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Alcoholism is a permanent nightmare, not a temporary hangover

Alcoholism is a permanent nightmare, not a temporary hangover

November 24 | By Rachael

People drink alcohol in every country in the world, even in countries where it is forbidden. Unfortunately, alcoholism is also a problem in every single country. Alcoholism causes long-term effects on both body and mind. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that in 2015, approximately 15.7 million people aged 12 or older in the United States had an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

In extreme cases of alcohol abuse, the road to recovery may seem insurmountable. However, treatment and help and support from friends and family, along with support groups can help a person back to sobriety and control of their life.

Alcoholism: When does the transition begin?

One should be aware that the consumption of alcohol can be harmful even taken in small amounts. Even if alcohol is consumed within limits (this can differ from person to person), it  is metabolized by the liver. Casual drinkers may gradually transition to binge drinking or heavy drinking. Craving for alcohol is linked to different neurotransmitter systems such as GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), glutamate and dopamine receptors. Dopamine, the neurotransmitter responsible for the brain’s pleasure and reward receptor causes drinkers to be elated after a couple of drinks. This effect can lead to dependence, causing drinkers to indulge in ever-increasing amounts of  alcohol .

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a typical drink contains 0.6 ounces (14 grams or 1.2 tablespoons) of undiluted alcohol. The same amount of undiluted alcohol is found in:

  • 12 ounces of beer (5 percent alcohol content).
  • 5 ounces of wine (12 percent alcohol content).
  • 8 ounces of malt liquor (7 percent alcohol content)
  • 5 ounces of 80-proof (40 percent alcohol content) distilled spirits or liquors such as gin, whisky or vodka)

Understanding excessive drinking

Excessive drinking includes “at risk” drinking or heavy drinking. It also includes any liquor consumption by pregnant women or minors. Binge drinking is a common form of excessive drinking.

According to HHS and the USDA, the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, “at risk” or heavy drinking for men is defined as consuming 15 or more drinks per week. For women it is defined as consuming 8 or more drinks per week.

Similarly, binge drinking is defined as 5 or more drinks during a single session for men and 4 or more drinks during a single occasion for women. A single session is understood to be approximately two hours.

Exposure to risks

The effects of alcohol consumption can have an immediate effect on both short and long-term health. Problems with alcohol run the gamut from mild to severe. Those who are unable to rein in their habit of drinking are at risk of developing alcohol use disorder (AUD) even when they are abstaining. Heavy drinking also elevates the risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, cancer (of the mouth, throat, breast, colon, liver), memory problems and mental health disorders. Continuous abuse affects not only the drinker but also the lives of friends and family members.

Road to recovery

Any kind of addiction is detrimental to an individual’s health. If you or a loved one is addicted to alcohol and is in need of treatment, contact the Colorado Alcohol Addiction Help for more information. You may call in our 24/7 helpline number 866-592-9261 to know more about the best alcohol treatment in Colorado, offering a biopsychosocial assessment of an individual and a holistic approach to alcohol addiction treatment in Colorado. You can also chat online with our treatment advisors with any questions and receive assistance in locating the best alcohol addiction treatment clinic in Colorado.

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