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Alcohol abuse, also known as alcoholism, is a disease that affects people from all walks of life. In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO)  reported that alcohol contributed to more than 200 diseases and injury-related health conditions, ranging from liver diseases, road injuries, and violence to cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and suicides.
Alcohol is a psychoactive substance with dependence-producing properties. One of the most important facts to remember about alcoholism is its progression. It begins in an early stage that looks nothing like a life-threatening disease, proceeds into a middle stage where problems start to appear and intensify, and gradually advances into the late, degenerative stages of evident physiological dependence, physical and psychological deterioration.
Because alcohol is encouraged by our culture, we get the idea that it isn’t dangerous. However, alcohol is the most potent and most toxic of the legal psychoactive drugs. Alcoholism is a devastating, potentially fatal disease. The primary symptom of having it is telling everyone-including yourself-that you are not an alcoholic.
The first step toward recovery from alcoholism is the recognition that a problem exists. Once the person breaks through denial and admits to having a problem, a range of treatment options become available.
Alcohol Abuse and Covid-19
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism , drinking alcohol does not prevent or treat coronavirus infection and may weaken immune function, contrary to popular belief. Hand sanitizers containing 60-95% ethyl alcohol can help destroy the coronavirus on surfaces. However, drinking alcohol, which includes beverages with high percentages of alcohol, offers no protection from the virus. This is because the concentration of alcohol in the blood after one standard drink is in the range of 0.01–0.03% (a blood alcohol level of 0.01–0.03 mg/ml), which is a tiny fraction of the concentration for the body to produce an antiseptic action. Indeed, a blood alcohol concentration of 0.40% can be deadly.
Alcohol abuse makes the body more sensitive to viral infections. Alcohol in the body at the time of exposure to the Covid 19 virus tends to damage the body’s immediate immune response to the virus. Therefore, making it easier for an infection to develop. Longer-term, excessive alcohol misuse destroys the immune cell functions in the lungs. As a result, the body’s immune response is less efficient. Extreme alcohol use also destroys the cells that line the lung surface, and this damage can go undetected until an infection occurs in the lungs.
Alcohol abuse is also connected with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). In fact, people who misuse alcohol chronically are prone to develop ARDS. Therefore, a person is more likely to need mechanical ventilation, have a prolonged stay in the intensive care unit, and have a higher risk of mortality from ARDS. All of these effects of alcohol misuse could surely worsen COVID-19 prevention, treatment, and recovery.
The Less You Drink, The Better
The healthiest number of alcoholic drinks to consume is zero. While moderate alcohol consumption can minimize the likelihood that you put your health in danger, it is merely a guideline. It’s very possible for an individual to consume a “moderate” amount of alcohol. But, in an unhealthy way that rivals the negative effects of drinking in greater quantities.
If you’ve found that your alcohol habits would land you in the bingeing or heavy drinker categories, cutting back can provide immediate benefits such as weight loss, improved cognition, and even better sleep. Are you finding it tough to ease up on drinking? You might have a drinking problem. Learn more about the signs of alcoholism, how it affects you, and what you can do to treat alcohol addiction.
Alcohol Abuse Symptoms
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention , excessive alcohol use is the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
Signs and symptoms may include:
- Worrying about where your next drink is coming from and planning social, family and work events around alcohol.
- Spending a lot of time drinking, getting alcohol or recovering from alcohol use
- Feeling a strong craving or urge to drink alcohol and finding it hard to stop once you start.
- Wanting to cut down on how much you drink or making unsuccessful attempts to do so
- Using alcohol in situations where it’s not safe, such as when driving or swimming
- Waking up and drinking – or feeling the need to have a drink in the morning.
- Suffering from withdrawal symptoms, such as sweating, shaking and nausea, which stop once you drink alcohol.
Short-term Effects Of Alcohol Abuse:
- Slow reaction time
- Poor reflexes
- Reduce brain activity
- Lowered inhibitions
- Blurry vision
- Difficulty breathing
Long-term Effects Of Alcohol Abuse:
- Brain defects
- Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (a neurobiological disease)
- Liver disease
- Diabetes complications
- Heart problems
- Increased risk of cancer
- Vision damage
- Bone loss
Find the Primary Mental Health Treatment with Co-Occurring Addiction Diagnosis You Need
Inpatient medical detox and residential primary addiction treatment may be available at our affiliated facility at Level Up West Palm Beach Rehab. For some primary behavioral health treatment clients, medical detox and or addiction rehab may be required first. If you have a co-occurring severe substance abuse diagnosis, please contact us prior to beginning inpatient mental health therapy. Treatment services may vary. Please call us to learn which treatment options are most suited for your individual needs.
 World Health Organization – https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/alcohol
 National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism – https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/alcohol-facts-and-statistics
 Center for Disease Control and Prevention – https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2014/13_0293.htm