To understand Alcoholism, first you need to understand what Alcohol is.

The chemical formula for alcohol is CH3CH2OH. Alcohol is a common name for ethanol, a flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and is known as the type of alcohol contained in alcoholic beverage. An alcoholic beverage is a drink that contains ethanol. They are legally consumed in most countries around the world. More than 100 countries have laws regulating their production, sale, and consumption.

What most people don’t know:

Alcohol is a drug. Alcoholism is an addiction to alcohol. It is classed as a depressant, meaning that it slows down vital functions. This causes slurred speech, unsteady movement, and an inability to react quickly. It is a drug that reduces a person’s ability to think rationally and distorts his or her judgment.

Although classified as a depressant, the amount of alcohol consumed determines it’s effect. Most people drink a smaller amount for stimulation or to “loosen up”. But at larger amounts, a person then experiences alcohol’s depressant effect. They start to lose coordination and control.

The usual alcohol content for each type of alcohol is:

  • Beer 2–6% alcohol
  • Cider 4–8% alcohol
  • Wine 8–20% alcohol
  • Cough Syrups 1%-20% alcohol
  • Tequila 40% alcohol
  • Rum 40% or more alcohol
  • Brandy 40% or more alcohol
  • Gin 40–47% alcohol
  • Whiskey 40–50% alcohol
  • Vodka 40–50% alcohol
  • Liqueurs 15–60% alcohol

What is an alcoholic or alcoholism?

An alcoholic is a man or a woman who suffers from alcoholism– they have a distinct physical desire to consume alcohol beyond their capacity to control it, regardless of all rules or consequences. An alcoholic is a person, while alcoholism is an illness. An alcoholic suffers from alcoholism. Alcoholism is a disease.

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Signs and symptoms of alcoholism

  • You have problems getting to work or school on time or at all because of your drinking.
  • You drink in risky situations, such as before or while driving a car.
  • After drinking, you can’t remember what happened while you were drinking..
  • You have legal problems because of your drinking.
  • You get hurt or you hurt someone else when you are drinking.
  • You keep drinking even though you have health problems that are caused or made worse by alcohol use.
  • Your friends or family members are worried about your drinking.
  • You cannot quit drinking or control how much you drink.
  • You need to drink more to get the same effect.
  • You have withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking.
  • You spend a lot of time drinking and recovering.
  • You have given up other activities so you can drink.
  • You keep drinking even though it harms your relationships.
  • You drink in the morning or drink alone.
  • You change what you drink, such as switching from beer to wine because you think that doing this will help you drink less.
  • You feel guilty after drinking.
  • You make excuses for your drinking or do things to hide your drinking.
  • You worry that you won’t get enough alcohol.
  • You have physical signs of alcohol dependence, such as weight loss, a sore or upset stomach. or redness of the nose and cheeks.

Signs of alcoholism in children and teens can be different than the ones for adults.

  • Red eyes and health complaints, such as being overly tired.
  • Less interest in school, a drop in grades, and school.
  • New friends who have little interest in their families or school activities.
  • Chemical-soaked rags, which may mean that your teen is inhaling vapors. Also paint or other stains on your teen’s clothing, hands, or face.

Are you addicted to alcohol?

The CAGE Test for Alcohol Addiction

This simple test is surprisingly accurate. Answer yes or no to each question.

  1. Have you ever felt you should Cut down on your drinking?
  2. Have you ever been Annoyed when people have commented on your drinking?
  3. Have you ever felt Guilty or badly about your drinking?
  4. Have you ever had an Eye opener first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover?

Score one point for each yes answer:

  • If you scored 1, there is an 80% chance you’re addicted to alcohol.
  • If you scored 2, there is an 89% chance you’re addicted to alcohol.
  • If you scored 3, there is a 99% chance you’re addicted to alcohol.
  • If you scored 4, there is a 100% chance you’re addicted to alcohol.

What is Moderate Alcohol Use?

  • The US guidelines suggest no more than 1 drink per day for women and no more than 2 drinks per day for men.
  • The WHO guidelines suggest no more than 2 drinks per day, and no more than 5 drinking days per week. They also suggest at least 2 non-drinking days per week.
  • Moderate alcohol consumption will not generally cause any psychological or physical harm. However, for some individuals, social drinking eventually leads to heavier alcohol consumption.

How Big is a Drink?

A standard drink is defined as 14 grams of pure alcohol according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.

