Understanding Alcohol Use and Abuse
Learn about the risks and effects of alcohol use and abuse, as well as treatment options and support resources.
Alcohol Use and Abuse
Alcohol is a commonly used and socially accepted substance, but it can also lead to serious consequences when misused or abused. Excessive alcohol consumption can have both short-term and long-term effects on physical and mental health, as well as relationships and social functioning. In this article, we'll discuss the risks and effects of alcohol use and abuse, as well as treatment options and support resources.
What is Alcohol Use and Abuse?
Alcohol use refers to the consumption of alcoholic beverages, while alcohol abuse refers to the excessive use of alcohol that can lead to negative consequences. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, binge drinking is a common pattern of alcohol abuse, which is defined as consuming enough alcohol to raise blood alcohol concentration to 0.08% or higher within two hours.
Warning Signs Someone Is Abusing Alcohol?
It's not always easy to tell whether someone has a drinking problem or not. But, there are warning signs that can help detect potential alcohol abuse during its early stages.
It can be quite difficult to identify some of the signs and symptoms, but there are patterns which can help determine whether a person is suffering from this condition or not. Below are some of them:
- Getting intoxicated frequently
- Drinking to the point of blacking out
- Having violent or angry streak while drinking
- Drinking even during risky or dangerous situation
Physical Signs of a Drinking Problem
In addition, excessive drinking may also manifest in a person’s overall physical appearance. Some of the most apparent signs of it are:
- The smell of alcohol on the breath that lingers for hours after heavy drinking
- Broken capillaries or spider veins on face and nose
- An increased appearance of aging and wrinkles
- Yellow eyes and skin due to liver damage
- Having dry skin, brittle hair and nails
- Drastic weight loss
- Poor hygiene
Risks and Effects of Alcohol Use and Abuse
Short-term effects of alcohol use and abuse include impaired judgment, memory loss, mood swings, and slowed reflexes. Drinking excessively can also lead to accidents, injuries, and even death. Long-term effects of alcohol use and abuse include liver damage, high blood pressure, heart disease, and an increased risk of cancer. Chronic alcohol abuse can also lead to addiction, which is a serious and life-threatening condition.
Treatment Options and Prevention Programs for Alcohol Abuse
The treatment of alcohol use and abuse depends on the severity of the problem. Mild to moderate cases may benefit from self-help strategies, such as setting limits on alcohol consumption, avoiding trigger situations, and seeking support from family and friends. For more severe cases, professional help may be necessary, such as counseling, medication, or residential treatment programs.
There are many support resources available for individuals struggling with alcohol use and abuse. Alcoholics Anonymous is a well-known 12-step program that provides peer support and accountability for those in recovery. Other resources include SMART Recovery, Moderation Management, and therapy groups like cognitive-behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing.
Alcohol use and abuse can have serious consequences on physical and mental health, as well as social functioning. Understanding the risks and effects of alcohol consumption can help individuals make informed decisions about their alcohol use and seek help when necessary. With the right treatment and support, recovery from alcohol use and abuse is possible.
Alcohol abuse is associated with chemical brain changes including changes in neurotransmitter and neurocircuitry (prefrontal cortex ventral tegmental area, amygdala, cerebellum, nucleus accumbens) functioning (Herman & Roberto, 2015).
In addition, environmental stressors, genetic predispositions (family history of abuse) also play a role in the likelihood of developing a pattern of addiction. Typically, intensive rehabilitation is required to remediate symptoms of addiction; but for those with a family history and increased risk; early preventative treatment may help build resiliency and reduce potential for addiction in the future.
Serin Center is not a detoxification center, but we provide consultations to people who are interested in getting help for overcoming alcohol abuse.
However, if detox services aren’t needed, we can treat addiction in an intensive outpatient model. We find great success in combining our integrative care model to treat addiction. We find if we lower anxiety and stabilize brain functioning along with introducing intensive successful feeling state addiction protocols, the brain naturally loses its cravings for alcohol (or other substances) and we achieve recovery without a lifelong struggle to not relapse.
- Herman, M. A., & Roberto, M. (2015). The addicted brain: understanding the neurophysiological mechanisms of addictive disorders. Frontiers in Integrated Neuroscience, 9(18), 1-4. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnint.2014.00018
- Warning signs of alcoholism. Alcohol Rehab Guide. (2023, July 13). https://www.alcoholrehabguide.org/alcohol/warning-signs/
This is the perfect time to take control of your life again. Serin Center is more than happy to provide the help you need to recover from alcohol abuse. Our neurohealth clinics in Peoria and Scottsdale, AZ, have state-of-the-art facilities to guide our patients in improving their quality of life.
Experience the power of innovative and effective applied neuroscience therapy for mental and emotional wellness when you visit Serin Center today.
Get in touch with one of our neuropsychologists now! Contact us and let us work together towards upgrading your life and finding the best treatment option for alcohol abuse.