อาการเมาสุรา

Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: What Are the Differences?

What are alcohol abuse and alcoholism?

Alcohol affects people in different ways. Some people can enjoy a glass of wine with food and drink moderate amounts of alcohol in social settings without any problems. Having one or fewer drinks per day for women and two or fewer drinks per day for men is considered moderate drinking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionTrusted Source .

Drinking alcohol too much or too often, or being unable to control alcohol consumption, can be a sign of a larger problem. Two different issues that some people can develop are alcohol abuse or alcoholism, also known as alcohol dependency.

These terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but there are marked differences. People who abuse alcohol drink too much on occasion and their drinking habits often result in risky behavior and poor judgment. But alcohol abusers generally aren’t dependent on alcohol. Alcoholism, on the other hand, means a person needs alcohol to get through their day.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says that about 18 million people in the United States struggle with alcohol use disorders. These disorders can be disruptive and life-threatening.

Alcohol abuse and alcoholism can cause serious health conditions. Alcohol worsens certain disorders, such as osteoporosis. It can lead to certain cancers. Alcohol abuse also makes it difficult to diagnose other health issues, such as heart disease. This is due to the way alcohol affects the circulatory system.

A high concentration of alcohol in the blood causes symptoms, such as:

  • slurred speech
  • slowing of reflexes
  • a decreased ability to control bodily movements
  • difficulty concentrating
  • gaps in memory, or brownouts
  • poor decision-making abilities
  • risky behavior
  • staying conscious but not having memory of your actions, which is called a blackout

Very high concentrations of alcohol in the blood can cause breathing problems, coma, or death.

Many people use alcohol with no ill effects. But anyone can experience its effects, such as illness, vomiting, or hangovers.

Drinking alcohol can also lead to:

  • accidents
  • falls
  • drowning
  • fighting
  • suicide

You shouldn’t attempt to drive or operate heavy machinery while under the effects of alcohol.

The symptoms of alcoholism include:

  • a strong desire or craving to drink
  • an inability to control cravings
  • an inability to stop drinking
  • an increased tolerance for alcohol
  • lying about drinking
  • attempting to drink without others knowing
  • an inability to get through everyday activities without drinking

The symptoms of alcohol abuse include:

  • drinking to relax
  • driving under the influence of alcohol
  • problems with family and friends because of drinking
  • neglecting responsibilities
  • having legal problems because of alcohol

People who abuse alcohol may deny a problem, but there are ways to recognize alcohol abuse in others. People who abuse alcohol may drink often and experience family, work, or school problems because of drinking. However, they may downplay their drinking or lie about the amount of alcohol they consume.

For some people, alcohol abuse and alcoholism results from psychological or social factors. They may drink to calm down or loosen up in social settings. Others use alcohol to cope with psychological issues or stress in their daily lives.

Alcohol abuse and alcoholism may also run in families. However, genetics doesn’t guarantee a problem with alcohol. The exact causes of alcohol abuse and alcoholism are often unknown.

Alcohol abuse is more common at certain points in life. Males, college students, and people going through serious life events or trauma are more likely to abuse alcohol.

People who experience the following are also more likely to deal with their problems with alcohol:

  • depression
  • loneliness
  • emotional stress
  • boredom

This is dangerous because alcohol abuse can lead to alcoholism. This is because alcohol tolerance levels can gradually increase. Some people start to drink more and more with each passing day.

HEALTHLINE RESOURCE
COVID-19: How we’re finding hope in the heartache

We’re sharing five stories of how people like you coped with the challenges of the pandemic. Learn how they built resilience and found joy over the past year, and get tips for your own life, too.

Enter your email

Your privacy is important to us

Alcoholism and alcohol abuse are diagnosable conditions when they:

  • impact relationships
  • cause harm or injury
  • have a negative effect on your quality of life

Diagnosing alcohol abuse can be subjective. Concerned family and friends often try and help the person realize their drinking is out of control, although they might not believe it.

Your doctor may ask you about drinking habits and health history. They may also use blood tests to assess your overall health, paying special attention to areas of the body most impacted by alcohol, including the brain and other parts of the nervous system, as well as the heart and liver.

Many people with alcoholism continue to drink even when they develop health problems related to drinking. Loved ones sometimes notice a problem before the person does. It’s important that the person dependent on alcohol acknowledges their problem. Unless the person acknowledges that they have a problem, treatment will not be successful as the person will not take treatment seriously and most likely will not benefit from treatment offered.

Alcohol abuse can have short-term and long-term effects, such as alcohol poisoning, sexual dysfunction, and liver damage.

The short-term and long-term effects of alcoholism include brain damage, cirrhosis, and an increased risk of heart disease.

Alcohol withdrawal

Someone with alcohol dependence who stops drinking may have withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • nausea
  • shaking
  • sweating
  • irritability
  • anxiety

Alcohol withdrawal can be a medical emergency. Seek medical help right away if someone experiences:

  • seizures
  • severe vomiting
  • hallucinations
  • fevers

If you have alcoholism and a history of withdrawal symptoms, see a doctor before quitting. You should also see a doctor before quitting alcohol if you have other health conditions.

The treatment for alcohol abuse and alcoholism focuses on helping you learn ways to control the disease. Most people who recover from alcoholism have to abstain from alcohol because drinking alcohol in moderation is too hard for them. Abstinence is often the only way to manage the disease.

Treatment involves helping people understand their alcohol dependency and any problems in their life. It also involves a commitment to staying sober or practicing healthier drinking habits. Recovery from alcohol dependence can be a long process.

Treatment for alcohol abuse often includes therapy, learning new coping skills, and finding healthy ways to manage stress.

Medications

Doctors sometimes prescribe medications to reduce the symptoms of withdrawal. Other medications can help you quit drinking by blocking the feeling of intoxication or making you feel sick when alcohol enters your body. Medication can also help reduce cravings.

Support groups

Having support and seeking professional treatment increases chances for recovery from alcohol dependence. Groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) provide support for people who are recovering.

People who abuse alcohol and people with alcoholism are at increased risk for health problems, such as:

  • cancer
  • mental health issues
  • liver problems
  • brain damage
  • a weakened immune system

Even people who complete treatment have a risk of relapse. It’s important to recognize warning signs and seek help if you’re concerned about having a relapse. Continued therapy and support help minimize this risk.


What is alcohol abuse?

Alcohol abuse, also called alcohol misuse is a serious problem. It is a pattern of drinking too much alcohol too often. It interferes with your daily life. You may be suffering from alcohol abuse if you drink too much alcohol at one time or too often throughout the week. It also is a problem if you can’t stop drinking and it harms your relationships. It can cause you to be unable to function at work and in other areas of your life.

Read More

Alcohol abuse can lead to physical dependency on alcohol, or alcoholism. Too much alcohol at one time also can lead to alcohol poisoning. One alcoholic drink is defined as a 12-ounce bottle of beer; a 5-ounce glass of wine; or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits (such as whiskey, rum, or tequila).

You are abusing alcohol when:

  • You drink 7 drinks per week or more than 3 drinks per occasion (for women).
  • You drink more than 14 drinks per week or more than 4 drinks per occasion (for men).
  • You have more than 7 drinks per week or more than 3 drinks per occasion (for men and women older than 65).
  • Consuming these amounts of alcohol harms your health, relationships, work, and/or causes legal problems.

Symptoms of alcohol abuse

  • You have tried stopping using alcohol for a week or more, but can’t make it past a few days.
  • You can’t stop drinking once you start.
  • You recognize you need to stop or cut back.
  • You are unable to perform at work or home when you are drinking.
  • You feel guilty after drinking.
  • Others are telling you that you have a problem.
  • You feel annoyed by criticism of your drinking.
  • You have a drink in the morning to get yourself going after drinking too much the night before.
  • You have physically hurt someone else or yourself after drinking too much. This could be due to accidents or violence.
  • You hide your drinking or your alcohol.
  • You have blackouts and memory lapses after drinking too much.
  • You are depressed.
  • You are getting traffic or driving tickets while under the influence of alcohol.
  • Your drinking is interfering with your relationships.
  • Your hands are shaking.

Alcohol affects your health in other ways, too. It can cause cirrhosis, a disease of the liver. It’s a significant cause of deaths and injuries because of accidents. It can damage your baby’s health if you drink alcohol during pregnancy. It can cause a bleeding ulcer and irritate the lining of your stomach. Alcohol also can cause you to gain weight, feel sick or dizzy, cause you to have bad breath, and make your skin break out.

RELATED TOPICS

What causes alcohol abuse?

People abuse alcohol for many reasons. It may be due to social pressure, a desire to relax, a coping mechanism for anxietydepression, tension, loneliness, self-doubt or unhappiness, or a family history of abusing alcohol.

How is alcohol abuse diagnosed?

Many people who are abusing alcohol will hear from family and friends that they have a problem. Generally, doctors believe a person is abusing alcohol when:

  • Repeated use of alcohol interferes with your responsibilities at work, home, or school.
  • Repeated use of alcohol puts you or someone else in physical danger (driving, operating machinery, mixing alcohol and medicine, drinking alcohol while pregnant).
  • Repeated alcohol use leads to legal problems.
  • Repeated alcohol use harms your relationships.

Can alcohol abuse be prevented or avoided?

If you have a family history of alcoholism or alcohol abuse, you may have to work harder at resisting or limiting alcohol. Other ways to reduce your alcohol consumption include:

  • Limit yourself to one drink when by yourself or with friends.
  • Seek treatment for underlying mental health conditions.
  • Avoid spending time with others who abuse alcohol.
  • Talk to your doctor.
  • Consider joining a support group made up of others facing the same challenge.

Your doctor may screen for alcohol abuse. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) recommends screening adults aged 18 years or older for alcohol misuse. Also, AAFP recommends teaching teens between 12 and 17 years old to avoid alcohol.

Alcohol abuse treatment

If you are the one suffering from alcohol abuse, the first step is recognizing you need help. Many studies show that people struggling with alcohol abuse can benefit from some form of treatment. However, everyone is different. Not all treatments work the same for every person. The sooner a person seeks treatment, the better the outcome.

Behavioral therapy can be used to treat alcohol abuse. Therapy can take the form of support groups, counseling, or a combination of the two. Some prescription medicines can treat alcohol abuse by helping people stop or reduce their drinking. As with all medicines, some might cause side effects.

Once you have found a treatment that is effective for you, it’s important to stick to that treatment. Also, it’s helpful to avoid situations that involve a lot of alcohol.

Living with alcohol abuse

Living with alcohol abuse means recognizing the triggers that make you want to drink. For example, hanging around with others who drink will make it difficult for you. You may be experiencing stress or unhappiness in your life and don’t have a counselor or friend to talk with. This could cause you to turn to alcohol to help you cope.

Living with alcohol abuse will continue to be a struggle if you do not recognize that you need help. You will continue to jeopardize your safety, your job or school, and your relationships.

Questions to ask your doctor

  • Can alcohol abuse begin when you are elderly?
  • Will prescription medicines used for alcohol abuse interact with other medicines I take for my health?
  • Can I take antidepressant medicine while being treated for alcohol abuse?
  • Can I drink occasionally if I am suffering from alcohol abuse and can stop after one drink?
  • What are the signs and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal?

Funding provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cooperative agreement number NU84DD000010.

