Alcohol abuse is a pattern of drinking that often results in either of the following situations in a period of 12 months:
- Cannot fulfill major work, school or home responsibilities
- Drinking in physically dangerous situations like driving a car or while operating machinery.
- Often involved in legal problems related to alcohol such as physically hurting someone while under the influence of liquor or traffic violations or accidents while drunk.
- Ongoing problems in relationships are worsened by drinking.
Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse
- Memory loss or temporary blackouts.
- Continuous intake of alcohol to cheer them up, relaxation, to make them sleep, deal with problems or to feel normal.
- Recurring fights or arguments with family members, friends and work associates.
- Headaches, insomnia, nausea, anxiety and other unpleasant manifestation once they cannot drink alcohol.
- Voice becomes husky, broken capillaries appear on the face, flushed skin, trembling hands, bloody or black stool, vomiting blood, chronic diarrhea and health problems that care manifested.
- Drinking secretly or just by themselves.
Alcohol abuse is different from Alcohol dependence. But alcohol abuse can lead to alcoholism or alcohol dependence. It becomes a chronic disease that is often characterized by high level of alcohol consumption that would interfere with mental and physical health and with social and family responsibilities. An alcoholic will not stop drinking even with serious family, health or legal problems.
Almost 14 million Americans are dependent on alcohol. Alcohol problems are highest in younger adults aging from 18 to 29 years old. Adults who are 65 and older have lower alcohol problems. Alcohol affects the health of the person and also affects the people around them.
Alcohol effects differ with age and gender. Older people experience slower reactions, hearing and sight problems and higher risk of falling and other types of injuries. Medication also interacts dangerously with alcohol. Women are more prone to impairment caused by alcohol. More women become alcoholics than men. Medical problems, like heart, brain and liver damage, progress more rapidly on alcoholic women.
Alcohol is part of many people’s lives and will always be part of cultural and family traditions. However, it is sometimes difficult to know when you are beginning to drink too much. It is always advisable to be conscious of your alcohol intake especially when you are in a party or a gathering of friends. It is likewise wise to listen when someone tells you that you have taken in so much.