  • 1 can of beer (12 oz or 330 ml) at 5% alcohol is one drink
  • 1 glass of wine (5 oz or 140 ml) at 12% alcohol is one drink
  • 1 shot of liquor (1.5 oz or 40 ml) at 40% alcohol is one drink

What are you risking with alcoholism?

Short term effects:

  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach
  • Headaches
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Distorted vision and hearing
  • Impaired judgment
  • Decreased perception and coordination
  • Unconsciousness
  • Anemia
  • Coma
  • Blackouts

Long term effects:

  • Unintentional injuries such as car crash, falls, burns, drowning
  • Intentional injuries such as firearm injuries, sexual assault, domestic violence
  • Increased on-the-job injuries and loss of productivity
  • Increased family problems
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • High blood pressure, stroke, and other heart-related diseases
  • Liver disease
  • Nerve damage
  • Sexual problems
  • Permanent damage to the brain
  • Vitamin B1 deficiency, which can lead to a disorder characterized by amnesia, apathy and disorientation
  • Ulcers
  • Gastritis
  • Malnutrition
  • Cancer of the mouth and throat

Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal is very dangerous and can result in death! It is very important to withdraw from alcohol under the supervision of a doctor at a detox or detoxification center! Alcohol withdrawal symptoms usually occur within 5 – 10 hours after the last drink. Symptoms get worse in 48 – 72 hours, and may persist for weeks. People who are addicted to alcohol, or who drink heavily on a regular basis and cannot gradually cut down, are at high risk for Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome (AWS). At a detox facility, a doctor can monitor your condition and manage any complications. You may require IV fluids to prevent dehydration and medication to help ease your symptoms.

Common symptoms include:

  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Depression
  • Not thinking clearly
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Jumpiness or shakiness
  • Mood swings
  • Nightmares

Other symptoms may include:

  • Clammy skin
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Tremor of the hands or other body parts

A severe form of alcohol withdrawal called delirium tremens can cause:

  • Agitation
  • Extreme confusion and agitation
  • Fever
  • Seizures
  • Tactile hallucinations (itching, burning, and numbness)
  • Auditory hallucinations (hearing non-existent sounds)
  • Visual hallucinations (seeing non-existent images)

Medication during withdrawal

Symptoms of AWS are often treated with sedatives or benzodiazapine. Once withdrawal is complete, additional medications and supplements may be needed to address complications and nutritional deficiencies that occur as a result of chronic alcohol use. People with AWS can recover fully! If you stop drinking and get treatment, the outlook is good!

Please understand, if AWS has advanced to delirium tremens, it can be fatal. If you have decided to withdrawal from alcohol, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. The faster you begin treatment, the better your chances are of avoiding life-threatening complications.

You are not alone!

In the US, 15% of Americans are “problem drinkers”, while between 5% to 10% of male and 3% to 5% of female drinkers could be diagnosed as alcohol dependent. The World Health Organization (WHO) says there are at least 140 million alcoholics in the world; unfortunately, the majority of them are not treated. A US study estimated that about 30% of Americans report having an alcohol disorder at some time in their lives. A Canadian study found that alcohol is a factor in 1 in 25 deaths worldwide. Revive Wellness and Detox can place you into a treatment center with others just like you. Recovery is easier when you are not alone. Call today to hear your options!

A Recovery Plan

First things first. Clear the cloud in your head at a detox or a detoxification center. If you are scared of withdrawal, don’t let it hold you back! We have many detoxification centers that can help you through withdrawal in the safest, most comfortable way. Remember the alcohol is not the problem, it is the symptom. It is best to choose an alcohol treatment center to go to following alcohol detox to help you find the problem.

Revive Recovery can put you in a place with other people just like you so don’t have to go through this process alone. Revive Wellness and Detox will put you in an alcohol rehabilitation center that will help you heal your wounds and help you to cope with your feelings in a healthy way.

When completing an alcohol treatment program, you should leave there with an after plan! Many people go into a halfway house following their rehabilitation. Call Revive Wellness and Detox, we offer a full continuum of care from Detoxification, treatment, intensive outpatient treatment (IOP), to halfway housing/ sober living and outpatient treatment.

Revive Wellness and Detox doesn’t only put you in detox, treatment, and sober living, we also help you get involved and active with an accountability group, church group, or a 12 step group. We don’t want to see you get caught up in the vicious alcoholic cycle. Our main goal is your success!