The Dangers of Alcohol Abuse

24. November 2015

Alcohol is one of the most commonly used legal drugs. People worldwide consume alcohol on a daily basis, and it is a drug you can partake in frequently without anyone raising an eyebrow at you.

Alcohol is firmly rooted in culture and tradition. People toast with alcohol to celebrate marriages.  Alcohol is often part of other celebrations, such as birthdays, anniversaries, retirements and promotions. Alcohol is prominently featured at sporting events and can be found tagging along with people when they camp, barbecue and fish.

Becoming the legal drinking age is a highly anticipated event and somewhat of a right of passage.

When a friend wants to console someone, congratulate someone or get to know someone better, he or she will offer a drink. People discuss business over drinks and make plans over drinks. It’s no wonder, then, that nearly 20 million people in the country have a problem with alcohol.

Because alcohol is legal and socially acceptable, it may not be easy to tell if you have a problem with alcohol abuse. How can you even tell? And, what is alcohol abuse?

What Constitutes Alcohol Abuse?

Alcohol abuse isn’t about the amount of alcohol you drink, what type of alcohol or when or how often you drink it.

Alcohol Abuse

Each person is different and metabolizes alcohol differently and responds to alcohol differently. It’s more about how the alcohol is affecting you, how you use alcohol and how it affects your life and the lives of those around you.

Are you drinking to “fix” the way you feel? Are you drinking to the point of getting sick or passing out? Are you driving or operating machinery while you are drinking, or under the influence of alcohol? Are you drinking while taking prescription medication, or drinking even though you have been advised by a doctor not to? These are some examples of potential alcohol abuse.

What else might constitute a problem with alcohol or alcohol abuse? If you find that you can’t remember what you do when you drink, or you find that you are getting in fights or having conflicts with people when you drink, that is something you should look at. If you find that people are complaining about your behavior when you drink, that also deserves some investigation.

What Are The Short And Long Term Effects Of Alcohol Abuse?

Alcohol has a variety of short and long-term effects on physical and mental health. While an occasional drink doesn’t seem to pose a problem, regular, long-term consumption can be. Even if you aren’t getting drunk when you drink, you could still be compromising your health.

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. When consumed, it has a relaxing effect on the body and mind. After as little as one drink, depending on individual factors like weight, tolerance and physiology, a person can experience a sense of relaxation and well-being, a loosening of inhibitions. skewed and lax judgment, a false sense of confidence and mildly altered perceptions of time and vision. In other words, you feel great.

If alcohol is consumed in larger quantities, you may experience increased dizziness, slowed respiration, increased nausea that leads to vomiting, mood changes that can include depression, anxiety and agitation, and a loss of consciousness.

When people drink alcohol, they also experience slowed motor skills, blurred vision and a lack of coordination. This is why it is illegal to drive while under the influence of alcohol. Even a couple of drinks can slow coordination enough to cause a fatal car accident. This happens every day.

Basically, alcohol use causes a wide variety of physical and social consequences when abused. These consequences can occur in both the long and short term and can affect you and your family.

Some short-term health consequences can include accident or injury, sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy.

Longer term health consequences can be quite severe. Alcohol affects every organ in the body. Liver and heart disease, respiratory problems, kidney problems, cancer and diabetes are some common problems found in heavy and sometimes even moderate drinkers.

Alcohol has a profound effect on the developing fetus and drinking alcohol while pregnant can cause a wide variety of birth defects and other problems known as fetal alcohol syndrome.

How Do You Know When You Need Help?

If you are wondering whether you have an alcohol problem, or if someone you love does, there are some signs that can indicate a problem. These are common red flags, and while you may not have all of them, answering yes to even a couple of these is a good sign that alcohol abuse is an issue.

  • You drink every day.
  • You often drink more than you intended to.
  • You need more alcohol to produce the same effect. In other words, you have had to increase the amount of alcohol needed to get a good “buzz.”
  • Alcohol does not affect you the same way it always has.
  • You want to keep drinking after your friends want to stop.
  • You frequently get sick and/or pass out when you drink.
  • You find yourself having to apologize for things you did/said while you were drinking.
  • You avoid social events where alcohol will not be served.
  • You find yourself lying about how much you are drinking.
  • People have come to you with concerns about your drinking.
  • You have tried to quit drinking but haven’t been able to.

Alcohol becomes a problem when it starts to interfere with daily life and relationships.

Getting Help For Alcohol Abuse

If you are concerned about your alcohol use, it helps to talk to someone. People are often hesitant to speak openly about addiction for fear of judgment or out of shame or embarrassment. Addiction is a medically recognized condition and it is something you can speak freely about with your doctor or medical care provider.


Options for treatment often include rehab. Inpatient or residential treatment centers are one of the best-known solutions for overcoming alcohol abuse and getting your life on track again. Alcohol abuse can steal your dreams, your security and your family from you. Treatment can help you reclaim your life.

How To Help A Loved One

One of the things that make alcohol addiction so insidious is that people often don’t recognize that they have a problem. The worse the problem is, the harder it may be to break the denial so that help is possible.

If you are the family member or loved one of someone caught in the grips of alcohol addiction it can be incredibly frustrating and frightening to watch them hurt themselves and others. You may feel helpless and angry and not know what to do.

One option is an alcohol abuse intervention. Interventions are effective and 90% of the time end with the person getting help. Sometimes the best way to help is to bring in an objective third party. An intervention specialist comes in and helps the entire family, bringing support, compassion and solutions to help your loved one and your family get back to normal. Call Intervention Services, Inc. at 1-877-478-4621 today to find out more.