Short-Term Effects Of Alcohol Abuse
Many people are aware of the risks associated with long-term drinking, but even the short-term effects of alcohol abuse can result in consequences to your mind, body, and relationships.
For many people, alcohol is a part of favorite pastimes, like celebrations, cultural events, and rites of passage. While some individuals can enjoy an occasional drink without much consequence, an estimated 18 million American adults are battling an alcohol use disorder.
Unfortunately, the short-term effects of alcohol abuse can leave a lasting negative impact on your life. When someone is intoxicated, their judgment becomes impaired, which may result in situations that put themselves and others at risk for injury. Even one incident of intoxication could lead to a drunk driving accident, a DUI/DWI, or death.
Most people are familiar with the long-term effects of alcohol abuse, such as high blood pressure and liver cirrhosis. But alcohol abuse can also result in stressful short-term effects on your life, including damaged relationships, legal trouble, and the potential for injury.
It’s commonly misconceived that if individuals don’t abuse alcohol for years on end, they will escape any potential hazard.
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Short-Term Effects Of Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol is a known depressant and can result in dangerous risks to your health, even used over a short period of time. Additionally, just one instance of alcohol abuse can have lasting impacts on a person’s life, relationships, and their criminal record.
Some of the short-term effects of alcohol abuse include:
Loss Of Control
Altered judgment caused by alcohol may cause someone to engage in risky sexual behaviors, or have aggressive reactions to situations that wouldn’t normally upset them.
When people drink to relax, it may result in a loss of inhibitions. They may temporarily forget about consequences or responsibilities. This can lead to the compromised safety of the person drinking and the people around them.
Missing Work Or Compromising A Job
If someone drinks heavily, they may pass out and forget to set an alarm. This could result in being late for work, arriving smelling of alcohol, or being subjected to required drug testing.
Some individuals may choose to attend work while still under the influence, which puts them at risk of being fired.
When drinking, some individuals have unpredictable behavior. They may act out of character or see someone they know and forget the interaction entirely.
Many people struggling with alcohol abuse may act belligerently in public and have no recollection of it the next day (called “blacking out”). This type of attitude or behavior can result in violence like assault, homicide, suicide, or intimate partner violence.
You do not have to have an alcohol use disorder to be affected by drunk driving. Even “buzzed driving” can be considered driving under the influence, and a
Short-Term Effects Of Alcohol On The Body
Illness can result from the effect of alcohol has on lowering your body temperature. That St. Bernard with its cask of brandy may make you feel warmer when you’re stuck in a snowbank in the Alps, but alcohol actually dilates your blood vessels, causing warmer blood to move closer to the surface of the skin. Meanwhile, you’re losing general, internal body heat, which can result in hypothermia, which can be fatal.
Short-term alcohol abuse can also result in dangers to your health, including:
- alcohol-related aspiration (choking to death on vomit while unconscious)
- alcohol poisoning
- a headache
Understanding Alcohol Abuse And Addiction
Because alcohol is so widely consumed, it can be challenging to differentiate between mild, moderate, and problematic drinking. Experts from The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism state that “drinking too much — on a single occasion or over time — can take a serious toll on your health.”
Alcohol abuse is defined as any misuse of alcohol, including binge drinking, heavy alcohol use, and development of an alcohol use disorder.
Alcohol abuse can manifest in the forms of:
- Binge drinking: Binge drinking is any alcohol use that results in blood alcohol levels of at least 0.08, usually estimated at four drinks for women and five drinks for men (over the course of about two hours).
- Heavy alcohol use: Heavy alcohol use occurs when an individual binge drinks on five or more days over a period of 30 days.
- Alcohol use disorders (AUD): AUD is a “chronic relapsing brain disease” that includes compulsive drinking, loss of control over the amount of alcohol, and a negative emotional state when not using.
Signs Of Alcohol Abuse
If you or someone close to you is having difficulty controlling their drinking, there are treatment options available. Knowing the signs of alcohol abuse can be a tangible way to find help for you or your loved one that is suffering from alcohol abuse.
Common signs of alcohol abuse include:
- drinking in secret
- underage or binge drinking
- becoming defensive about alcohol
- drinking more than intended, or more often
- spending a lot of time drinking, or recovering from drinking
- change in priorities or friend groups
- requiring higher amounts of alcohol to achieve the same feeling
- drinking alone
- unsuccessful attempts to moderate or quit drinking
- being stressed or anxious if social events do not have alcohol
- drinking despite repeated consequences
- making excuses to drink at inappropriate times or places
Early detection of alcohol abuse can increase the chances of a person’s long-term recovery. Being aware of these indicators can be a positive way to take action if someone’s drinking habits concern you.
Treatment For Alcohol Use Disorder
Due to the high numbers of alcohol abuse in our country, effective treatment options are available more than ever before. However, despite treatment being readily available, only about 6.7 percent of adults with alcohol use disorders choose to seek the help they need. Some may think they don’t have the time or money to enter treatment, but there are affordable and flexible options to fit every family’s schedule.
Inpatient Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Residential also referred to as inpatient rehab, offers the highest level of addiction care, where patients temporarily reside on-site during their alcohol rehab treatment. These facilities have highly qualified staff, ranging from therapists to addiction specialists and medical doctors. Inpatient treatment typically provides individual, group, and family counseling, along with recreational activities such as yoga, equine therapy, and wellness groups.
Some inpatient treatment programs are at luxury rehab centers and provide similar therapies in an upscale environment equipped with exclusive amenities. Medication-assisted treatment and detox services are also frequently provided at inpatient alcohol rehab programs.
Outpatient Alcohol Treatment Programs
An outpatient rehab center may best fit the needs of those with work or family demands, as these programs are more flexibly scheduled. Typically offered in daytime or evening sessions, outpatient programs will provide many of the same services as an inpatient, but without the high level of supervision. Outpatient addiction treatment programs will likely include group therapy sessions and 12-Step meetings.
Recovery is possible for those struggling with alcohol abuse. For more information on the short-term effects of alcohol abuse, or to learn more about treatment options near you, reach out to one of our specialists today.Article Sources
National Institutes of Health: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - Alcohol's Effects on the Body
National Institutes of Health: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - Alcohol Facts and Statistics
National Institutes of Health: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - What Is A Standard Drink?
National Institutes of Health: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - Drinking Levels Defined
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Impaired Driving: Get the Facts