Last Updated: July 23, 2019

This article was contributed by: 

Categories: 


https://familydoctor.org/condition/alcohol-abuse/

Overview-Alcohol misuse

Contents

  1. Overview
  2. Risks
  3. Treatment

Alcohol misuse is when you drink in a way that's harmful, or when you're dependent on alcohol. To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level, both men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week.

A unit of alcohol is 8g or 10ml of pure alcohol, which is about:

  • half a pint of lower to normal-strength lager/beer/cider (ABV 3.6%)
  • a single small shot measure (25ml) of spirits (25ml, ABV 40%)

A small glass (125ml, ABV 12%) of wine contains about 1.5 units of alcohol.

Find out more about alcohol units

Low-risk drinking advice

To keep your risk of alcohol-related harm low:

  • men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week on a regular basis
  • if you drink as much as 14 units a week, it's best to spread this evenly over 3 or more days
  • if you're trying to reduce the amount of alcohol you drink, it's a good idea to have several alcohol-free days each week
  • if you're pregnant or trying to become pregnant, the safest approach is to not drink alcohol at all to keep risks to your baby to a minimum

Regular or frequent drinking means drinking alcohol most days and weeks.

The risk to your health is increased by drinking any amount of alcohol on a regular basis.

Risks of alcohol misuse

Short term

The short-term risks of alcohol misuse include:

  • accidents and injuries requiring hospital treatment, such as a head injury
  • violent behaviour and being a victim of violence
  • unprotected sex that could potentially lead to unplanned pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • loss of personal possessions, such as wallets, keys or mobile phones
  • alcohol poisoning – this may lead to vomiting, fits (seizures) and falling unconscious

People who binge drink (drink heavily over a short period of time) are more likely to behave recklessly and are at greater risk of being in an accident.

Long term

Persistent alcohol misuse increases your risk of serious health conditions, including:

As well as causing serious health problems, long-term alcohol misuse can lead to social problems for some people, such as unemployment, divorce, domestic abuse and homelessness.

If someone loses control over their drinking and has an excessive desire to drink, it's known as dependent drinking (alcoholism).

Dependent drinking usually affects a person's quality of life and relationships, but they may not always find it easy to see or accept this. 

Severely dependent drinkers are often able to tolerate very high levels of alcohol in amounts that would dangerously affect or even kill some people.

A dependent drinker usually experiences physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms if they suddenly cut down or stop drinking, including:

This often leads to "relief drinking" to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Find out more about the risks of alcohol misuse

Am I drinking too much alcohol?

You could be misusing alcohol if:

  • you feel you should cut down on your drinking
  • other people have been criticising your drinking
  • you feel guilty or bad about your drinking
  • you need a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover

Someone you know may be misusing alcohol if:

  • they regularly drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week
  • they're sometimes unable to remember what happened the night before because of their drinking
  • they fail to do what was expected of them as a result of their drinking (for example, missing an appointment or work because they're drunk or hungover)

Getting help

If you're concerned about your drinking or someone else's, a good first step is to see a GP.

They'll be able to discuss the services and treatments available. 

Your alcohol intake may be assessed using tests, such as the:

As well as the NHS, there are a number of charities and support groups across the UK that provide support and advice for people with an alcohol misuse problem.

For example, you may want to contact:

See a full list of alcohol charities and support groups

Treating alcohol misuse

How alcohol misuse is treated depends on how much alcohol a person is drinking.

Treatment options include:

  • counselling – including self-help groups and talking therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • medicines
  • detoxification – this involves a nurse or doctor supporting you to safely stop drinking; this can be done by helping you slowly cut down over time or by giving you medicines to prevent withdrawal symptoms

There are 2 main types of medicines to help people stop drinking.

The first is to help stop withdrawal symptoms and is given in reducing doses over a short period of time. The most common of these medicines is chlordiazapoxide (Librium).

The second is a medicine to reduce any urge you may have to drink. The most common medicines used for this are acamprosate and naltrexone.

These are both given at a fixed dose, and you'll usually be on them for 6 to 12 months.

Further reading

Alcohol and pregnancy

The Department of Health and Social Care recommends pregnant women and women trying to conceive should avoid drinking alcohol.

Drinking in pregnancy can lead to long-term harm to the baby, and the risk increases the more you drink.

The Chief Medical Officers for the UK recommend that if you're pregnant or planning to become pregnant, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all to keep the risk to your baby to a minimum.

If you're worried about alcohol use during pregnancy, talk to your doctor or midwife.

If you're trying to conceive, your partner should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week, which should be spread evenly over 3 days or more.

Drinking alcohol excessively can affect the quality of his sperm.

Page last reviewed: 21 August 2018
Next review due: 21 August 2021

Risks-Alcohol misuse

Contents

  1. Overview
  2. Risks
  3. Treatment

Alcohol is a powerful chemical that can have a wide range of adverse effects on almost every part of your body, including your brain, bones and heart.

Alcohol and its associated risks can have both short-term and long-term effects.

Short-term effects of alcohol consumption

The short-term effects of alcohol consumption are outlined below. This information is based on the assumption that you have a normal tolerance to alcohol.

Dependent drinkers with a higher tolerance to alcohol can often drink much more without experiencing any noticeable effects.

1 to 2 units

After drinking 1 to 2 units of alcohol, your heart rate speeds up and your blood vessels expand, giving you the warm, sociable and talkative feeling associated with moderate drinking.

4 to 6 units

After drinking 4 to 6 units of alcohol, your brain and nervous system starts to be affected. It begins to affect the part of your brain associated with judgement and decision making, causing you to be more reckless and uninhibited.

The alcohol also impairs the cells in your nervous system, making you feel lightheaded and adversely affecting your reaction time and co-ordination.

8 to 9 units

After drinking 8 to 9 units of alcohol, your reaction times will be much slower, your speech will begin to slur and your vision will begin to lose focus.

Your liver, which filters alcohol out of your body, will be unable to remove all of the alcohol overnight, so it's likely you'll wake with a hangover.

10 to 12 units

After drinking 10 to 12 units of alcohol, your co-ordination will be highly impaired, placing you at serious risk of having an accident. The high level of alcohol has a depressant effect on both your mind and body, which makes you drowsy.

This amount of alcohol will begin to reach toxic (poisonous) levels. Your body attempts to quickly pass out the alcohol in your urine. This will leave you feeling badly dehydrated in the morning, which may cause a severe headache.

The excess amount of alcohol in your system can also upset your digestion, leading to symptoms of nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and indigestion.

More than 12 units

If you drink more than 12 units of alcohol, you're at considerable risk of developing alcohol poisoning, particularly if you're drinking many units over a short period of time.

It usually takes the liver about an hour to remove one unit of alcohol from the body.

Alcohol poisoning occurs when excessive amounts of alcohol start to interfere with the body's automatic functions, such as:

  • breathing
  • heart rate
  • gag reflex, which prevents you choking

Alcohol poisoning can cause a person to fall into a coma and could lead to their death.

Other risks

Some of the other risks associated with alcohol misuse include:

  • accidents and injury – more than 1 in 10 visits to accident and emergency (A&E) departments are because of alcohol-related illnesses
  • violence and antisocial behaviour – each year in England more than 1.2 million violent incidents are linked to alcohol misuse
  • unsafe sex – this can lead to unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • loss of personal possessions – many people lose personal possessions, such as their wallet or mobile phone, when they're drunk
  • unplanned time off work or college – this could put your job or education at risk

Long-term effects of alcohol misuse

Drinking large amounts of alcohol for many years will take its toll on many of the body's organs and may cause organ damage. Organs known to be damaged by long-term alcohol misuse include the brain and nervous system, heart, liver and pancreas.

Heavy drinking can also increase your blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels, both of which are major risk factors for heart attacks and strokes.

Long-term alcohol misuse can weaken your immune system, making you more vulnerable to serious infections. It can also weaken your bones, placing you at greater risk of fracturing or breaking them.

There are many long-term health risks associated with alcohol misuse. They include:

As well as having a significant impact on your health, alcohol misuse can also have long-term social implications. For example, it can lead to:

  • family break-up and divorce
  • domestic abuse
  • unemployment
  • homelessness
  • financial problems

Kindling

Kindling is a problem that can occur following a number of episodes of withdrawal from alcohol. The severity of a person's withdrawal symptoms may get worse each time they stop drinking, and can cause symptoms such as tremors, agitation and convulsions (seizures).

Alcohol has a suppressing effect on the brain and central nervous system. Research has shown that when alcohol is removed from the body, it activates brain and nerve cells, resulting in excessive excitability (hyperexcitability). This can lead to behavioural symptoms such as seizures.

With each alcohol withdrawal episode, the brain and nervous system becomes more sensitised and the resulting side effects become more pronounced.

This kindling effect can also occur after chemical stimulus to the brain or body, such as anti-convulsant medication. This means a person's alcohol withdrawal programme needs to be carefully planned, with close monitoring of its effects.

Read more about kindling in alcohol withdrawal (PDF, 163kb).

Alcohol poisoning: what to do

Signs of alcohol poisoning include:

  • confusion
  • vomiting
  • seizures (fits)
  • slow breathing
  • pale or bluish skin
  • cold and clammy skin
  • unconsciousness

Dial 999 for an ambulance if you suspect alcohol poisoning and you're worried. Don't try to make the person vomit because they could choke on it. To prevent choking, turn them on to their side and put a cushion under their head.

If a person loses consciousness, don't leave them to "sleep it off". Levels of alcohol in the blood can continue rising for 30 to 40 minutes after the last drink, and symptoms can worsen.

Treatment-Alcohol misuse

Contents

  1. Overview
  2. Risks
  3. Treatment

The treatment options for alcohol misuse depend on the extent of your drinking and whether you're trying to drink less (moderation) or give up drinking completely (abstinence).

Brief intervention

If you are worried about your drinking or have had an alcohol-related accident or injury, you may be offered a short counselling session known as a brief intervention.

A brief intervention lasts about 5 to 10 minutes, and covers risks associated with your pattern of drinking, advice about reducing the amount you drink, alcohol support networks available to you, and any emotional issues around your drinking.

Keeping a "drinking diary" may be recommended so you can record how many units of alcohol you drink a week. You may also be given tips about social drinking, such as alternating soft drinks with alcoholic drinks when you're out with friends.

Moderation vs abstinence

Moderation or abstinence are treatment options if you're:

  • regularly drinking more than 14 units a week
  • experiencing health problems directly related to alcohol
  • unable to function without alcohol (alcohol dependency)

Cutting alcohol out completely will have a greater health benefit. However, moderation is often a more realistic goal, or at least a first step on the way to abstinence.

Ultimately, the choice is yours, but there are circumstances where abstinence is strongly recommended, including if you:

  • have liver damage, such as liver disease or cirrhosis
  • have other medical problems, such as heart disease, that can be made worse by drinking
  • are taking medication that can react badly with alcohol, such as antipsychotics
  • are pregnant or planning to become pregnant

Abstinence may also be recommended if you've previously been unsuccessful with moderation.

If you choose moderation, you'll probably be asked to attend further counselling sessions so your progress can be assessed, and further treatment and advice can be provided if needed.

You may also have regular blood tests so the health of your liver can be carefully monitored.

Detox and withdrawal symptoms

If you're dependent on alcohol to function, it's recommended you seek medical advice to manage your withdrawal.

Some people may be prescribed medication to help achieve abstinence. You may also choose to attend self-help groups, receive extended counselling, or use a talking therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

Where detox is carried out

How and where you attempt detoxification will be determined by your level of alcohol dependency. In mild cases, you should be able to detox at home without the use of medication as your withdrawal symptoms should also be mild.

