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Effects & Abuse
Alcohol depresses the central nervous system and slows many physical and mental body processes. It is often enjoyed in social settings since it reduces feelings of anxiety and stress.
It is often hard to discern between alcohol use and abuse because alcohol is legal and widely accepted in society. A large number of alcoholics are “high-functioning alcoholics,” meaning that they can work and perform most basic life functions without their alcoholism interfering. Alcohol use and abuse is often seen in conjunction with the use and abuse of other substances.
- Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the U.S.
- One in every 12 adults has some level of dependence on alcohol
Symptoms & Warning Signs
- Using alcohol to relax
- Binge drinking
- Continuing to drink when others have stopped
- Passing out
- Drinking alone
- Needing alcohol to cope with life
- Participating in dangerous behaviors while drinking
- Becoming angry when confronted about drinking
Withdrawal & Detox
The effects of alcohol withdrawal and detox can be wide ranging depending on the level of addiction. The most common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are depression, fatigue, shakiness, anxiety, nausea, fever, headache, nightmares, and irritability.
The most severe form of alcohol withdrawal is delirium tremens. The tremors, hallucinations, heart problems, and seizures that can be caused by delirium tremens can be life threatening. Alcohol detox, especially for long-term alcoholics, can be very dangerous and should be done under medical supervision.
Treatment & Rehab
Going through withdrawal and detox are the first steps in treating alcoholism. Treatment can be done through a variety of methods. After initial treatment, people recovering from alcohol abuse are encouraged to continue attending therapy or support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Ongoing therapy and support groups are essential to discovering and repairing the underlying causes of the addiction.