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Alcohol Abuse

What is Alcohol Abuse?

This refers to repeated patterns of excessive alcohol intake. Most people who abuse alcohol often drink daily.

Alcohol abuse can harm your social and personal life. It can also affect productivity at work.

As earlier stated, alcohol abuse is also the first step towards alcohol use disorder (alcoholism). It can also have an impact on your health in the short and long term.

How Does Alcohol Abuse Affect Your Health?

The effect of consistently abusing alcohol is usually felt in the body. A person who abuses alcohol might develop health complications such as

  • Liver problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Digestive health issues
  • Chronic insomnia

Prolonged excessive intake of alcohol can adversely affect bone density. This might lead to a longer healing time for injuries.

The danger with alcohol abuse is that most adverse effects are not felt immediately. So, people keep abusing alcohol until it is too late.

People who suffer from alcohol addiction experience intense cravings. In other words, they depend on alcohol to function. A person who abuses alcohol might not be dependent on it, but alcohol abuse usually leads to addiction (alcoholism).

Causes of Alcohol Abuse

  • Social pressures
  • Mental health conditions. This includes anxiety and depression
  • Feelings of worthlessness or unhappiness
  • Family or personal history of alcohol abuse

How is Alcohol Abuse Diagnosed?

Diagnosis is usually carried out by a health care professional. They will ask several questions to decide if your condition has escalated to alcohol use disorder.

Questions they might ask include:

  • Have you ever gotten sick from drinking?
  • Have you ever tried to stop drinking? Did it work?
  • Has drinking disrupted your daily activities?
  • Do you experience nausea, insomnia, and sweating when the alcohol effects wear off?
  • Do you regularly binge drink?
  • Do you need to drink more now to experience the same effects as before?

They might also ask for physical and mental examinations to rule out any other conditions.


FDA has provided guidelines concerning medication for alcohol abuse. Currently, there are three recommended drugs.

They are

  • Disulfiram – Also known as Antabuse, this drug intervenes in the body’s metabolism process. People who take this medication will vomit or suffer from nausea if they take alcohol. Disulfiram is taken orally.
  • Naltrexone – This medication focuses on reducing alcohol cravings. It is administered by injection.
  • Acamprosate – Also known as Campral, this medication tries to restore the brain’s chemical balance. It is taken orally.

Therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help adjust the person’s thinking pattern. Your healthcare expert might also recommend other forms of therapy.

Therapies usually go along with support groups and counseling. Support groups act as a form of good peer pressure.

These support groups usually meet in person or online. They can also be a great source of encouragement.

Counseling can help prevent relapses.

When Should You Contact Your Doctor?

Contact your doctor if you feel you are abusing alcohol. Do not let it develop into alcohol use disorder (AUD). If you have a friend or family member that is abusing alcohol, encourage them to seek help.

The earlier they do, the better.

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