Alcohol was legalized in America in the 1930s, and since then there are many people who drink alcohol regularly, without any problems and also many who struggle with alcohol abuse and addiction. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains “ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, is an intoxicating ingredient found in beer, wine, and liquor. Alcohol is produced by the fermentation of yeast, sugars, and starches.” As a central nervous system depressant, alcohol works by slowing down vital functions in one’s body. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism explains that “alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain looks and works.” Still, not everyone who drinks alcohol develops a drinking problem, and not everyone who develops a drinking problem is an alcoholic.
Alcoholism, also known as addiction to alcohol or alcohol use disorder (AUD), is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic brain disorder. Alcohol use disorder is characterized “by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences.” An alcoholic is an individual that is diagnosed with alcohol use disorder. Excessive alcohol use includes binge drinking, heavy drinking, any alcohol use by people under the age 21 minimum legal drinking age, and any alcohol use by pregnant women. According to the Mayo Clinic one standard drink is measured as:
- 12 ounces of regular beer (5% alcohol content)
- 8 – 9 ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content)
- 5 ounces of unfortified wine (12% alcohol content)
- 1.5 ounces of 80-proof hard liquor (40% alcohol content)
Heavy drinking is defined by the CDC as consuming 15 drinks or more per week for men and is defined as consuming 8 drinks or more per week for women. SAMHSA defines heavy alcohol use as binge drinking on 5 or more days in the past month. A National Survey found that nearly one-third of America adults are excessive drinkers, but only 10% of meet the diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorder.
For Information and Support
If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.
Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-258-6792. You are also welcomed to contact anytime us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.