• Asha M. Creary

Alcohol Misuse Disorder

April being National Alcohol Awareness Month, we thought it was important to highlight some demographic information, signs of alcoholism and some tools to help reduce alcohol abuse. Alcohol is relatively easy to obtain and widely acceptable by society, thus making its abuse an easy habit to pick up. Alcohol is the most frequently used substance by adults and children in the US. Around 5,000 youth under the age of 21 die each year due to alcohol use. 55.3% of high school seniors reported using alcohol in the past year. Alcohol is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States and about 95,000 people die from alcohol related causes each year.

There are various signs and symptoms of alcohol misuse. These signs and symptoms will help you identify if you or someone close to you are struggling with alcohol abuse. Behavioral signs include More than 12 drinks per week for women and 15 for men or more than 5 drinks a day in a one-week period and drinking alone. Cognitive signs of alcohol misuse include making excuses to drink, feelings of guilt for drinking, drinking more to feel the effects of alcohol and choosing to drink, despite issues with finances, legal or social issues caused by alcohol use. Thiamin or B6 deficiency, development of gout, cravings, physical dependence are physical symptoms of alcohol misuse. Other signs and symptoms include eating poorly, neglecting personal hygiene and being unable to control alcohol intake.

Alcohol has many effects on the body including the following when overconsumption has happened. The following are more apparent when alcohol use goes past the normal blood limit.

· Black outs

· Dizziness

· Shakiness

· Cravings

· Aggression

· Agitation

· Lack of restraint

· Anxiety

· Euphoria

· Vomiting

· Nausea

· Physical substance dependence

· Blurred vision

· Slurred speech

· Problems with coordination

Risk factors play a huge role in a person’s ability to engage in misuse. These factors include family history of alcohol use disorder, peer pressure, low self-esteem and high levels of stress. There are some mental illnesses that may lead to misuse and they include depression, anxiety and schizophrenia.

What can you do to reduce your alcohol consumption or end alcohol misuse? There are so many different things you can do but the most important is to avoid people, places and things that trigger your alcohol consumption. It is as equally important to know your triggers and know your true limits. You can seek support from a medical professional, seek cognitive behavioral therapy with a trusted mental health professional or join a support group for alcoholics. These are just a few suggestions but a great place to start.


Alcohol Misuse Self Check Quiz

You may misuse alcohol if you answer yes to majority of of the following questions:

1. Do you feel guilty after drinking alcohol?

2. Do you become aggressive, violent or irritable when you’re using alcohol?

3. Do you have problems at work or school due to your alcohol use?

4. Do you believe you might be better if you cut down on your drinking?

5. Do you drink more to be able to feel the effects of alcohol?

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