Wine Abuse, Addiction, And Treatment Options

Wine is an alcoholic beverage, created through the fermentation of fruit, typically grapes. Wine contains a high amount of alcohol by volume (ABV), meaning that a 5-ounce glass of wine contains on average 12 percent ethanol. Individuals who consume excessive amounts of wine are at a greater risk of developing an addiction.

A moderate amount of alcohol consumption is considered two drinks a day for men, and one for women. Binge drinking is defined as five drinks or more on one occasion for men, and four or more for women.

Binge drinking can even lead to overdose. Often, wine addiction begins innocently, with a drink or two at the end of the day. But before long, one might find they are consuming the entire bottle.

Like any other alcoholic drink, drinking wine can lead to wine addiction.

Who’s At Risk For Wine Abuse?

Wine is considered an elegant accompaniment to a meal. It’s a beverage that is commonly studied among connoisseurs. However, while it might be classy and refined to engage in a continual study of wine, it is still an alcoholic beverage. It stands to reason that one who drinks wine often, even with care, carries a greater risk of becoming addicted to it.

The normalization of over-imbibing with wine certainly has covert risks. It’s considered normal to consume an entire bottle of wine with friends at a restaurant, which usually equates to a couple of drinks per person. That would usually put one over the limit of recommended daily drinks.

Negative Side Effects Of Wine Abuse

Wine can be beneficial in small amounts, but moderation is key to experiencing those benefits. For example, the antioxidants present in red wine can burn fat. But if consumed beyond a small amount, wine can cause one to gain weight. Other benefits include:

  • the prevention of aging
  • brain diseases, such as dementia
  • cancer prevention

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Despite these benefits, drinking wine carries with it as much risk for abuse and addiction as any other variation of alcohol.

Alcohol is metabolized differently by each individual. Factors such as gender, height, weight, and even genetic makeup determine how one handles alcohol intake. This means that some may become intoxicated more quickly than others, while others can consume much more.

Wine contains additives known as “sulfites,” which are used to preserve wine, and stop it from turning into vinegar. However, many individuals are sensitive to this preservative, and there are many negative symptoms associated with consuming it. Chronic conditions, such as fibromyalgia, asthma, joint pain, and even depression are associated with sulfites and can be exacerbated.

When wine is consumed, some people may become energetic and feel happy. However, there are many negative side effects associated with drinking wine.

Some of these negative side effects include:

  • dehydration
  • nausea
  • slowed muscle movements
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • vomiting

Long-Term Effects Of Wine Abuse

Health problems can be a risk with wine addiction: for one matter, allergic reactions can have serious consequences, and even lead to death. The risk for cardiovascular problems, stroke, cancer, and other health problems becomes higher.

There are also more serious side effects associated with wine addiction:

  • violent, angry behavior
  • drop in body temperature
  • unconsciousness
  • alcohol poisoning
  • coma and overdose
  • death

In addition to the more immediate physical effects of wine addiction, there are long-term health consequences that can occur. The following are some serious health effects of wine addiction:

  • Brain – Wine addiction can seriously impact the brain. A serious illness, known as “wet brain syndrome,” or Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, refers to when an individual has a deficiency of thiamine. More often than not, this is a brain disease directly caused by alcohol abuse. The disease is characterized by confusion, ataxia (involuntary bodily movements), difficulty walking (due to nerve damage), short and long-term memory loss.
  • Heart – The heart can also be seriously affected by wine addiction. Some scientific reports demonstrate that a very moderate amount of wine can have cardiovascular benefits, such as benefits in the prevention of coronary heart disease. However, with wine addiction, more likely the effect on the heart will be high blood pressure, heart failure, cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease), cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and sudden cardiac death.
  • Liver – The liver is also seriously impacted by wine abuse and addiction. Over time, over consumption of wine can lead to different stages of liver damage. Fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, and at worst, alcoholic cirrhosis can occur.

Drinking wine excessively can also have legal consequences. If an individual is violent and harms another person, or drives while under the influence, they may have to deal with hefty fines, and potentially a drug court.

Signs Of Wine Abuse And Addiction

Since wine can produce allergic reactions or adverse health conditions, consuming wine despite the presence of these health factors can indicate a problem. Having difficulty in quitting drinking wine regardless of the negative side effects can show that an individual may have issues with abuse, or an addiction. In fact, consuming sulfites in wine can even be deadly to those who are sensitive or allergic to them.

While the prolonged use of wine can lead to addiction, there are a number of other symptoms that can indicate that one has a problem with alcohol.

Other signs of wine addiction include:

  • attempting to hide the amount of wine one has consumed
  • drinking secretly or at inappropriate times (such as in the morning, or before work)
  • being unable to control the amount of wine consumed
  • displaying issues at home, work, or school as a consequence of drinking wine
  • continuing to drink despite negative health consequences (such as heart issues, breathing problems, digestive problems, and so on)

Wine Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms

If someone has been consuming wine in excessive amounts for a long period of time, or has been abusing it, it will be difficult to stop. There are a number of negative side effects associated with quitting wine or other types of alcohol. Withdrawal is the number one reason why those addicted to wine relapse after attempting to quit, as the symptoms can be difficult to overcome.

Some symptoms of withdrawal from wine include:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • sweating
  • tremors
  • seizures
  • fever
  • tachycardia (rapid heart rate)
  • headaches

Depending on the amount of wine consumed and how long one was consuming it, withdrawal will be difficult for every person. However, going through a medically-supervised detox program will help ease the withdrawal process.

Medically-Supervised Alcohol Detox

When an individual is determined as having an addiction to wine, their body is also physically dependent on wine. This means that if they attempt to stop drinking it, they will experience the adverse mental and physical effects of withdrawal.

Through medical supervision, the individual can overcome their physical dependence. Medication may be administered to prevent the potential discomfort that withdrawal can cause. But once the detoxification process is complete, the patient’s body will be free of the chemical effects of alcohol, and the individual will be able to move forward with the behavioral elements of treatment.

It is important to go through the detoxification process at a facility instead of at home by yourself. Medical assistance will be provided by accredited professionals. Medications may be administered as needed on a case by case basis. Withdrawal does not need to be difficult, but deciding on treatment for wine addiction is the first step.

Treatment For Wine Abuse And Addiction

Since wine is a socially accepted form of enjoyment in many cultures, it can be difficult to determine whether one has a problem. If a person is experiencing extreme difficulty living day to day and cannot function without consuming wine, this creates a problem. While others can help with the process, it is up to the individual to obtain the help they need.

Both inpatient and outpatient treatment are options for wine addiction.

Inpatient Treatment For Wine Addiction

Inpatient treatment refers to treatment in the form of a residential stay in a treatment facility. During this time, the individual will receive medical treatment, participate in therapy sessions individually and with other patients, and learn how to transition to daily living without the influence of wine. The individual will learn how to cope with triggers that prompted them to use wine before, and leave the rehabilitation center ready to use those techniques in their daily life. Inpatient treatment for wine addiction also typically begins with treatment for detoxification.

Outpatient Rehab Programs For Wine Abuse

Outpatient treatment is a type of rehabilitation that does not require one to live at a treatment center for an extended period of time. If an individual has school or work obligations that prevent them from living at a treatment center, outpatient treatment is a good option. Outpatient treatment will still include the same type of therapy sessions, but less of the medical treatment typical of inpatient treatment.

Contact us today to learn more about wine addiction and other alcohol treatment options. - Wine - What Are Sulfites? - Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome - Alcohol and Heart Health

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - Exploring Alcohol's Effects on Liver Function

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