If your consumption of alcohol is high (more than 20 units a day) or you've previously experienced withdrawal symptoms, you may also be able to detox at home with medication to help ease withdrawal symptoms. A tranquiliser called chlordiazepoxide is usually used for this purpose.

If your dependency is severe, you may need to go to a hospital or clinic to detox. This is because the withdrawal symptoms will also be severe and are likely to need specialist treatment.

Withdrawal symptoms

Your withdrawal symptoms will be at their worst for the first 48 hours. They should gradually start to improve as your body begins to adjust to being without alcohol. This usually takes 3 to 7 days from the time of your last drink.

You'll also find your sleep is disturbed. You may wake up several times during the night or have problems getting to sleep. This is to be expected, and your sleep patterns should return to normal within a month.

During detox, make sure you drink plenty of fluids (about 3 litres a day). However, avoid drinking large amounts of caffeinated drinks, including tea and coffee, because they can make your sleep problems worse and cause feelings of anxiety. Water, squash or fruit juice are better choices.

Try to eat regular meals, even if you're not feeling hungry. Your appetite will return gradually.

You must not drive if you're taking medication to help ease your withdrawal symptoms. You should also get advice about operating heavy machinery at work. You need to tell the DVLA if you have an alcohol problem – failure to do so could result in a fine of up to £1,000.

It's likely the medication will make you feel drowsy. Only take your medication as directed.

Detox can be a stressful time. Ways you can try to relieve stress include reading, listening to music, going for a walk, and taking a bath. Read more about stress management.

If you're detoxing at home, you'll regularly see a nurse or another healthcare professional. This might be at home, your GP practice, or a specialist NHS service. You'll also be given the relevant contact details for other support services should you need additional support.

Withdrawal from alcohol is an important first step to overcoming your alcohol-related problems. However, withdrawal isn't an effective treatment by itself. You'll need further treatment and support to help you in the long term.

Medication for alcohol dependency

A number of medications are recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to treat alcohol misuse. These include:

  • acamprosate
  • disulfiram
  • naltrexone
  • nalmefene

Acamprosate

Acamprosate (brand name Campral) is used to help prevent a relapse in people who have successfully achieved abstinence from alcohol. It's usually used in combination with counselling to reduce alcohol craving.

Acamprosate works by affecting levels of a chemical in the brain called gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA). GABA is thought to be partly responsible for inducing a craving for alcohol.

If you're prescribed acamprosate, the course usually starts as soon as you begin withdrawal from alcohol and can last for up to 6 months.

Disulfiram

Disulfiram (brand name Antabuse) can be used if you're trying to achieve abstinence but are concerned you may relapse, or if you've had previous relapses.

Disulfiram works by deterring you from drinking by causing unpleasant physical reactions if you drink alcohol. These can include:

  • nausea
  • chest pain
  • vomiting
  • dizziness

In addition to alcoholic drinks, it's important to avoid all sources of alcohol as they could also induce an unpleasant reaction. Products that may contain alcohol include:

  • aftershave
  • mouthwash
  • some types of vinegar
  • perfume

You should also try to avoid substances that give off alcoholic fumes, such as paint thinners and solvents.

You'll continue to experience unpleasant reactions if you come into contact with alcohol for a week after you finish taking disulfiram, so it's important to maintain your abstinence during this time.

When taking disulfiram, you'll be seen by your healthcare team about once every 2 weeks for the first 2 months, and then every month for the following 4 months.

Naltrexone

Naltrexone can be used to prevent a relapse or limit the amount of alcohol someone drinks. 

It works by blocking opioid receptors in the body, stopping the effects of alcohol. It's usually used in combination with other medicine or counselling.

If naltrexone is recommended, you should be made aware it also stops painkillers that contain opioids working, including morphine and codeine.

If you feel unwell while taking naltrexone, stop taking it immediately and seek advice from your GP or care team.

A course of naltrexone can last up to 6 months, although it may sometimes be longer.

Before being prescribed any of these medications, you'll have a full medical assessment, including blood tests.

Nalmefene

Nalmefene (brand name Selincro) may be used to prevent a relapse or limit the amount of alcohol someone drinks.

It works by blocking opioid receptors in the brain, which reduces cravings for alcohol.

Nalmefene may be recommended as a possible treatment for alcohol dependence if you've had an initial assessment and:

  • you're still drinking more than 7.5 units a day (for men) or more than 5 units a day (for women)
  • you don't have any physical withdrawal symptoms
  • you don't need to stop drinking immediately or achieve total abstinence

Nalmefene should only be taken if you're receiving support to help you reduce your alcohol intake and continue treatment.

Therapy for alcohol dependency

Self-help groups

Many people who have alcohol dependency problems find it useful to attend self-help groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

One of the main beliefs behind AA is that alcoholic dependence is a long-term, progressive illness and total abstinence is the only solution.

The treatment plan promoted by AA is based on a 12-step programme designed to help you overcome your addiction.

The steps include admitting you're powerless over alcohol and your life has become unmanageable, admitting you've acted wrongly and, where possible, making amends with people you've harmed.

Read more about the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and alcohol support.

12-step facilitation therapy

12-step facilitation therapy is based on the programme devised by AA. The difference is you work through the stages on a one-to-one basis with a counsellor, rather than in a group.

The therapy may be your preferred treatment option if you feel uneasy or unwilling to discuss your problems in a group setting.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that uses a problem-solving approach to alcohol dependence.

The approach involves identifying unhelpful, unrealistic thoughts and beliefs that may be contributing towards your alcohol dependence, such as:

  • "I can't relax without alcohol."
  • "My friends would find me boring if I was sober."
  • "Just drinking one pint can't hurt."

Once these thoughts and beliefs are identified, you'll be encouraged to base your behaviour on more realistic and helpful thoughts, such as:

  • "Lots of people have a good time without alcohol, and I can be one of them."
  • "My friends like me for my personality, not for my drinking." 
  • "I know I can't stop drinking once I start."

CBT also helps you identify triggers that can cause you to drink, such as:

  • stress
  • social anxiety
  • being in "high-risk" environments, such as pubs, clubs and restaurants

Your CBT therapist will teach you how to avoid certain triggers and cope effectively with those that are unavoidable.

Family therapy

Alcohol dependence doesn't just impact on an individual – it can also affect a whole family. Family therapy provides family members with the opportunity to:

  • learn about the nature of alcohol dependence
  • support the member of the family who is trying to abstain from alcohol

Support is also available for family members in their own right. Living with someone who misuses alcohol can be stressful, so receiving support can often be very helpful.

There are a number of specialist alcohol services that provide help and support for the relatives and friends of people with a dependence on alcohol.

For example, Al-Anon is an organisation affiliated with AA that provides relatives and friends with help and support. Its confidential helpline number is 020 7403 0888 (10am to 10pm, 365 days a year).

Read more about the different types of talking therapies.

Drinking diary

If you're aiming to moderate your drinking, you may be asked to keep a "drinking diary".

On a daily basis, make a note of:

  • all the alcoholic drinks you've had
  • what time you had them
  • where you were
  • how many units you drank – you can use the Alcohol Change UK unit calculator to work this out

This will give you a good idea of how much alcohol you're drinking, the situations in which you drink, and how you could start to cut down.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/alcohol-misuse/

Alcohol abuse

Published: December, 2014

Alcohol abuse is the second most common form of substance abuse in the United States, after tobacco addiction. Some people are more severely affected than others.

When an individual's drinking causes distress or harm, that's called an alcohol use disorder. An estimated 10% of adult men and 5% of adult women have an alcohol use disorder. Their use of alcohol leads to health problems or troubles at home, at work, at school, or with the law. Many of them have lost control of their drinking; they are unable to stop or cut down despite serious negative health consequences and the loss of valued activities or relationships.

Why some people abuse alcohol and others don't is not fully understood, but a family history of addiction to alcohol places a person at higher risk. Children of parents who have trouble with alcohol have a fourfold increased risk of the disorder.

Heavy drinking can seriously damage the liver, stomach, heart, brain, and nervous system. It also increases the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, larynx (voice box), and esophagus. Women who drink heavily are at higher risk of developing breast cancer and osteoporosis. In addition, people who drink heavily may not eat adequately, so they may develop vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

Although there are many risks to drinking alcohol, there also may be some benefits of moderate drinking. That means no more than two drinks a day for men and no more than one drink a day for women. (A drink is defined as 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or 1½ ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.) Moderate drinking appears to lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other circulatory diseases. There is evidence that a small amount of alcohol can boost levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the beneficial cholesterol in your blood, as well as reduce the formation of plaque in blood vessels.

If too much alcohol is harmful but some is beneficial, how do you decide how much is okay? First, if you don't drink, don't start. The risks that come with drinking alcohol frequently outweigh the benefits. If you drink, do so in moderation—no more than one drink a day for women and no more than two drinks a day for men.

People who should not drink include women who are trying to conceive or who are pregnant, people who plan to drive or operate equipment that requires attention or skill, and people using prescription or over-the-counter medicines that can cause drowsiness.

Alcohol can also alter the effectiveness and toxicity of medicines. Some medicines increase blood levels of alcohol or increase the adverse effects of alcohol on the brain.

Signs of alcohol abuse

An alcohol abuse disorder is a serious and progressive condition. But it is treatable. If you think you or someone you care about has a problem with alcohol, learn more about the disease and ask your doctor for help.

Early symptoms of an alcohol abuse disorder include drinking more than planned, continuing to drink alcohol despite the concerns of others, and frequent attempts to cut down or quit drinking. As alcohol abuse progresses, the individual develops a tolerance to alcohol. He or she must drink more alcohol to get the desired good feeling or to get intoxicated.

When a person becomes dependent on alcohol, and can't get a drink, he or she develops withdrawal symptoms such as headache, nausea and vomiting, anxiety, and fatigue.

As alcohol abuse worsens, the person becomes preoccupied with alcohol and can lose control. He or she may have blackouts, which are episodes in which a person completely forgets what occurred when he or she was drunk even though he or she was conscious at the time.

Finally, personality changes occur. Someone suffering from alcohol abuse can become more aggressive and his or her ability to function (hold a job or maintain relationships with friends and family) can seriously deteriorate. Heavy drinkers may experience tremors, panic attacks, confusion, hallucinations, and seizures.

People with alcohol problems often drink alone and say they use alcohol to help them sleep or deal with stress. People who drink excessively may also engage in risky sexual behavior or drive when they should not. They are also at higher risk for dependency on other drugs.

How alcohol abuse affects the body

The effects of too much alcohol on the body are devastating. Health consequences of heavy alcohol use include inflammation of the stomach, inflammation of the liver, bleeding in the stomach and esophagus, impotence, permanent nerve and brain damage (numbness or tingling sensations, imbalance, inability to coordinate movements, forgetfulness, blackouts, or problems with short-term memory), and inflammation of the pancreas. Long-term overuse of alcohol can also increase the risk and severity of pneumonia and tuberculosis; damage the heart, leading to heart failure; and cause cirrhosis of the liver, leading to liver failure.

Treating alcohol abuse

A person who needs help for alcohol addiction may be the last to realize he or she has a problem. Even if the addicted person refuses treatment, family members can get help and support from an organization like Al Anon.

Many similar drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs offer counseling to family members, so that they can learn how to help the addicted person get the right kind of support and help. An important part of these programs is to make the drinker responsible for his or her behavior, and to help the family stop shielding the drinker from the consequences of drinking.

