What is Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse, also called alcohol misuse, is a severe problem.  It is a pattern of drinking too much alcohol too often. It interferes with your daily life.  You may be suffering from alcohol abuse if you drink too much alcohol at one time or too often throughout the week.  It also is a problem if you can’t stop drinking, and it harms your relationships.  It can cause you to be unable to function at work and in other areas of your life.

You are abusing alcohol when:

  • Consuming these amounts of alcohol harms your health, relationships, work and causes legal problems
  • Drinking more than 14 drinks per week or more than four drinks per occasion (for men)
  • You have more than seven drinks per week or more than three drinks per occasion (for men and women older than 65)
  • You drink seven drinks per week or more than three drinks per occasion (for women)

Symptoms Of Alcohol Abuse

  • You feel guilty after drinking
  • You are getting traffic or driving tickets while under the influence of alcohol
  • Your drinking is interfering with your relationships
  • You can’t stop drinking once you start
  • You hide your drinking or your alcohol
  • Your hands are shaking
  • You are unable to perform at work or home when you are drinking
  • Others are telling you that you have a problem
  • You have blackouts and memory lapses after drinking too much
  • Depression
  • You have a drink in the morning to get yourself going after drinking too much the night before
  • You have physically hurt someone else or yourself after drinking too much. This could be due to accidents or violence
  • You feel annoyed by criticism of your drinking
  • You have tried stopping using alcohol for a week or more but can’t make it past a few days

Alcohol affects your health in other ways, too.  It can cause cirrhosis, a disease of the liver.  It’s a significant cause of deaths and injuries because of accidents.  It can damage your baby’s health if you drink alcohol during pregnancy.  It can cause a bleeding ulcer and irritate the lining of your stomach.  Alcohol also can cause you to gain weight, feel sick or dizzy, cause you to have bad breath, and make your skin break out.

Can Alcohol Abuse Be Prevented or Avoided?

If you have a family history of alcoholism, you may have to work harder at resisting or limiting alcohol.  Other ways to reduce your alcohol consumption include:

  • Talk to your doctor.
  • Consider joining a support group made up of others facing the same challenge
  • Limit yourself to one drink when by yourself or with friends.
  • Avoid spending time with others who abuse alcohol.
  • .Seek treatment for underlying mental health conditions.

Your doctor may screen for alcohol abuse.  The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) recommends screening adults aged 18 years or older for alcohol misuse.  Also, AAFP recommends teaching teens between 12 and 17 years old to avoid alcohol.

Health Complications

Short-term and long-term complications can break down the health-related complications of alcohol abuse. Short-term complications include the possibility of increased blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and possible overdose. Long-term effects can include heart disease, lung disease, and liver disease. The National Cancer Institute has also noted a connection between alcohol consumption and certain types of cancer, including head and neck cancer, esophageal cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer, and colorectal cancer. Additionally, alcohol dependence can lead to withdrawal complications. 


People abuse alcohol for many reasons. It may be due to social pressure, a desire to relax, a coping mechanism for anxiety, depression, tension, loneliness, self-doubt or unhappiness, or a family history of abusing alcohol.

How Is Alcohol Abuse Diagnosed?

Many people who are abusing alcohol will hear from family and friends that they have a problem.  Generally, doctors believe a person is using alcohol when:

  • Repeated alcohol use leads to legal problems
  • Repeated alcohol use puts you or someone else in physical danger (driving, operating machinery, mixing alcohol and medicine, drinking alcohol while pregnant)
  • Frequent alcohol use harms your relationships
  • Repeated use of alcohol interferes with your responsibilities at work, home, or school

Alcoholism Treatment
The long-term complications of alcohol abuse can be irreversible and deadly.

Alcohol Abuse Treatment

If you are the one suffering from alcohol abuse, the first step is recognizing you need help.  Many studies show that people struggling with alcohol abuse can benefit from some form of treatment. However, everyone is different.  Not all treatments work the same for every person. The sooner a person seeks treatment, the better the outcome.

Behavioral therapy can be used to treat alcohol abuse.  Treatment can take the form of support groups, counseling, or a combination of the two.  In addition, some prescription medicines can treat alcohol abuse by helping people stop or reduce their drinking.  However, as with all drugs, some might cause side effects.

Once you have found an effective treatment, it’s essential to stick to that treatment.  Also, it’s helpful to avoid situations that involve a lot of alcohol.

Living With Alcohol Abuse

Living with alcohol abuse means recognizing the triggers that make you want to drink.  For example, hanging around with others who drink will make it difficult for you.  In addition, you may be experiencing stress or unhappiness in your life and don’t have a counselor or friend to talk to.  This could cause you to turn to alcohol to help you cope.

Living with alcohol abuse will continue to be a struggle if you do not recognize that you need help.  You will continue to jeopardize your safety, your job or school, and your relationships.

At We Level Up Treatment Center, we provide world-class care with round-the-clock medical professionals available to help you cope.  All are working as a team to provide you with the optimum alcohol abuse information throughout your treatment.  Make this your opportunity to reclaim your life.  Call today to speak with one of our treatment specialists.  Our specialists know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.

Your call is private and confidential, and there is never any obligation.


[1] NIAAA – www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/understanding-alcohol-use-disorder

[2] MedlinePlus – medlineplus.gov/alcoholusedisorderaud.html