There are many types of alcohol, a legal controlled substance that lowers inhibitions and anxiety. Classified as a depressant, alcohol generates a broad range of effects including slurred speech, distorted judgment, loss of coordination and altered reaction times. Ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, is used in beverages and is created by the fermentation of grains and fruits. An alcoholic drink is defined as one ½-ounce shot of liquor, a five-ounce glass of wine and a 12-ounce bottle of beer.
Is My Alcohol Consumption a problem?
Moderate Alcohol consumption is defined as two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. Over-consumption becomes a behavioral disorder when females consume 12 alcoholic drinks or more in a week or men consume 15 alcoholic drinks or more in a week.
Your consumption amount can be a problem if…
- You are Pregnant.
- You are taking some over-the- counter medicines or prescription medicine.
- You plan to operate a vehicle or machinery.
- You are under the legal drinking age.
Fermented drinks, such as beer and wine, contain from 2 percent alcohol to 20 percent alcohol. Distilled drinks, or liquor, contain from 40 to 50 percent or more alcohol. The usual alcohol content for each is:
- Beer 2–6% alcohol
- Wine 8–20% alcohol
- Tequila 40% alcohol
- Rum 40% or more alcohol
- Brandy 40% or more alcohol
- Gin 40–47% alcohol
- Whiskey 40–50% alcohol
- Vodka 40–50% alcohol
- Liqueurs 15–60% alcohol
A person who is mentally or physically addicted to alcohol suffers from alcohol dependency. This individual has a strong urge or need to take a drink. Alcohol dependency is a long-term chronic disease, which as a predictable pattern and symptoms. Alcohol dependency is different from alcohol abuse. Some signs of alcohol dependency include:
- You need to drink an increasing amount to get the same effect, or to feel “drunk.”
- If you are a man, you have more than 14 drinks a week or more than four drinks at a time. If you are a woman, you have more than seven drinks a week or more than three drinks at one time.
- You cannot control how much alcohol they consume and cannot quit drinking.
- When you need to stop drinking, you have withdrawal symptoms, which may include sweating, shaking, stomach problems and feeling anxious.
- You have tried to cut back on drinking alcohol or quit drinking alcohol but have not been able to succeed.
- You have given up activities in order to drink
- You continue to drink even though you know it causes physical problems, harms your relationships, causes injuries, causes legal problems and causes you to miss work or school.
People who have a tendency to binge drink are at high risk for developing an alcohol addiction. Binge drinking, often associated with younger people, is defined as drinking (within a two-hour span) four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men in the same timeframe. Binge drinkers may be able to go days without drinking, but once they begin drinking they often do so in excess.
High Functioning Alcoholic
A high functioning alcoholic is able to drink at a high level, and still maintain control of day-to-day activities. They often drink excessively in private and do not typically display the outward symptoms of an alcoholic. They are typically in denial about the amount of alcohol they consume.
- People in the U.S. spend more than $90 billion annually on alcoholic beverages.
- The average U.S. consumer may drink more than 2 gallons of wine, 1 ½ gallons of distilled spirits and 25 gallons of beer each year.
- Alcohol abuse accounts for approximately 67 percent of all substance abuse complaints that U.S. employers receive.
- The largest percentage – 12.2 percent – of heavy drinkers is adults between the ages of 26 and 34 who are unemployed.
- One in three people have been involved in a crash related to alcohol in their lifetime.
- Approximately 50,000 different cases of alcohol poisoning are reported in the U.S. each year.
- More than 15 million U.S. citizens are dependent on alcohol.