Treating alcohol abuse begins by helping the drinker understand that he or she has a problem and needs help. Once a drinker wants to stop, treatment can take place in an outpatient setting (such as regular appointments with a counselor) or in a hospital inpatient program (where the treatment is much more intensive).

Almost all treatment programs view alcohol dependence as a chronic, progressive disease, and most programs insist on complete abstinence from alcohol and other drugs.

Inpatient treatment usually begins with detoxification—supervised withdrawal from alcohol—usually with the help of medicine to ease the dangerous effects of withdrawal, including restlessness, agitation, hallucinations, delirium, and seizures. In its most severe form, alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening.

Treatment for alcoholism also addresses the medical and psychological consequences of alcohol addiction. Health professionals counsel the person and family about the nature of addiction and help the person find positive alternatives to using alcohol. Health professionals also help the individual cope with any related problems, such as depression, job stress, legal consequences of drinking, or troubled personal relationships.

Maintaining sobriety—often called recovery—is a long-term process that can take many forms. Fellowship groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous are often very helpful.

Ongoing counseling and treatment with medicines can also play a role. Disulfiram (Antabuse) may be an option for people who want to try a drug to help prevent them from drinking. Disulfiram disrupts the breakdown of alcohol in the liver, making a person feel ill if he or she drinks alcohol.

Another drug, called naltrexone (Revia, Vivitrol), takes away the pleasant feeling that comes with drinking alcohol, so there is less interest in drinking. A third drug, acamprosate (Campral), reduces the unpleasant feeling that alcoholics experience when they don't drink

https://www.health.harvard.edu/addiction/alcohol-abuse

Overview

Alcohol use disorder (which includes a level that's sometimes called alcoholism) is a pattern of alcohol use that involves problems controlling your drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol, continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems, having to drink more to get the same effect, or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking.

Unhealthy alcohol use includes any alcohol use that puts your health or safety at risk or causes other alcohol-related problems. It also includes binge drinking — a pattern of drinking where a male consumes five or more drinks within two hours or a female downs at least four drinks within two hours. Binge drinking causes significant health and safety risks.

If your pattern of drinking results in repeated significant distress and problems functioning in your daily life, you likely have alcohol use disorder. It can range from mild to severe. However, even a mild disorder can escalate and lead to serious problems, so early treatment is important.

Products & Services

Symptoms

Alcohol use disorder can be mild, moderate or severe, based on the number of symptoms you experience. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Being unable to limit the amount of alcohol you drink
  • Wanting to cut down on how much you drink or making unsuccessful attempts to do so
  • Spending a lot of time drinking, getting alcohol or recovering from alcohol use
  • Feeling a strong craving or urge to drink alcohol
  • Failing to fulfill major obligations at work, school or home due to repeated alcohol use
  • Continuing to drink alcohol even though you know it's causing physical, social or interpersonal problems
  • Giving up or reducing social and work activities and hobbies
  • Using alcohol in situations where it's not safe, such as when driving or swimming
  • Developing a tolerance to alcohol so you need more to feel its effect or you have a reduced effect from the same amount
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms — such as nausea, sweating and shaking — when you don't drink, or drinking to avoid these symptoms

Alcohol use disorder can include periods of alcohol intoxication and symptoms of withdrawal.

  • Alcohol intoxication results as the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream increases. The higher the blood alcohol concentration is, the more impaired you become. Alcohol intoxication causes behavior problems and mental changes. These may include inappropriate behavior, unstable moods, impaired judgment, slurred speech, impaired attention or memory, and poor coordination. You can also have periods called "blackouts," where you don't remember events. Very high blood alcohol levels can lead to coma or even death.
  • Alcohol withdrawal can occur when alcohol use has been heavy and prolonged and is then stopped or greatly reduced. It can occur within several hours to four or five days later. Signs and symptoms include sweating, rapid heartbeat, hand tremors, problems sleeping, nausea and vomiting, hallucinations, restlessness and agitation, anxiety, and occasionally seizures. Symptoms can be severe enough to impair your ability to function at work or in social situations.

What is considered 1 drink?

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines one standard drink as any one of these:

  • 12 ounces (355 milliliters) of regular beer (about 5 percent alcohol)
  • 8 to 9 ounces (237 to 266 milliliters) of malt liquor (about 7 percent alcohol)
  • 5 ounces (148 milliliters) of unfortified wine (about 12 percent alcohol)
  • 1.5 ounces (44 milliliters) of 80-proof hard liquor (about 40 percent alcohol)

When to see a doctor

If you feel that you sometimes drink too much alcohol, or your drinking is causing problems, or your family is concerned about your drinking, talk with your doctor. Other ways to get help include talking with a mental health professional or seeking help from a support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous or a similar type of self-help group.

Because denial is common, you may not feel like you have a problem with drinking. You might not recognize how much you drink or how many problems in your life are related to alcohol use. Listen to relatives, friends or co-workers when they ask you to examine your drinking habits or to seek help. Consider talking with someone who has had a problem drinking, but has stopped.

If your loved one needs help

Many people with alcohol use disorder hesitate to get treatment because they don't recognize they have a problem. An intervention from loved ones can help some people recognize and accept that they need professional help. If you're concerned about someone who drinks too much, ask a professional experienced in alcohol treatment for advice on how to approach that person.

Causes

Genetic, psychological, social and environmental factors can impact how drinking alcohol affects your body and behavior. Theories suggest that for certain people drinking has a different and stronger impact that can lead to alcohol use disorder.

Over time, drinking too much alcohol may change the normal function of the areas of your brain associated with the experience of pleasure, judgment and the ability to exercise control over your behavior. This may result in craving alcohol to try to restore good feelings or reduce negative ones.

Risk factors

Alcohol use may begin in the teens, but alcohol use disorder occurs more frequently in the 20s and 30s, though it can start at any age.

  • Steady drinking over time. Drinking too much on a regular basis for an extended period or binge drinking on a regular basis can lead to alcohol-related problems or alcohol use disorder.
  • Starting at an early age. People who begin drinking — especially binge drinking — at an early age are at a higher risk of alcohol use disorder.
  • Family history. The risk of alcohol use disorder is higher for people who have a parent or other close relative who has problems with alcohol. This may be influenced by genetic factors.
  • Depression and other mental health problems. It's common for people with a mental health disorder such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder to have problems with alcohol or other substances.
  • History of trauma. People with a history of emotional or other trauma are at increased risk of alcohol use disorder.
  • Having bariatric surgery. Some research studies indicate that having bariatric surgery may increase the risk of developing alcohol use disorder or of relapsing after recovering from alcohol use disorder.
  • Social and cultural factors. Having friends or a close partner who drinks regularly could increase your risk of alcohol use disorder. The glamorous way that drinking is sometimes portrayed in the media also may send the message that it's OK to drink too much. For young people, the influence of parents, peers and other role models can impact risk.

Complications

Alcohol depresses your central nervous system. In some people, the initial reaction may be stimulation. But as you continue to drink, you become sedated.

Too much alcohol affects your speech, muscle coordination and vital centers of your brain. A heavy drinking binge may even cause a life-threatening coma or death. This is of particular concern when you're taking certain medications that also depress the brain's function.

Impact on your safety

Excessive drinking can reduce your judgment skills and lower inhibitions, leading to poor choices and dangerous situations or behaviors, including:

  • Motor vehicle accidents and other types of accidental injury, such as drowning
  • Relationship problems
  • Poor performance at work or school
  • Increased likelihood of committing violent crimes or being the victim of a crime
  • Legal problems or problems with employment or finances
  • Problems with other substance use
  • Engaging in risky, unprotected sex, or experiencing sexual abuse or date rape
  • Increased risk of attempted or completed suicide

Impact on your health

Drinking too much alcohol on a single occasion or over time can cause health problems, including:

  • Liver disease. Heavy drinking can cause increased fat in the liver (hepatic steatosis), inflammation of the liver (alcoholic hepatitis), and over time, irreversible destruction and scarring of liver tissue (cirrhosis).
  • Digestive problems. Heavy drinking can result in inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis), as well as stomach and esophageal ulcers. It can also interfere with absorption of B vitamins and other nutrients. Heavy drinking can damage your pancreas or lead to inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).
  • Heart problems. Excessive drinking can lead to high blood pressure and increases your risk of an enlarged heart, heart failure or stroke. Even a single binge can cause a serious heart arrhythmia called atrial fibrillation.
  • Diabetes complications. Alcohol interferes with the release of glucose from your liver and can increase the risk of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). This is dangerous if you have diabetes and are already taking insulin to lower your blood sugar level.
  • Sexual function and menstruation issues. Excessive drinking can cause erectile dysfunction in men. In women, it can interrupt menstruation. 
  • Eye problems. Over time, heavy drinking can cause involuntary rapid eye movement (nystagmus) as well as weakness and paralysis of your eye muscles due to a deficiency of vitamin B-1 (thiamin). A thiamin deficiency can also be associated with other brain changes, such as irreversible dementia, if not promptly treated.
  • Birth defects. Alcohol use during pregnancy may cause miscarriage. It may also cause fetal alcohol syndrome, resulting in giving birth to a child who has physical and developmental problems that last a lifetime.
  • Bone damage. Alcohol may interfere with the production of new bone. This bone loss can lead to thinning bones (osteoporosis) and an increased risk of fractures. Alcohol can also damage bone marrow, which makes blood cells. This can cause a low platelet count, which may result in bruising and bleeding.
  • Neurological complications. Excessive drinking can affect your nervous system, causing numbness and pain in your hands and feet, disordered thinking, dementia, and short-term memory loss.
  • Weakened immune system. Excessive alcohol use can make it harder for your body to resist disease, increasing your risk of various illnesses, especially pneumonia.
  • Increased risk of cancer. Long-term, excessive alcohol use has been linked to a higher risk of many cancers, including mouth, throat, liver, esophagus, colon and breast cancers. Even moderate drinking can increase the risk of breast cancer.
  • Medication and alcohol interactions. Some medications interact with alcohol, increasing its toxic effects. Drinking while taking these medications can either increase or decrease their effectiveness, or make them dangerous.

Prevention

Early intervention can prevent alcohol-related problems in teens. If you have a teenager, be alert to signs and symptoms that may indicate a problem with alcohol:

  • Loss of interest in activities and hobbies and in personal appearance
  • Red eyes, slurred speech, problems with coordination and memory lapses
  • Difficulties or changes in relationships with friends, such as joining a new crowd
  • Declining grades and problems in school
  • Frequent mood changes and defensive behavior

You can help prevent teenage alcohol use:

  • Set a good example with your own alcohol use.
  • Talk openly with your child, spend quality time together and become actively involved in your child's life.
  • Let your child know what behavior you expect — and what the consequences will be if he or she doesn't follow the rules.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alcohol-use-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20369243

 

The Difference Between Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol Dependence

By 
 Medically reviewed by 
Updated on April 25, 2020

Until the publication of the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), substance issues were generally divided into abuse and dependence. The DSM-5 combines these categories into a single substance use disorder, measured on a continuum from mild to severe.

This change was made to update the idea that abuse was a mild and early phase of the illness and dependence was a more severe manifestation. In reality, abuse can often be quite severe.

Who Is an Alcohol Abuser?

It is still sometimes useful to clarify the distinctions between abuse and dependence. Alcohol abusers can be defined as those who continue to drink despite recurrent social, interpersonal, health, and legal problems as a result of their alcohol use.1

Who Is Alcohol Dependent?

