Alcohol is a legal depressant. There are many different types of alcohol, but Ethanol (ethyl alcohol) is the type of alcohol that is used to make alcoholic beverages. The use of Alcohol may not become a problem when used moderately. Moderate use of alcohol is defined as up to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women and older people. A “drink” is defined as 12 oz. of beer or a wine cooler, a 5 oz. glass of wine, or 1.5 oz. of 80 proof distilled spirits.
It’s not always easy to see when drinking has crossed the line from moderate or social use to problem drinking. But if alcohol is consumed to cope with difficulties or to avoid feeling bad, it is potentially dangerous territory. Alcoholism and alcohol abuse can sneak up, so it’s important to be aware of the warning signs.
Effects – You’ve lost control over your drinking. You often drink more alcohol than you wanted to, for longer than you intended, or despite telling yourself you wouldn’t.
You want to quit drinking, but you can’t. You have a persistent desire to cut down or stop your alcohol use, but your efforts to quit have been unsuccessful.
You have given up other activities because of alcohol. You’re spending less time on activities that used to be important to you (hanging out with family and friends, going to the gym, pursuing your hobbies) because of your alcohol use.
Alcohol takes up a great deal of your energy and focus. You spend a lot of time drinking, thinking about it, or recovering from its effects. You have few if any interests or social involvements that don’t revolve around drinking.
You drink even though you know it’s causing problems. For example, you recognize that your alcohol use is damaging your marriage, making your depression worse, or causing health problems, but you continue to drink anyway.
Withdrawal Symptoms – Withdrawal from alcohol can be fatal. Excessive use of alcohol leads to tolerance, physical dependence, and an alcohol withdrawal syndrome. The withdrawal syndrome is largely due to the central nervous system being in a hyper-excitable state. The withdrawal syndrome can include seizures and delirium tremens, which is a state of confusion and hallucinations (usually visual). Agitation, Fever, Convulsions “Black outs” — when the person forgets what happened during the drinking episode
Long-term use – Some problems can occur after drinking over a relatively short period of time. But other problems, such as liver disease, heart disease, certain forms of cancer, and pancreatitis, often develop more gradually and may become evident only after many years of heavy drinking. Women may develop alcohol-related health problems sooner than men, and from drinking less alcohol than men. Because alcohol affects nearly every organ in the body, long-term heavy drinking increases the risk for many serious health problems. Alcoholism is a disease that includes four symptoms: * Craving: A strong need or compulsion to drink. * Loss of control: The inability to limit one’s drinking on any given occasion. * Physical dependence: * Tolerance: The need to drink greater amounts of alcohol in order to “get high.”
Statistics – About one in four premature deaths worldwide can be traced to five preventable health factors — alcohol use, poor childhood nutrition, unsafe sex, bad sanitation and hygiene, and high blood pressure