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Adult Alcohol Abuse

Alcoholism is the result of physical and psychological dependence that creates negative consequences in one’s life and becomes a chronic neurobiological, yet treatable, disease. Treatment often involves participation in programs offered at an alcohol rehab center.

A standard drink
There are measurements for a standard drink, but not every beer, glass of wine or shot of liquor has the same alcohol content. Regular beer has 5% alcohol while light beers contain slightly less. Examples of a standard drink include:

  • 12 oz. beer (about 5 percent alcohol)
  • 8-9 oz. of malt liquor (about 7 percent alcohol)
  • 5 oz. of table wine (about 12 percent alcohol)
  • 1.5 oz. shot of 80-proof liquor (about 40 percent alcohol)

Some people who drink alcohol are at risk of more serious problems than the average user including:

  • Pregnant women
  • Those with mental health problems
  • Those taking medications that could interfere with alcohol
  • Anyone who also is taking illegal drugs

What is alcoholism and alcohol abuse?
Professional assessments can help you or someone you love determine the extent of a drinking problem. If you are experiencing some consequences of drinking, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you missing work or dropping other responsibilities because of drinking?
  • Are you having relationship problems and fights when drinking?
  • Are you often sick or experience numerous hangovers?
  • Do you need to or want to have a nap every day?
  • Do you have hours of  “blackouts” in which you don’t remember what you said or did?
  • Are you unable to drive because of being inebriated?
  • Do you only want to associate with those who drink, or only go out to eat where they serve alcohol?
  • Do you experience cravings for a drink?
  • Have people mentioned a concern about your drinking?
  • Do you hide the fact that you are drinking or hide alcohol?

Alcohol abuse has serious health risks.
Women become addicted to alcohol faster and with more serious health and mental consequences than men, while men suffer from alcoholism at higher rates. Alcohol affects every organ in the body and can cause cognitive loss, as well as these disease conditions:

  • Heart
    • Cardiomyopathy, in which the heart muscle is stretched
    • Stroke
    • High blood pressure
  • Pancreatitis
  • Liver
    • Fatty liver, the most common alcohol-related liver condition
    • Fibrosis, which can lead to cirrhosis
    • Alcoholic hepatitis
  • It is directly related to breast, liver, esophagus, larynx, pharynx cancers and is instrumental in other cancers.
  • Smoking exacerbates the negative health effects of alcohol consumption.