People who are alcohol-dependent exhibit some or all of the following characteristics.1

  • Alcohol tolerance: Needing to drink increasing amounts over time to achieve previous effects. For example, you used to drink three cocktails every night, but now you need five to get the feeling you're looking for.​
  • Withdrawal symptoms: Experiencing physical symptoms, such as insomnia, tremors, and mood swings. after going for a short period without drinking.
  • Drinking to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms,such as drinking to stop the shakes or to "cure" a hangover.
  • Awareness of the compulsion to drink or craving for alcohol, regardless of whether you admit it to others.
  • Drinking larger amounts or over a longer period than intended and making unsuccessful efforts to cut down.

Those with moderate to severe alcohol use disorders generally require outside help to stop drinking. This could include detoxification, medical treatment, professional rehab or counseling, and/or self-help group support.2

How Much Is Too Much?

Are your drinking habits safe, risky, or harmful? Are you abusing alcohol or alcohol dependent? Looking at the aforementioned symptoms can give you an idea of how your drinking may fall into harmful patterns and indicate whether or not you have a drinking problem.

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms and Treatment

If you are alcohol-dependent and decide to change your life and quit drinking, you can expect to experience withdrawal symptoms. These discomforts usually peak 24 to 72 hours after your last drink, but they may last for weeks, according to information from the National Institutes of Health.2

Those with mild to moderate symptoms may be able to receive treatment in an outpatient setting. You should ask a loved one to stay with you during this process and you may need to visit a clinician for daily monitoring. If you have moderate to severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, you may require inpatient treatment at a hospital or substance abuse facility. Symptoms of severe alcohol withdrawal include:

  • Fever
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Severe confusion
  • Unstable vital signs

 

 

 

 

 

โดยภาวะการติดเหล้า จะมีข้อบ่งชี้ 7 ข้อ คือ

  1. 1.มีภาวะดื้อแอลกอฮอล์ ต้องดื่มปริมาณมากขึ้นเรื่อยๆ เพื่อให้เมาเท่าเดิม
  2. 2.มีภาวะถอนแอลกอฮอล์หลังงดดื่มหรือลดการดื่มลง
  3. 3.ดื่มมากกว่าหรือนานกว่าที่ตั้งใจไว้
  4. 4.พยายามลดลงหรือเลิกดื่มแต่ก็ไม่สำเร็จ
  5. 5.หมกมุ่นและใช้เวลาหมดไปกับการดื่ม
  6. 6.เสียงานเสียการเนื่องจากปัญหาการดื่ม
  7. 7.ยังคงดื่มอยู่ แม้ว่าเกิดผลกระทบอย่างมากแล้ว

หากใครที่มีอาหาร 3 ข้อขึ้นไป จาก 7 ข้อ เรียกว่าอยู่ในภาวะติดเหล้า หากหยุดหรือลดการดื่มกะทันหัน บางรายอาจมีภาวะถอนแอลกอฮอล์ที่รุนแรงตามมา ระดับความรุนแรงหลังการหยุดดื่มขึ้นอยู่กับปริมาณและความยาวนานของการดื่มในอดีตที่ผ่านมา ทั้งนี้ ผู้ที่ต้องการเลิกดื่ม หรือมีภาวะถอน

 

อาการเมาสุราจะเกิดเมื่อระดับแอลกอฮอลล์มากกว่า 50 มิลิกรัมเปอร์เซ็นต จะเริ่มอาการเดินเซ เสียการทรงตัว

อาจจะทราบว่าเมาหรือไม่ โดยการเจาะเลือดตรวจปริมาณแอลกอฮอล์ในเลือดกับอาการแสดงของผู้ที่ดื่มสุรา

ตารางแสดงระดับสุราและพฤติกรรม
ปริมาณแอลกอฮอล์ในเลือด

(มิลิกรัมเปอร์เซ็นต์)

อาการแสดง
30 สนุกสนาน ร่าเริง
50 เสียการควบคุมเคลื่อนไหว
100 เดินไม่ตรงทาง
200 สับสน
300 ง่วงซึม
มากกว่า 400 สลบและอาจจะถึงตาย


จะถือว่าเมาเมื่อระดับแอลกอฮอล์มากว่า50มิลิกรัมเปอร์เซ็นต์ นอกเหนือจากการตรวจหาระดับแอลกอฮอล์ในเลือดแล้วยังมีการตรวจโดยที่ไม่ต้องใช้เครื่องมือใดๆโดยสังเกตอาการดังนี้

  • กลิ่นสุราจากลมหายใจ เสื้อผ้า
  • การเดินไม่ตรงทาง
  • พูดจาอ้อแอ้ไม่มีความหมาย
  • ขับรถเร็วหรือช้าโดยไม่มีเหตุผล
  • การขับรถความเร็วไม่คงที่
  • การหยุดรถไม่ถูกจังหวะหรือไม่เรียบร้อย
  • การแซงไม่ถูกจังหวะ
  • ไม่ปฏิบัติตามกฎจราจร
  • ไม่เปิดไฟเมื่อขับรถกลางคืน
  • ขับรถส่ายไปมา
  • เปลี่ยนช่องทางจราจรบ่อยๆ

Alcohol Use and Your Health

Drinking too much can harm your health. Excessive alcohol use led to approximately 95,000 deaths and 2.8 million years of potential life lost (YPLL) each year in the United States from 2011 – 2015, shortening the lives of those who died by an average of 29 years.1 Further, excessive drinking was responsible for 1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults aged 20-64 years.2 The economic costs of excessive alcohol consumption in 2010 were estimated at $249 billion, or $2.05 a drink.3

What is a standard drink?

Common U.S. alcohol drink sizes

In the United States, a standard drink contains 0.6 ounces (14.0 grams or 1.2 tablespoons) of pure alcohol. Generally, this amount of pure alcohol is found in

  • 12-ounces of beer (5% alcohol content).
  • 8-ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content).
  • 5-ounces of wine (12% alcohol content).
  • 1.5-ounces of 80-proof (40% alcohol content) distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, whiskey).4

What is excessive drinking?

Excessive drinking includes binge drinking, heavy drinking, and any drinking by pregnant women or people younger than age 21.

  • Binge drinking, the most common form of excessive drinking, is defined as consuming
    • For women, 4 or more drinks during a single occasion.
    • For men, 5 or more drinks during a single occasion.
  • Heavy drinking is defined as consuming
    • For women, 8 or more drinks per week.
    • For men, 15 or more drinks per week.

Most people who drink excessively are not alcoholics or alcohol dependent.5

What is moderate drinking?

Drinking in Moderation: 1 drink or less in a day for women; 2 drinks or less in a day for men; or nondrinking

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults of legal drinking age can choose not to drink, or to drink in moderation by limiting intake to 2 drinks or less in a day for men or 1 drink or less in a day for women, on days when alcohol is consumed.4 The Guidelines also do not recommend that individuals who do not drink alcohol start drinking for any reason and that if adults of legal drinking age choose to drink alcoholic beverages, drinking less is better for health than drinking more.4

There are some people who should not drink any alcohol, including those who are:

  • Younger than age 21.
  • Pregnant or may be pregnant.
  • Driving, planning to drive, or participating in other activities requiring skill, coordination, and alertness.
  • Taking certain prescription or over-the-counter medications that can interact with alcohol.
  • Suffering from certain medical conditions.
  • Recovering from alcoholism or are unable to control the amount they drink.4

By adhering to the Dietary Guidelines, you can reduce the risk of harm to yourself or others.

Short-Term Health Risks

emergency room

Excessive alcohol use has immediate effects that increase the risk of many harmful health conditions. These are most often the result of binge drinking and include the following:

  • Injuries, such as motor vehicle crashes, falls, drownings, and burns.6,7
  • Violence, including homicide, suicide, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence.6-10
  • Alcohol poisoning, a medical emergency that results from high blood alcohol levels.11
  • Risky sexual behaviors, including unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners. These behaviors can result in unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.12,13
  • Miscarriage and stillbirth or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) among pregnant women.6,12,14,15

Long-Term Health Risks

Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious problems including:

  • High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems.6,16
  • Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon.6,17
  • Weakening of the immune system, increasing the chances of getting sick.6,16
  • Learning and memory problems, including dementia and poor school performance.6,18
  • Mental health problems, including depression and anxiety.6,19
  • Social problems, including lost productivity, family problems, and unemployment.6,20,21
  • Alcohol use disorders, or alcohol dependence.5

By not drinking too much, you can reduce the risk of these short- and long-term health risks.

Excessive Alcohol Use is a Risk to Men's Health

Men are more likely than women to drink excessively.1-3 Excessive drinking is associated with significant risks to men’s health and safety, and the risks increase with the amount of alcohol consumed. Men are also more likely than women to take other risks (such as misusing other substances, having multiple sex partners, or not wearing a seat belt), that when combined with alcohol, further increase their risk of illness, injury or death.4-7

despondent man with glass of alcohol

Adult Men Drink More than Women

  • Almost 59% of adult men report drinking alcohol in the past 30 days compared with 47% of adult women.1
  • Men are almost two times more likely to binge drink than women.1-3 Approximately 22% of men report binge drinking and on average do so 5 times a month, consuming 8 drinks per binge.2
  • In 2019, 7% of men had an alcohol use disorder compared with 4% of women.4

Alcohol is Associated with Injury, Violence, and Other Harms

  • Men have higher rates of alcohol-related hospitalizations than women.8
  • Nearly three-quarters of deaths from excessive drinking are among males, totaling about 68,000 deaths each year in the U.S.9
  • Among drivers in fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes, men are 50% more likely to have been intoxicated (i.e., a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or greater) compared with women.10
  • Excessive alcohol consumption increases aggression and may increase the risk of physically assaulting another person.11 Alcohol is a key risk factor for sexual violence perpetration.12
  • Males are more than three times as likely to die by suicide than females, and more likely to have been drinking prior to suicide.13-15
  • Alcohol use is one of the most important preventable risk factors for cancer.16 Alcohol use increases the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon, which are more common among men.16,17 Drinking alcohol also increases the risk of prostate cancer.18

Alcohol May Affect Men’s Sexual and Reproductive Health

  • Excessive alcohol use can interfere with testicular function and male hormone production resulting in erectile dysfunction and infertility.19
  • Alcohol use by men also increases the chances of engaging in risky sexual activity including unprotected sex, sex with multiple partners, or sex with a partner at risk for sexually transmitted infections.20,21

Men can reduce the amount of alcohol they drink to reduce their risk of health problems and other harms.

The Alcohol Use and Your Health Fact Sheet addresses a number of additional health conditions associated with excessive alcohol use that affect both men and women.


