Alcohol is a drug that is commonly known and used throughout the world. Alcohol was once an illegal drug, like heroin or cocaine. However, since the end of prohibition in 1933, it’s completely legal to people 21 years of age and older. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, which means it slows down functioning of the brain and respiratory system. Those under the influence describe a decrease in anxiety and stress. Many adults use alcohol as a social lubricant, to feel more at ease when meeting new people. People under the influence typically feel lowered inhibitions, loss of coordination, and slurred speech. Alcohol is a drug that is commonly abused. Whether people are drinking everyday, binge drinking on the weekends or only drink once in a while in excess, the effects of alcohol abuse can still be deadly. Alcohol related deaths are higher than any other drug related deaths. Not all problem drinkers are physically addicted to alcohol, there are some who binge drink, which is just as dangerous. Binge drinking is when someone a large amount of alcohol is consumed within a 2-hour period. For male binge drinkers this would be 5 or more drinks, and for females this would be 4 or more drinks. Binge drinking is most prevalent in people under the age of 24. In fact, 42.8% of people under age 24 report binge drinking. Although the binge drinkers’ body is not yet dependent on alcohol, prolonged binge drinking can lead to liver damage, physical injury and eventual dependency on alcohol. You might not notice someone is developing a drinking problem, but some tell-tale signs that someone is struggling are: their life is beginning to be negatively affected by alcohol by job loss, DUI’s, bar fights, broken relationships, or financial problems.
SIGNS OF ABUSE
A person who is intoxicated on alcohol will show many immediate signs and symptoms. There are also long-term effects of continuous drinking. A person under the influence of alcohol tends to have blood shot eyes, slur their speech and make repetitive statements. They also tend to exhibit agitation, disorientation, and poor or impaired judgement. An intoxicated person can also experiencing difficulty standing still or maintaining balance while walking. Negative short-term side effects caused by problem drinking can include having trouble breathing, experiencing headaches, nausea and subsequent vomiting, and Alcohol is a depressant, and long-term use can exacerbate depression and anxiety. More severe physical symptoms can include hand tremors, brain damage, psoriasis, chronic pancreatitis, and cirrhosis of the liver.
WITHDRAWING FROM ALCOHOL
Alcohol withdrawal can be very dangerous and potentially deadly. During alcohol withdrawal someone may experience physical pain and mental anguish. Physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal begin 5 to 10 hours after the last drink and typically last 4 to 6 days. Mental anguish may last longer than your initial alcohol withdrawal, depending on how much and for how long you drank. Physical withdrawal symptoms include hand tremors, nausea and vomiting, and a fever. Mental alcohol withdrawal symptoms such as depression, nightmares or panic attacks. Delirium tremens are life threatening tremors that occur 12 to 48 hours after stopping drinking. Delirium tremens can cause hallucinations, violent shaking, seizures, and heart problems. 1 out of every 20 people will experience these dangerous withdrawal symptoms if quitting drinking cold turkey.