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What is Chronic Alcohol Abuse?

Alcoholism or alcohol dependence is a diagnosable disease designated by an intense craving for alcohol that is accompanied by continued use despite the negative effects it has on one’s life. Alcohol abuse can lead to alcoholism, which is a chronic disease of dependency. Alcohol abuse is a pattern of drinking that results in harm to one’s health, personal relationships, or ability to work.

chronic alcohol abuse

Chronic alcohol abuse is often associated with alcoholism.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse’s measurements claim that the standard drink equals 0.6 ounces of pure ethanol, or 12 ounces of beer; 8 ounces of malt liquor; 5 ounces of wine; or 1.5 ounces (“shot”) of 80-proof distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, or whiskey).

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism suggests that for women, more than 3 drinks on any single day and more than 7 drinks within a week can be considered high-risk drinking and possibly lead to dependency upon alcohol. For men, it changes to more than 4 drinks on any single day and more than 14 drinks within a week.

Indicators of alcohol abuse include the following:

  • Failure to satisfy responsibilities (home, work, or school)
  • Making Risky decisions while drinking (ex: drinking while driving)
  • Lawlessness related to alcohol, such as being arrested for drinking while driving or for fighting/assaulting someone while drunk.
  • Drinking that continues even though relationship problems have been caused or gotten worse because of the drinking.
  • Alcohol dependence that occurs from long-term alcohol abuse

Dependency on alcohol is known as alcohol addiction and alcoholism and is a life-long disease. The signs and symptoms of alcohol dependence include—

  • A powerful craving for alcohol
  • Inability to limit amounts when drinking
  • Drinking that continues regardless of consequences (professional, personal, health-related)

Drinking in excess, which may be referred to as binge drinking or heavy drinking, is correlated to several health issues that are quite concerning. These problems can crop up in the form of:

  • Chronic diseases such as liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis, numerous cancers, including liver, mouth, throat, larynx (the voice box), and esophagus, and high blood pressure
  • Psychological disorders may be present and can even be a contributing factor to a person’s propensity toward alcoholism.
  • Alcohol-related injuries, such as automobile crashes, falls, drowning, burns and firearm injuries.
  • Violence, such as child abuse, homicide, and suicide.
  • Harm to a developing fetus if a woman drinks while pregnant
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  • Alcohol abuse or dependence.

If it causes trouble in your relationships, in school, in social activities, or in how you think and feel, drinking is a problem. If there is evidence or suspicion of a drinking problem in someone close, please take actions and seek help. While chronic alcohol abuse is a life-long condition, it is treatable.


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