Excessive Alcohol Use is a Risk to Women's Health

Excessive alcohol use is associated with more than 27,000 deaths among women and girls each year.1 Excessive alcohol use poses unique health and safety risks to females.2

Alcohol Use is Common Among Women and Girls

Female on park bench with bottle of alcohol in paper bag
  • Nearly half of adult women report drinking alcohol in the past 30 days.3
  • Approximately 13% of adult women report binge drinking and on average do so 4 times a month, consuming 5 drinks per binge.4
  • About 18% of women of child-bearing age (i.e., ages 18–44 years) binge drink.4
  • In 2019, about 32% of female high school students consumed alcohol compared with 26% of male high school students. Binge drinking was also more common among female (15%) than male (13%) high school students.5
  • In 2019, 4% of women overall and 8% of women aged 18 to 25 years had an alcohol use disorder.6

Alcohol Affects Women Differently than Men

Although men are more likely to drink alcohol and consume larger amounts, biological differences in body structure and chemistry lead most women to absorb more alcohol and take longer to metabolize it. After drinking the same amount of alcohol, women tend to have higher blood alcohol levels than men, and the immediate effects of alcohol usually occur more quickly and last longer in women than men. These differences make women more susceptible to the long-term negative health effects of alcohol compared with men.2

Alcohol is Associated with other Diseases, Injuries, and Harms

  • Liver Disease: The risk of cirrhosis and other alcohol-related liver diseases is higher for women than for men.2,7
  • Impact on the Brain: Alcohol-related cognitive decline and shrinkage of the brain develop more quickly for women than for men.2
  • Impact on the Heart: Women who drink excessively are at increased risk for damage to the heart muscle at lower levels of consumption and over fewer years of drinking than men.2
  • Breast and other Cancers: Alcohol consumption increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon. In women, drinking is also associated with breast cancer, even at low levels of consumption.2,8
  • Sexual Violence: Excessive alcohol use, particularly binge drinking, is a major contributing factor to sexual violence.9,10 Changes in alcohol-related policies can reduce sexual violence in communities.11

There is No Known Safe Amount of Alcohol Use during Pregnancy

  • In a recent study, 10% of respondents who were pregnant drank alcohol and 4.5% binge drank.15
  • Alcohol use during pregnancy increases the risk of having a baby with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). The most severe form is fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), which is associated with intellectual disabilities and birth defects.16
  • FASD are 100% preventable if a person does not drink while pregnant or while trying to become pregnant. It is not safe to drink at any time during pregnancy.17
  • Excessive alcohol use increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).2,18,19

Women can reduce the amount of alcohol they drink to reduce their risk of harms.

The Alcohol Use and Your Health Fact Sheet addresses a number of additional health conditions associated with excessive alcohol use that affect both men and women.


Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is a serious but preventable public health problem.

Binge drinking is the most common, costly, and deadly pattern of excessive alcohol use in the United States.1,2,3 Binge drinking is defined as a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 g/dl or above. This typically happens when men consume 5 or more drinks or women consume 4 or more drinks in about 2 hours.4 Most people who binge drink do not have a severe alcohol use disorder.1

Who binge drinks?

Prevalence of binge drinking by age group, 2015. This bar graph depicts the percentage of the total U.S.  population  age  high  school  and  up  who  report  binge  drinking.  The  percentage  value  for  each  category  is  as  follows:  high  school  students grades 9-12  are  17.7  percent,  ages  18-24  are  25.1  percent,  ages  25-34  are  25.7  percent,  ages  35-44  are  19.6  percent,  ages  45-64  are  13.7 percent,  and  ages  65  and  up  are  4.6  percent.

Data sources: CDC. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System and Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2015.

  • One in six US adults binge drinks about four times a month, consuming about seven drinks per binge. This results in 17 billion total binge drinks consumed by adults annually, or 467 binge drinks per binge drinker.5
  • Binge drinking is most common among younger adults aged 18–34 years, but more than half of the total binge drinks are consumed by those aged 35 and older.5
  • Binge drinking is twice as common among men than among women. Four in five total binge drinks are consumed by men.5
  • Binge drinking is more common among people with household incomes of $75,000 or more and higher educational levels. Binge drinkers with lower incomes and educational levels, however, consume more binge drinks per year.5
  • Over 90% of U.S. adults who drink excessively report binge drinking in the past 30 days.1
  • Most people younger than age 21 who drink alcohol report binge drinking, often consuming large amounts.6,7

Binge drinking has serious risks.

There are about 2,200 alcohol poisoning deaths a year in the US. These can be prevented.

Binge drinking is associated with many health problems,8–10 including the following:

  • Unintentional injuries such as car crashes, falls, burns, and alcohol poisoning.
  • Violence including homicide, suicide, intimate partner violence, and sexual assault.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Unintended pregnancy and poor pregnancy outcomes, including miscarriage and stillbirth.
  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
  • Sudden infant death syndrome.
  • Chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and liver disease.
  • Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon.
  • Memory and learning problems.
  • Alcohol use disorders.

Read more about the CDC study that found that excessive drinking in the U.S is a drain on the American economy.

Binge drinking costs everyone.

  • Drinking too much, including binge drinking, cost the United States $249 billion in 2010, or $2.05 a drink. These costs resulted from losses in workplace productivity, health care expenditures, criminal justice costs, and other expenses. Binge drinking was responsible for 77% of these costs, or $191 billion.2
Preventing Binge Drinking

The Community Preventive Services Task Force external iconrecommends evidence-based interventions to prevent binge drinking and related harms.11 Recommended strategies include:

  • Using pricing strategies, including increasing alcohol taxes.
  • Limiting the number of retail alcohol outlets that sell alcoholic beverages in a given area.
  • Holding alcohol retailers responsible for the harms caused by illegal alcohol sales to minors or intoxicated patrons (dram shop liability).
  • Restricting access to alcohol by maintaining limits on the days and hours of alcohol retail sales.
  • Consistently enforcing laws against underage drinking and alcohol-impaired driving.
  • Maintaining government controls on alcohol sales (avoiding privatization).

The US Preventive Services Task Forceexternal icon also recommends screening and counseling for alcohol misuse in medical settings.

Alcohol and Caffeine

Dangers of Mixing Alcohol and Caffeine

  • The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americansexternal icon cautions against mixing alcohol with caffeine.1
  • When alcohol is mixed with caffeine, the caffeine can mask the depressant effects of alcohol, making drinkers feel more alert than they would otherwise. As a result, they may drink more alcohol and become more impaired than they realize, increasing the risk of alcohol-attributable harms.1–5
  • Caffeine has no effect on the metabolism of alcohol by the liver and thus does not reduce breath or blood alcohol concentrations (it does not “sober you up”) or reduce impairment due to alcohol consumption.1

Dangers of Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks

Warning: Consuming energy drinks that contain or are mixed with alcohol may mask the signs of impairment and increase your risk of injury
  • Energy drinks typically contain caffeine, plant-based stimulants, simple sugars, and other additives.3
  • Mixing alcohol with energy drinks is a popular practice, especially among young people in the United States.6–8 In 2017, 10.6% of students in grades 8, 10, and 12 and 31.8% of young adults aged 19 to 28 reported consuming alcohol mixed with energy drinks at least once in the past year.7,8
  • In a study among Michigan high school students, those who binge drank were more than twice as likely to mix alcohol with energy drinks as non-binge drinkers (49.0% vs. 18.2%). Liquor was the usual type of alcohol consumed by students who reported mixing alcohol and energy drinks (52.7%).9
  • Drinkers aged 15 to 23 who mix alcohol with energy drinks are 4 times more likely to binge drink at high intensity (i.e., consume 6 or more drinks per binge episode) than drinkers who do not mix alcohol with energy drinks.10
  • Drinkers who mix alcohol with energy drinks are more likely than drinkers who do not mix alcohol with energy drinks to report unwanted or unprotected sex, driving drunk or riding with a driver who was intoxicated, or sustaining alcohol-related injuries.11

Caffeinated Alcoholic Beverages

  • Caffeinated Alcoholic Beverages (CABs) were premixed beverages popular in the 2000s12 that combined alcohol, caffeine, and other stimulants. They were malt or distilled spirits-based beverages and they usually had a higher alcohol content than beer (e.g., 12% alcohol by volume compared to 4% to 5% for beer).2,12
  • CABs were heavily marketed in youth-friendly media (e.g., social media) and with youth-oriented graphics and messaging that connected the consumption of these beverages with extreme sports or their risk-taking behaviors.13
  • In November 2010, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told the manufacturers of seven CABs that their drinks could no longer stay on the market in their current form, stating that “FDA does not find support for the claim that the addition of caffeine to these alcoholic beverages is ‘generally recognized as safe,’ which is the legal standard.”2,14 Producers of CABs responded by removing caffeine and other stimulants from their products.3

Public Health Impact of Excessive Alcohol Use

  • Excessive alcohol use is responsible for about 93,000 deaths in the United States each year15 and $249 billion in economic costs in 2010.16
  • Binge drinking (consuming 4 or more drinks per occasion for women or 5 or more drinks per occasion for men) is responsible for almost half of these deaths and three quarters of economic costs.15,16
  • Binge drinking is also associated with many health and social problems, including alcohol-impaired driving, interpersonal violence, risky sexual activity, and unintended pregnancy.17
  • Most people younger than age 21 who drink report binge drinking, usually on multiple occasions.18
Prevention Strategies
  • The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends effective population-based strategies for preventing excessive alcohol consumption and related harms, including increasing alcohol excise taxes, limiting alcohol outlet density, and commercial host (dram shop) liability for service to underage or intoxicated customers.19
  • States and communities have also developed educational strategies to alert consumers to the risks of mixing alcohol with energy drinks. At least one community enacted an ordinance requiring retailers to post warning signs informing consumers of the risks of mixing alcohol and energy drinks.20
  • Monitoring and reducing youth exposure to alcohol advertising through “no-buy” lists could also help reduce underage drinking. No-buy lists identify television programming that advertisers can avoid to improve compliance with the alcohol industry’s self-regulated alcohol marketing guidelines.21

Underage Drinking

Underage alcohol consumption is common in the United States and can have harmful outcomes. A comprehensive approach that includes effective policy strategies can prevent underage drinking and related harms.

Underage drinking is a significant public health problem in the U.S. Excessive drinking is responsible for more than 3,500 deaths and 210,000 years of potential life lost among people under age 21 each year.1 Underage drinking cost the U.S. $24 billion in 2010.2 There were approximately 119,000 emergency rooms visits by persons aged 12 to 21 for injuries and other conditions linked to alcohol in 2013.3

Underage Drinking is Common

Alcohol is the most commonly used substance among young people in the U.S.4 Data from several national surveys document the use of alcohol among young people.

The 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey5,6 found that among high school students, during the past 30 days

  • 29% drank alcohol.
  • 14% binge drank.
  • 5% of drivers drove after drinking alcohol.
  • 17% rode with a driver who had been drinking alcohol.

Rates of current and binge drinking among high school students have generally been declining in recent decades. Although males historically had higher rates, in 2019, female high school students were more likely to drink alcohol and binge drink than male high school students.6

Other national surveys find that

  • 19% of young people aged 12 to 20 years reportedexternal icon drinking alcohol and 11% reported binge drinking in the past 30 days.4
  • 8% of 8th grade students and 29% of 12th grade students reportedexternal icon drinking alcohol during the past 30 days, and 4% of 8th grade students and 14% of 12th grade students reported binge drinking during the past two weeks.7

Underage Drinking is Dangerous

Youth who drink alcohol are more likely to experience6,8-10

  • School problems, such as higher rates of absences or lower grades.
  • Social problems, such as fighting or lack of participation in youth activities.
  • Legal problems, such as arrest for driving or physically hurting someone while drunk.
  • Physical problems, such as hangovers or illnesses.
  • Unwanted, unplanned, and unprotected sexual activity.
  • Disruption of normal growth or sexual development.
  • Physical and sexual violence.
  • Increased risk of suicide and homicide.
  • Alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes and other unintentional injuries, such as burns, falls, or drowning.
  • Memory problems.
  • Misuse of other substances.
  • Changes in brain development that may have life-long effects.
  • Alcohol poisoning.

