Everything You Should Know About Alcohol Abuse!

Alcohol Abuse & Addiction - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment


For most people, moderate consumption of alcohol is generally not harmful. With regular alcohol abuse, you are not as such physically dependent, but you may still have a number of serious problems. People who abuse alcohol often tend to neglect responsibilities at school, work or other areas. It may also make you put yourself in certain dangerous situations or result in legal or social issues. However, around 18 million adult U.S. citizens have an alcohol use disorder (AUD). This indicates that their drinking habits lead to distress, health issues and harm. It includes alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Alcoholism, or what is commonly known as alcohol dependence, causes physical dependence, tolerance to alcohol (increased amount of alcohol is required to produce similar effects), alcohol cravings and loss of control over your drinking habits. Read on to know about symptoms, causes and treatments of alcohol abuse.

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Alcohol Abuse Statistics

Alcoholism is generally used to indicate a more serious form of this disorder. It includes alcohol craving, lack of control over their drinking behavior, a massive physical dependence such that if he or she stops consuming alcohol it would lead to  multiple withdrawal symptoms or the need for consuming an increased amount of alcohol for similar effects. Alcohol Use Disorder or alcoholism is generally looked upon as a chronic issue.

A large chunk of people from United States indulge in alcohol abuse. Alcoholism is among major public health issues there . Among children aged 12-17 year, the prevalence rate is around 4.6% while for people over the age of 18 it is almost 8.5%. Prevalence rates are much higher in for men (12.4%) than that for women (4.9%). Prevalence rates are much lower in the middle age and reduce to the lowest people who are 65 years or older (1.5%). An estimated 17 million adults aged 18 and above indulge in alcohol abuse and around 1 in every 10 children has a parent who has alcohol use disorder. [1]

With this, let’s begin with the classic signs and symptoms of the alcohol use disorder.


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Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse

The signs and symptoms of  the Alcohol Use Disorder or alcoholism include:

Psychological Symptoms or Mood Issues:

Behavioral Symptoms:

Social Symptoms:

Physical Symptoms:

Tolerance Symptoms:

Withdrawal Symptoms:

Now that you know the classic signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse, lets get to the causes that may possibly lead to alcohol use disorder or alcoholism.

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Causes Leading To Alcohol Abuse

A number of causes may lead to alcohol abuse. Let’s discuss a few factors that lead to the alcohol abuse below.

After discussing the causes, let us discuss the treatment options available for people struggling with alcohol abuse.

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Treatments Available For Alcohol Abuse

The treatment option that is apt for you majorly depends on the situation and your aims. Most people with alcohol abuse believe that a combination of these treatments is best, and you may get all of them together through a program. Few treatments out of these are residential or inpatient programs, where you are made to stay at the treatment center for a duration. Others treatments include outpatient programs, wherein you can easily live at your home and visit the center for suitable treatment. Let’s discuss the treatment options available for the same.

1. Go For A Detox

People who are struggling with severe alcoholism or alcohol use disorder, must consider this as a primary step. Your goal would be to stop drinking alcohol and give your body sufficient time to eliminate alcohol from your system. This generally takes only few days to around one week. Most people might need to visit hospital or a treatment center due to painful withdrawal symptoms such as:


Doctors and other experienced physicians can recommend you medicines to alleviate your symptoms.

2. See a Therapist or Counselo

With alcohol abuse or alcohol use disorder, controlling your urge of drinking is just one part of the answer. You would also need to learn multiple skills and strategies to help you out of the habit. Social workers, psychologists or alcohol counselors may help you with the following:

Few people require a focused and short counseling session. Others might require a one-on-one session for longer time to effectively deal with other psychological issues such as depression and anxiety. Alcohol at times also have a big effect on the people who are closest to you, so family or couples therapy may help you too.

3. Medications

No medicine can really treat alcohol abuse or alcoholism, but few medicines may help you recover early. These medicines can make drinking much less enjoyable such that you would not like to do it as much as you were:

Drugs that are used for various other conditions such as pain, smoking or epilepsy may also help with your alcohol use disorder. Consult your doctor to know which one of those might be helpful for you.

4. Join a Support Group

A support group or a group therapy can help you significantly during the rehabilitation and this may help you stay right on track as your life gets back to its normal course.

Group therapy, that is led by an experienced therapist, can provide benefits of therapy along with support of others as in a support group.

Support groups, on the other hand, are not led by any therapist. Instead, they have groups of people who are also suffering from alcohol use disorder or alcohol abuse. For example SMART Recovery, Alcoholics Anonymous and various other programs. Your peers may offer you understanding and much needed advice to help you cope with the issues. Many people like to stay in groups as for several years.

5. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can take place either one on one with an experienced therapist or in several small groups. This type of therapy is basically focused at identifying the very feelings and circumstances (known as “cues”) that make a person indulge in heavy drinking or alcohol abuse. It also focuses at managing stress such that to prevent any relapse. Strong family support helps in alcohol abstinence as compared to the patients who undergo any individual counseling.

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Recovery may take a longer time, so you might require an ongoing treatment.  Few people under the recovery process do relapse and drink again. If you relapse, don’t think that you’ve failed. This is just a phase in the process, and your recovery may get easier. After five years, only one out of every seven people have drinking issues. Treatment works and quite well, you just need to give yourself some time.

Did you enjoy reading our article? Did you follow any of the recommendations given below. Keep checking this space out for more on alcohol abuse.

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