Alcohol abuse and addiction are unfortunately all-too-common among people of all ages and from all backgrounds, in Colorado and nationwide. In any given month, about 55% of Americans drink, and around 6.3% drink heavily. Overall, 5.3% of Americans aged 12 and up have alcohol use disorder, also called alcoholism.
Drinking can have a variety of immediate effects on the body. These effects can start to kick in within 10 minutes, the amount of time it takes for alcohol to get into your bloodstream and enter your brain. Common symptoms linked to intoxication include:
You may still be suffering effects from drinking alcohol, even if you no longer feel drunk. Alcohol is removed from the body via the liver, which can process about one drink an hour. One drink equates to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of whiskey.
Drinking, especially heavily and over time, can cause a variety of long-term physical effects on the body. A recent survey showed that 61% of Western state drinkers, including Colorado, stated that drinking negatively impacted their physical health. The long-term consequences of drinking on the body include:
Drinking sometimes gets a reputation for helping people to feel relaxed or more social. However, alcohol can quickly cause a series of short-term effects on the mind, including changes in mood and poor decision-making skills. Poor decision-making, in turn, can lead to many dangerous situations, including violence, injuries and risky sexual behavior.
Over the long term, heavy drinking can cause multiple mental health and neurological problems. These include:
Alcohol poisoning is a serious, sometimes fatal, health consequence borne of excessive drinking. Nationally, about six people die every day from alcohol poisoning, with most deaths occurring in adults and men.
Alcohol overdose can vary in severity depending on the person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The higher the BAC, the more symptoms a person can have and the more severe their symptoms may be. In general:
The risk of having an alcohol overdose can be reduced by avoiding heavy drinking and avoiding mixing alcohol with energy drinks or caffeine, which can mask the alcohol’s content. If you suspect a loved one has alcohol poisoning, you should seek emergency medical attention. Even if you are underage, you will not get in legal trouble for seeking help to save someone’s life.
Alcohol poisoning is a big problem in Colorado. In fact, Colorado has one of the highest rates of alcohol poisoning in the United States. In Colorado alone, there are 14.4 deaths from alcohol poisoning per one million people annually.
Drinking not only impacts your body, brain and mental health. It can also have a significant impact on your relationships, career, school and finances. This is true both for those who drink heavily and those who do not. A recent survey showed that alcohol could impact multiple areas of your life; among Westerners who drank alcohol:
Drinking carries a risk of abuse, dependence and addiction. However, it can sometimes be hard to know if you have a problem with alcohol and are at risk. Certain behaviors serve as red flags to let you, your loved ones and your doctors know that you may be struggling with drinking.
Ask yourself these questions about your drinking this past year. Have you:
If you find that you have answered “yes” to two or more of these questions, you may be struggling with an alcohol addiction. Fortunately, help is available.
If you struggle with drinking, it can be overwhelming to think about how to stop. Fortunately, help is here. Our alcohol recovery experts at The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake can assist you in overcoming your alcohol addiction through treatment. Don’t wait: contact us today to learn more.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.