcohol Poisoning
Binge drinking is a common activity for young people. It is considered a binge when five or more alcoholic drinks are consumed within two hours for men or four or more drinks for women.
Binge drinking can easily lead to alcohol poisoning. When the blood alcohol content becomes too high, it can be toxic and lead to a coma or even death. If someone is passed out from alcohol use, it’s important to stay with them because they could choke on their vomit or die. Seek emergency treatment immediately; don’t just wait for them to sleep off the effects.
Alcohol and Other Drugs
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, which means it slows down breathing and heart rates. Alcohol is especially dangerous because it can be fatal when consumed with other drugs. When a person takes a medication that also depresses the central nervous system, such as Xanax or Vicodin, drinking alcohol can cause a fatal interaction.
Many of these deaths are deemed accidental overdoses because most people do not expect that the combination will kill them. However, this is a significant risk because both medications and alcohol increase the likelihood of risk-taking behaviors.
While most would envision an alcoholic to be a homeless person on the street, the reality is often much different. Thousands of people are so-called functional alcoholics. They can drink heavily and hold down a job. Many even have successful, high-powered careers, in which their drinking is a secret from everyone. A functional alcoholic often shows no signs of intoxication, no matter how much they drink, as they have a very high alcohol tolerance.
Most functional alcoholics consume large quantities of alcohol daily. However, even the people closest to them may not realize how much they’re drinking. The ability to function well and be successful at a job does not mean that functional alcoholism is harmless. The effects of heavy consumption can take a significant toll on health over time, leading to liver damage and increasing the risks of cancer.
How Alcohol Rehabilitation Can Help
Alcohol abuse and addiction is a widespread problem in society. Millions of Americans are believed to be struggling with alcohol or drug addiction. Recovering from alcoholism is not as simple as just deciding to stop, especially in cases of advanced alcoholism. Abruptly quitting drinking can be fatal, particularly for people who consume large quantities every day. The body becomes hugely dependent on alcohol, and such individuals must go through a medically supervised detox program.
Anyone can have a problem with alcohol. From teenagers to successful people in business, alcohol addiction touches all segments of society. You can’t beat it on your own, but you can recover with the right help. Alcohol rehabilitation can help you initially break the physical dependence on alcohol. Follow-up programs, including participation in 12-Step programs, can help you stay sober. A healthier, alcohol-free future awaits.