January 31 | By Rachael
Alcohol abuse is prevalent in the American society, usually in the form of binge drinking and heavy drinking. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines binge drinking as “a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above.” Young adults, generally, are prone to binge drink and sometimes indulge in precarious activities, putting their own and others’ lives at risk.
In colleges, alcohol abuse can cause various problems – affecting the performance of students and increasing the risk of unintentional injuries, including vehicle accidents. It can also increase alcohol-related physical and sexual assaults among students. Approximately, 20 percent college students meet the criteria for AUD, highlights NIAAA.
According to a 2012 study, more than 10 percent U.S. children live with a parent with alcohol addiction. Furthermore, the prevalence of alcohol abuse can be seen among pregnant women as well which is resulting in a rise in cases of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).
The benefits of moderate consumption on health do not outweigh the harmful effects of alcohol misuse. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 15.1 million adults aged 18 years and older had AUD. In fact, early, 88,000 people succumb to alcohol abuse annually, which makes alcohol the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the U.S.
People who have been drinking considerably experience alcohol withdrawal syndrome if they try to reduce its consumption. Minor symptoms like insomnia and trembling to serious complications like seizures and delirium tremens can occur to an individual going through an alcohol withdrawal.
An individual experiencing alcohol withdrawal syndrome experiences various chemical changes in the brain. The neurochemical balance of the brain is maintained by the inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitters. Y-amino-butyric acid (GABA) is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter that acts through the GABA-alpha (GABA-A) neuro-receptor. Alcohol consumption increases the effect of GABA on GABA-A neuro-receptors, leading to overall decrease in brain excitability. After repeated exposure to alcohol, the effect of GABA on GABA-A neuro-receptor starts decreasing, leading to an increase in alcohol tolerance among alcoholics.
Glutamate is another important excitatory neurotransmitter which acts through the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) neuro-receptor. On alcohol consumption, the NMDA neuro-receptor is inhibited. In the case of cessation of alcohol, the brain experiences hyper-excitability as the neuro-receptors are no longer inhibited by alcohol. This can lead to anxiety, irritability, agitation and tremors, while in the most severe cases, it is accompanied with withdrawal seizures and delirium tremens.
The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal usually depend on the volume of alcohol consumed and the time taken by the individual’s recent drinking habit. Minor withdrawal symptoms include insomnia, mild anxiety and tremors. In the most severe withdrawal cases, an individual can experience visual and auditory hallucinations.
Withdrawal seizures are usually observed in patients with a history of repeated detoxification. Alcohol withdrawal delirium or delirium tremens has a mortality rate of 1-5 percent. Episodes of delirium tremens get aggravated when the patient has a coexisting medical illness along with a history of alcohol misuse and withdrawal seizures. Factors like old age, various liver dysfunctions and other withdrawal symptoms can increase the onset of alcohol withdrawal delirium.
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, it is important to seek professional help. Contact the Colorado Alcohol Addiction Help to know about the holistic approach to treatment and the best alcohol addiction treatment centers in Colorado. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-592-9261 or chat online with our medical experts to learn more about alcohol addiction treatment clinic in Colorado. One must not delay the treatment or it can worsen the situation.