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What Is Considered Alcohol Abuse?

a man sitting pensively about the dangers of alcohol abuse

Alcohol abuse is defined as the habitual overuse of alcohol. Problem drinking may be severe in people with an alcohol use disorder (AUD). Health issues, school difficulties, home problems, job difficulties, and even legal difficulties are frequently caused by alcoholism.

There are many different types of treatment available for alcohol use disorders, but the most critical first step is to seek help. If you or someone you know is struggling with an AUD, plenty of resources are available to get started on the road to recovery. Contact Vertava Health Texas at 844.311.8395 for help and information on our alcohol addiction treatment program.

What Is Binge Drinking?

The criteria to consider problem drinking or binge drinking usually occurs after multiple drinks are consumed. Binge drinking is a drinking pattern that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 g/dL. This typically happens when men consume five or more drinks, or women consume four or more drinks in about two hours. However, while there are set criteria that define the “moderation” limits of alcohol consumption, short- and long-term effects often depend on the following factors:

  • How often a person drinks
  • How long a person has been drinking
  • The person’s overall health
  • The age when a person first began drinking
  • A person’s age, gender, or genetic background
  • Environmental factors

Alcohol Use vs. Alcoholism

Alcohol affects each person differently. Some people who use alcohol could develop alcohol dependence, and others may not. A person who abuses alcohol may not always lose control when they drink. Unfortunately, any problem with drinking can increase a person’s tolerance and put them at risk of developing alcoholism.

It’s important to remember that someone who struggles with alcohol use isn’t necessarily addicted to alcohol. The terms alcoholic and alcohol use are often interchanged, but they are not the same. A person who suffers from alcohol use is at a much higher risk of developing alcoholism, and a person who is an alcoholic has the most extreme form of AUD.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse

There are many reasons why a person uses alcohol. These reasons include dealing with their environment, grief, trauma, or any preexisting mental illness. Sometimes it can be challenging to determine if you or someone you love is experiencing alcohol use problems. However, there are a few questions that can help identify if someone is abusing alcohol, such as:

  • Do you need to drink more to achieve the desired effect?
  • Do you drink longer and heavier than you originally intended?
  • Have you experienced difficulties attempting to cut back or stop drinking?
  • Do friends or loved ones voice concerns about your drinking?
  • Do you continue to drink after it’s damaged your relationships and social obligations?
  • Have you drank even though you are likely to cause physical harm? (e.g., operate a vehicle)
  • Do you experience frequent blackouts or bouts of forgetfulness?
  • Avoid obligations and continue drinking?
  • Does drinking replace activities that previously brought you pleasure or fulfillment?
  • Do you suffer withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking?
  • Hide or lie about your drinking habits?
  • Feel a sense of shame or denial about your drinking habits?
  • Are caught in legal or financial problems due to your drinking?

While a person does not need to meet every marker outlined above to have an alcohol use disorder, answering “yes” more than “no” clearly indicates alcohol use problems.

Types of Alcohol Abuse

Drinking in moderation may not have various short- or long-term effects, but several types of alcohol use can be detrimental in both the long- and short-term. These types of alcohol use problems include binge drinking and heavy alcohol use.

The problem with binge drinking is that consuming large amounts of alcohol in short periods can cause physical and cognitive problems and increase the likelihood of drunk driving, alcohol poisoning, or injury. Some other problems can include:

  • Weight gain
  • High blood pressure
  • Liver disease
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Unintentional injuries
  • Violent behavior
  • Memory problems
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders

The types of alcohol abuse can include :

  • Binge drinking
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Underage drinking
  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Drinking and pregnant
  • Polysubstance abuse
  • Harmful interactions

Alcohol use can quickly become abuse, and it’s essential to identify the warning signs early on. If you or someone you love shows signs of alcohol abuse, don’t hesitate to seek help. There are many resources available to get you on the path to recovery.

Get Help for Alcohol Abuse at Vertava Health – Texas

Alcohol use disorder is a chronic illness with relapse rates similar to diabetes, asthma, and high blood pressure. Treating alcohol use disorder can help a person avoid adverse health consequences and remain free from alcohol.

A complication with treating alcohol use disorder is that alcohol affects each person differently, and there is often no one-size-fits-all program. However, at Vertava Health Texas, we offer an individualized treatment program that addresses the problem based on each person and their particular illness. Some of our core treatment modalities for alcohol use include:

  • Medically supervised detox
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Group therapy
  • Mindfulness and stress management
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Family and couples therapy
  • Adventure therapy
  • Wilderness therapy

If you or someone you know is struggling with an alcohol problem, don’t wait to seek professional support. Contact Vertava Health Texas at 844.311.8395 for more information about our alcohol detoxification and rehabilitation programs.