In general, the risk of youth experiencing these problems is greater for those who binge drink than for those who do not binge drink.9,10

Early initiation of drinking is associated with development of an alcohol use disorder later in life.11

Underage Drinking is Associated with Adult Drinking

Studies show a relationship between underage drinking behaviors and the drinking behaviors of adult relatives, adults in the same household, and adults in the same community and state.

  • There is a relationship between youth and adult drinking, including binge drinking, in states and communities.12-14 A 5% increase in binge drinking among adults in a community is associated with a 12% increase in the chance of underage drinking.13
  • Among adolescents whose peers drink alcohol, those whose parents binge drink are more likely to drink alcohol than those whose parents do not.15

Underage Drinking is Preventable

State alcohol policy environments influence underage drinking, as well as excessive drinking among adults. Comprehensive approaches that include effective population-level policy strategies can reduce underage drinking.13,16,17 The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends several effective strategies for preventing excessive drinking,18 including:

  • Increasing alcohol taxes.
  • Having commercial host (“dram shop”) liability laws.
  • Regulating the number and concentration of alcohol outlets.
  • Enforcing laws prohibiting alcohol sales to minors.

The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health describes other strategies that can complement effective alcohol policies, such as national media campaigns targeting youth and adults, reducing youth exposure to alcohol advertising, and the development of comprehensive community-based programs.8 Read more about the prevention of excessive alcohol use, including underage drinking.


6 Surprising Ways Alcohol Affects Your Health — Not Just Your Liver

Alcohol can harm multiple organs
FACEBOOKTWITTERLINKEDINPINTEREST
Man having a beer while relaxing at home

Some of the ways alcohol affects our health are well known, but others may surprise you. Here are six less-known effects that alcohol has on your body, according to gastroenterologist K. V. Narayanan Menon, MD:

  1. Drinking gives your body work to do that keeps it from other processes. Once you take a drink, your body makes metabolizing it a priority — above processing anything else. Unlike proteins, carbohydrates and fats, your body doesn’t have a way to store alcohol, so it has to move to the front of the metabolizing line. This is why it affects your liver, as it’s your liver’s job to detoxify and remove alcohol from your blood.
  2. Abusing alcohol causes bacteria to grow in your gut, which can eventually migrate through the intestinal wall and into the liver, leading to liver damage.
  3. Too much is bad for your heart. It can cause the heart to become weak (cardiomyopathy) and have an irregular beat pattern (arrhythmias). It also puts people at higher risk for developing high blood pressure.
  4. People can develop pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, from alcohol abuse.
  5. Drinking too much puts you at risk for some cancers, such as cancer of the mouth, esophagus, throat, liver and breast.
  6. It can affect your immune system. If you drink every day, or almost every day, you might notice that you catch colds, flu or other illnesses more frequently than people who don’t drink. This is because alcohol can weaken the immune system and make the body more susceptible to infections.

How your liver breaks down alcohol in your body

When you drink, here’s what happens in your liver, where alcohol metabolism takes place.

Your liver detoxifies and removes alcohol from the blood through a process known as oxidation. Once the liver finishes the process, alcohol becomes water and carbon dioxide. If alcohol accumulates in the system, it can destroy cells and, eventually, organs. Oxidative metabolism prevents this.

But when you’ve ingested too much alcohol for your liver to process in a timely manner, the toxic substance begins to take its toll on your body, starting with your liver. “The oxidative metabolism of alcohol generates molecules that inhibit fat oxidation in the liver and, subsequently, can lead to a condition known as fatty liver,” says Dr. Menon.

Fatty liver, early stage alcoholic liver disease, develops in about 90% of people who drink more than one and a half to two ounces of alcohol per day. So, if you drink that much or more on most days of the week, you probably have fatty liver. Continued alcohol use leads to liver fibrosis and, finally, cirrhosis.

The good news? Fatty liver is usually completely reversible in about four to six weeks if you completely abstain from drinking alcohol. Cirrhosis, on the other hand, is irreversible and likely to lead to liver failure despite abstinence from alcohol, according to Dr. Menon.

If you drink heavily, see your doctor immediately if you notice a yellow tinge to your skin, feel pain in the upper right portion of your abdomen or experience unexplained weight loss.

Alcohol use: Weighing risks and benefits

Moderate alcohol use has possible health benefits, but it's not risk-free.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Understanding the risks and any possible health benefits of alcohol often seems confusing; that's understandable, because the evidence for moderate alcohol use in healthy adults isn't certain.

Researchers know surprisingly little about the risks or benefits of moderate alcohol use in healthy adults. Almost all studies of lifestyle, including diet, exercise, caffeine, and alcohol, rely on patient recall and truthful reporting of one's habits over many years. These studies may indicate that two things may be associated with one another, but not necessarily that one causes the other. It may be that adults who are in good health engage in more social activities and enjoy moderate amounts of alcohol, but that the alcohol has nothing to do with making them healthier.

Any potential benefits of alcohol are relatively small and may not apply to all individuals. In fact, the latest dietary guidelines make it clear that no one should begin drinking alcohol or drink more often on the basis of potential health benefits. For many people, the possible benefits don't outweigh the risks and avoiding alcohol is the best course.

On the other hand, if you're a light to moderate drinker and you're healthy, you can probably continue to drink alcohol as long as you do so responsibly.

Here's a closer look at alcohol and your health.

Defining moderate

Moderate alcohol use for healthy adults generally means up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men.

Examples of one drink include:

  • Beer: 12 fluid ounces (355 milliliters)
  • Wine: 5 fluid ounces (148 milliliters)
  • Distilled spirits (80 proof): 1.5 fluid ounces (44 milliliters)

Pros and cons of moderate alcohol use

Moderate alcohol consumption may provide some health benefits, such as:

  • Reducing your risk of developing and dying of heart disease
  • Possibly reducing your risk of ischemic stroke (when the arteries to your brain become narrowed or blocked, causing severely reduced blood flow)
  • Possibly reducing your risk of diabetes

However, eating a healthy diet and being physically active have much greater health benefits and have been more extensively studied.

Keep in mind that even moderate alcohol use isn't risk-free. For example, even light drinkers (those who have no more than one drink a day) have a tiny, but real, increased risk of some cancers, such as esophageal cancer. And drinking and driving is never a good idea.

Risks of heavy alcohol use

While moderate alcohol use may offer some health benefits, heavy drinking — including binge drinking — has no health benefits.

Heavy or high-risk drinking is defined as more than three drinks on any day or more than seven drinks a week for women and for men older than age 65, and more than four drinks on any day or more than 14 drinks a week for men age 65 and younger.

Binge drinking is defined as four or more drinks within two hours for women and five or more drinks within two hours for men.

Excessive drinking can increase your risk of serious health problems, including:

  • Certain cancers, including breast cancer and cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus and liver
  • Pancreatitis
  • Sudden death if you already have cardiovascular disease
  • Heart muscle damage (alcoholic cardiomyopathy) leading to heart failure
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Liver disease
  • Suicide
  • Accidental serious injury or death
  • Brain damage and other problems in an unborn child
  • Alcohol withdrawal syndrome

When to avoid alcohol

In certain situations, the risks of alcohol may outweigh the possible health benefits. For example, check with your doctor about drinking if:

  • You're pregnant or trying to become pregnant
  • You've been diagnosed with alcoholism or alcohol addiction, or you have a strong family history of alcoholism
  • You've had a hemorrhagic stroke (when a blood vessel in your brain leaks or ruptures)
  • You have liver or pancreatic disease
  • You have heart failure or you've been told you have a weak heart
  • You take prescription or over-the-counter medications that can interact with alcohol

Deciding about drinking

If you don't drink alcohol, don't start because of potential health benefits. However, if you drink a light to moderate amount and you're healthy, you can probably continue as long as you drink responsibly. Be sure to check with your doctor about what's right for your health and safety.


What Are the Warning Signs of Alcohol-Related Liver Damage?

Your liver is the organ found on the upper right side of your abdomen, just under your ribs. It has many functions that are essential to your health, such as:

  • breaking down drugs, alcohol, and other potentially toxic substances
  • producing bile to aid with the digestion of fats
  • storing nutrients like glucose in the form of glycogen, as well as certain types of vitamins
  • making proteins that are important for blood clotting

Various substances can damage your liver. While liver tissue can regenerate, continued damage can lead to the buildup of scar tissue. As scar tissue forms, it replaces healthy liver tissue. This can impair your liver’s ability to carry out its vital functions.

Alcohol consumption is one of the leading causes of liver damage. When liver damage has happened due to alcohol, it’s called alcohol-related liver disease.

Below, we’ll explore the early signs of alcohol-related liver disease, what alcohol actually does to your liver, and what steps you can take in your day-to-day life to improve your liver health.

One of your liver’s jobs is to break down potentially toxic substances. This includes alcohol. When you drink, different enzymes in your liver work to break down alcohol so that it can be removed from your body.

When you drink more than your liver can effectively process, alcohol and its byproducts can damage your liver. This initially takes the form of increased fat in your liver, but over time it can lead to inflammation and the accumulation of scar tissue.

The early stages of alcohol-related liver disease often have no symptoms. Because of this, you may not even know that you’ve experienced liver damage due to alcohol.

If symptoms are present, they may include:

Alcohol-related liver disease actually encompasses three different liver conditions. Let’s discuss each of these in a bit more detail.

Alcoholic fatty liver disease

Alcoholic fatty liver disease is also called hepatic steatosis. It happens when fat begins to build up within your liver. Consuming too much alcohol can inhibit the breakdown of fats in the liver, causing fat accumulation.

Alcoholic fatty liver disease is common in heavy drinkers. In fact, it’s estimated that up to 90 percentTrusted Source  of people who drink heavily have some form of this condition.

People with alcoholic fatty liver disease typically have no symptoms. When symptoms are present, they can include:

  • discomfort in the area of the liver
  • fatigue
  • unexplained weight loss

Alcoholic fatty liver disease can be reversed by abstaining from alcohol for at least several weeks. The exact amount of time can vary by individual. For some, abstinence may need to be permanent.

If someone with this condition has alcohol use disorder, a healthcare provider will need to set up a treatment plan. This plan will help manage the condition as well as the withdrawal symptoms that may occur with abstinence.

Alcoholic hepatitis

If excessive alcohol consumption continues, inflammation levels can begin to increase in the liver. This can lead to a condition called alcoholic hepatitis.

Alcoholic hepatitis can have the following symptoms:

  • pain in the area of the liver
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • fever
  • nausea and vomiting
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)

Alcoholic hepatitis can be mild or severe. In mild alcoholic hepatitis, liver damage occurs slowly over the course of many years.

Severe alcoholic hepatitis can come on suddenly, such as after binge drinking, and can be life threatening.

If you develop alcoholic hepatitis, you may be able to reverse the damage by permanently abstaining from alcohol. Treatment also involves dietary changes and medications to reduce inflammation.

Some people with severe alcoholic hepatitis may need a liver transplant.

Alcoholic cirrhosis

Continued liver damage due to alcohol consumption can lead to the formation of scar tissue, which begins to replace healthy liver tissue. This is referred to as fibrosis. When extensive fibrosis has occurred, alcoholic cirrhosis develops.

The symptoms of alcoholic cirrhosis are similar to those of alcoholic hepatitis. Additionally, alcoholic cirrhosis can lead to a variety of serious health complications, such as:

Alcoholic cirrhosis can’t be reversed. Treatment focuses on minimizing additional liver damage while addressing any complications that arise. In advanced cases, a liver transplant may be necessary.

ธุรกิจโฆษณา
HEALTHLINE EVENT
Will you get vaccinated?

We ask Lesley Stahl, Alyssa Milano, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and more in our Live Town Hall: COVID-19 One Year Retrospective on Thursday, March 11.

Some of the risk factors for developing alcohol-related liver disease include:

  • Alcohol consumption. Although drinking in moderation can cause some degree of fatty liver, consuming high quantities of alcohol over a long period of time puts you at an increased risk of alcohol-related liver disease.
  • Sex. Women are more likely to develop alcohol-related liver disease than men.
  • Obesity. People who have obesity are at a higher risk of alcohol-related liver disease.
  • Infections. Liver damage is accelerated in individuals who have chronic hepatitis B or hepatitis C.
  • Genetics. Genetic factors can influence how your body processes alcohol as well as your risk for alcohol-related liver disease or alcohol use disorder.

There are several steps you can take to help improve the health of your liver. Cutting down on your alcohol consumption is one of them.

Drinking alcohol in moderation can help lower your risk of liver disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source  defines moderate alcohol consumption as:

  • up to 1 drink per day for women
  • up to 2 drinks per day for men

Keep in mind that what’s considered a standard drink can vary based on the type of alcohol you’re consuming. One drink is considered to be:

  • 12 ounces (oz) of beer (5 percent alcohol)
  • 8 oz of malt liquor (7 percent alcohol)
  • 5 oz of wine (12 percent alcohol)
  • 1.5 oz of liquor (40 percent alcohol)

It’s important to avoid drinking alcohol altogether if you’re:

  • recovering from alcohol use disorder
  • pregnant
  • taking medications that can interact with alcohol

Additional tips for boosting liver health

In addition to reducing your alcohol intake, you can also take the following steps to help boost the health of your liver:

  • Eat a healthy diet. Try to eat a diet rich in fresh produce, whole grains, and lean protein. Limit foods that are high in sugarsunhealthy fats, and refined carbohydrates.
  • Break a sweat. Regular exercise can help reduce excess fat in your body, including fat in your liver.
  • Manage weight. Having obesity can increase your risk of alcohol-related liver disease. If you’re overweight or obese, work with your doctor to develop a weight loss plan that’s right for you.
  • Mind your medications. Some medications and supplements can stress your liver. Examples include acetaminophen (Tylenol), statins, and ephedra. Always take these as directed and avoid taking them with alcohol.
  • Protect against hepatitis. Some ways to prevent getting viral hepatitis include getting vaccinated for hepatitis A and hepatitis B, using condoms and other barrier methods during sex, and not reusing needles or other injectable drug materials.
  • Have regular checkups. Seeing your doctor regularly can help your doctor identify and treat any underlying health conditions early. Additionally, if you have early symptoms of alcohol-related liver disease, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your doctor.

Alcohol is one of several substances that can damage your liver. Excessive alcohol consumption can cause fat to build up in your liver. This can lead to inflammation and an increase in scar tissue, which can seriously impact your liver’s ability to function as it should.

The early stages of alcohol-related liver disease typically have no symptoms. When they’re present, the early symptoms can include pain in the area of your liver, fatigue, and unexplained weight loss.

The early stages of alcohol-related liver disease can potentially be reversed by abstaining from alcohol. For some people, this may need to be permanent. If damage persists, alcoholic cirrhosis can develop, which can’t be reversed.

You can improve the health of your liver by abstaining from alcohol or only drinking in moderation, eating a healthy diet, and managing your weight. If you notice early signs of alcohol-related liver disease, be sure to follow up with your doctor.

 

How Much Alcohol Is Safe to Drink Daily?

In order to know what the safe or recommended daily intake of alcoholic beverages is, you first need to know what is considered a standard drink.
Reviewed by: Scot Thomas, M.D.
Updated: August 5, 2020
clock6 min read
On This Page

How Much Alcohol Is Safe to Drink Daily? 

Alcohol is second to only tobacco as the most widely-used substance in the United States. In recent surveys, more than 86% of people ages 18 and over reported drinking alcohol at some point in their life.1 Even though moderate drinking is common in many cultures, anyone who chooses to drink alcohol daily must remain aware of its potential risks. 

Despite the perception that alcohol is somewhat distinct from other drugs, alcohol is in fact one of the most addictive substances consumed worldwide. Drinking is by no means an entirely benign pastime. Alcohol consumption, though somewhat normalized, results in more than 3 million alcohol-related deaths each year throughout the world.2  

Increasingly so, many argue that the only safe amount of alcohol to drink is none at all. However, to minimize the myriad of potential health risks, people who choose to drink should weigh certain biological, psychological, and environmental factors. The daily amount of alcohol that constitutes low-risk drinking may differ from one person to the next. The following components can potentially influence the amount of alcohol that is safe for someone to drink:3 

  • Age 
  • Weight 
  • Concurrent use of other drugs, including both certain prescribed or over-the-counter medications 
  • General mental and physical health status 
  • Genetic influences 
  • Sex  

Although general guidelines exist to help people determine how much alcohol they can drink while minimizing health risks, recommended authoritative limits do not guarantee safety for every individual. Drinking responsibly requires an awareness of how much you, as an individual, can consume without becoming impaired or otherwise under the control of alcohol. Excessive drinking can lead to irreversible health-related or social consequences.1,4

Drinking While Pregnant 

Women who are pregnant should not consume alcohol. There is no amount of alcohol that is completely safe for pregnant women to consume. Drinking while pregnant exposes the developing baby to the potentially-toxic effects of alcohol and increases the risk of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.5 Even women who are breastfeeding are encouraged to abstain from drinking, as exposure to alcohol in breastmilk could unintentionally hurt an infant by impairing growth and cognitive development.4,6 

Dietary Guidelines For Safe Levels Of Alcohol Consumption 

It has long been debated whether there actually is any amount of alcohol that constitutes a safe amount to drink.

According to the US Dietary Guidelines, 2015-2020, people should limit their alcohol-related risks by drinking in moderation, meaning up to 1 serving of alcohol per day for women and up to 2 servings per day for men.4 Daily drinking may indeed be harmful for you, especially if you suffer from certain health conditions, mental health issues, or have a family history of substance use disorders.  

What Is One Serving of Alcohol? 

Measuring your alcohol isn’t always simple or easy. One “serving” of alcohol depends on the percentage of alcohol in your beverage 

One alcoholic drink-equivalent totals as:4  

  • 12 ounces of beer (containing an average percentage of 5% alcohol). 
  • 5 ounces of wine (containing an average percentage of 12% alcohol). 
  • 1.5 fluid ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits (containing an average percentage of around 40% alcohol). 

Be aware that these are rough guidelines. These protocols may not apply to every single brand or type of drink within a particular category of spirits. In fact, most drinks served at bars tend to be larger than these suggested serving sizes.7 No alcoholic beverage is currently considered safer than any other type of spirit, either.  

___ 

Free and low-cost alcoholism treatment is available.

How Much Alcohol Is Too Much?  

There is no clear-cut way to determine how much alcohol is “too much” to drink. Each individual’s body chemistry is unique and situations in which alcohol is being consumed will naturally vary. Increasingly so, researchers investigating the global impact of substance use on health and disease are making arguments that even small amounts of alcohol can be detrimental to our health, and that the associated risks rise with increased levels of consumption.8

When it comes to the amount of drinking, there are patterns of alcohol consumption—such as binge drinking—that can greatly increase several types of health risks.  

  • For example, binge drinking is associated with increased:9 
  • Risk of violence. 
  • Injuries, such as car crashes and fall-related injuries. 
  • Heart disease. 
  • Stroke. 
  • Certain types of cancer. 
  • Memory and learning issues. 
  • Alcohol poisoning or alcohol overdose. 
  • Alcohol use disorder (AUD). 

What Is Binge Drinking? 

Binge drinking is not defined by a specific number of drinks people have, but by the blood alcohol content (BAC) they reach while drinking. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), binge drinking is a pattern of alcohol consumption that raises the BAC to 0.08 or above.1 

Typically, women may reach this BAC by having 4 or more drinks in a span of 2 hours. In men, this may be reached by having around 5 or more drinks in 2 hours.4 Similarly, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines binge drinking as 4 or more drinks for women and 5 or more for men in the same sitting (i.e., at the same time or within a few hours of each other), with such a pattern taking place at least once during the past month.1 

What Is Excessive Drinking? 

The concept of excessive alcohol consumption, or “heavy drinking” may also encompass binge drinking. However, excessive alcohol consumption also refers to when women have more than 8 drinks in one week, and when men have 15 or more drinks in one week. In comparison, as mentioned above, binge drinking refers more to having 4 or more drinks for women or 5 or more drinks for men in a time span of two hours.4

How Long Does It Take To Get Drunk? 

Several factors affect how alcohol long it takes for someone to feel intoxicated, such as weight, how much someone has eaten that day, and even the amount of water in their body which can influence the rate at which a person’s BAC rises.10 In many instances, someone may begin to feel the effects of alcohol within 30 minutes of consuming an alcoholic beverage, depending on their BAC. 

Biological and Genetic Factors 

Certain genes may confer differences in the ability to metabolize alcohol in the body, which can influence the rate at which alcohol blood levels rise and fall. Genetic heritability also plays a role in the likelihood of developing an alcohol use disorder. For instance, a person with a family history of alcoholism or addiction may be at a higher risk of developing problematic patterns of drinking, so abstaining from alcohol may be a safer option for this person than consuming any amount of alcohol.11 

Certain medical conditions such as the following can make drinking any amount of alcohol very dangerous: 

  • Diabetes 
  • Cirrhosis 
  • Heart conditions 

Certain medications can make daily alcohol consumption unsafe at any level and for any individual. Alcohol is generally not recommended for people who take certain prescription drugs. A person should consider his or her overall physical health, medical conditions, and the medications they are taking before deciding how much alcohol is safe for them to drink each day.  

Psychological Factors 

Mental health issues and substance use disorders, including alcohol use disorders commonly co-occur. Struggling with a mental health disorder can influence the likelihood of developing patterns of problematic drinking and, conversely, having an alcohol use disorder can increase the risk of developing significant psychiatric issues. The potential interplay of both can worsen the course and treatment of the other. Many healthcare professionals advise that those with certain psychological conditions (including those people who might experience adverse interactions between alcohol and their psychiatric medications) steer clear of drinking alcohol.12

In many cases of compulsive alcohol use, people lose control over the ability to regulate their patterns of drinking. For those not struggling with such compulsive patterns of use, the amount of alcohol one consumes may be more of a personal choice—but not one that people should weigh lightly because of the myriad risks to health, including the potential for eventual alcohol use disorder development. To determine their safe level of drinking, people must consider the biological, environmental, and psychological factors that could affect their safety while drinking, while also abiding by the recommendations set forth in the U.S. Dietary Guidelines. And, as always, the absolute safest level of drinking remains none at all. 

Sources

 

 

 

 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/alcohol/art-20044551

https://www.healthline.com/health/early-signs-of-liver-damage-from-alcohol

https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/faqs.htm

 

การอดสุรา | โรคพิษสุราเรื้อรัง | คุณเมาหรือไม่ | อาการขาดสุรา | สุราช่วยลดอัตราการเสียชีวิต | ผลเสียต่อสุขภาพ | การรักษา