Alcohol Abuse News

Though its purchase and consumption are legal, alcohol is a drug. And like all drugs, it can lead to dependency and addiction if not consumed responsibly. The term “alcohol abuse” is generally used when people fall into a habit of drinking so frequently or in such a manner that it affects other parts of their lives, including jobs, family and overall behavior.

Alcohol abuse is often seen as a stepping stone to alcoholism, which is defined as a chronic, potentially life-threatening addiction to alcohol. Both conditions are often classified as alcohol use disorders.

Effects of Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol use disorders in the United States are fairly widespread. When the disorder is still perceived as “alcohol abuse,” there is not yet a physical dependence on alcohol. However, alcohol abuse can still cause a number of problems. For example, people who abuse alcohol will often put themselves in dangerous situations, including driving drunk or potentially getting arrested or arguing with family and other loved ones. They will show a tendency to put their drinking ahead of more important responsibilities in their lives, like work or family.

When alcohol abuse progresses to alcoholism, it becomes a full-blown addiction. The alcoholic literally needs alcohol and will go through withdrawal symptoms like sweating, shaking and extreme irritability without it. In addition, alcoholics need ever-increasing amounts of alcohol to achieve the feeling they desire.

Treatment for Alcohol Abuse

Even if the alcohol use disorder is not full-blown alcoholism, most people with drinking problems can benefit from a formal treatment program. This will typically involve therapy, including counseling, support groups and possibly individual sessions with a therapist. Many people who get help for their alcohol abuse are able to remain alcohol free after treatment.

SOURCES: U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Date Posted
Article Title
Family History May Magnify Your Hangover

People whose relatives have drinking problem recall day-after symptoms more clearly, study finds

Tanning's Allure Tied to Other Addictions

Some people with need for bronzed skin likely to drink too much alcohol or have depression, study finds

More Older Women Hitting the Bottle Hard

Study found dramatic jump in binge drinking in this vulnerable group

Substance Abuse Taxes the American Workplace

Survey, analysis reveal the full cost of employees addicted to alcohol, painkillers and other drugs

Energy Drinks and Alcohol

People who mix energy drinks and alcohol at increased risk of injuries, study finds.

Drinking, Drug Abuse Doubles Veterans' Suicide Risk: Study

Rate 5 times higher for female vets who abuse alcohol, drugs than for female vets who don't

Pot + Booze = Skidding College Grades

Study findings suggest parents and universities need to warn of dangers, limit exposure

Longer Addiction Treatment Is Better, Study Confirms

Success rate goes up significantly when programs last more than 30 days, psychiatrist says

More Booze Won't Beat Back That Hangover

Drinking coffee doesn't ease the agony either, substance abuse expert adds

Ready for Spring Break? Have Fun But Play It Safe

Drinking too much can affect your judgment, increasing your risk for injury, CDC warns

Tougher Alcohol Laws Mean Fewer Young People Killed on the Road

9 percent drop in deaths where policies to discourage drinking and driving among all motorists were most stringent

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome a Global Problem: Report

Countries with highest alcohol use during pregnancy include Belarus, Britain, Denmark, Ireland and Russia

Breathalyzer Lock Laws Prevent Drunk-Driving Deaths: Study

But only half of U.S. states require them for all offenders, researchers note

Study Ties Alcohol Abuse to Increased Heart Risks

Association similar to that from high blood pressure, smoking, obesity and diabetes, researchers say

Make a Healthy Lifestyle Your New Year's Resolution

The American Medical Association offers seven goals to get you started

DUI Rates Decline for U.S. Drivers

But that doesn't mean roads will be safe New Year's Eve; 28 million still drink and drive, survey finds

Head Off 'Holiday Heart Syndrome'

Eating and drinking too much can increase your risk for cardiac complications, experts advise

Celebrate the Holidays, But Not While Drinking and Driving

Coffee won't help a tipsy person sober up, traffic safety experts warn

Where Medical Pot Is Legal, Fatal Car Crashes Often Decline

It's possible that these state laws might cause younger drivers to drink less, researchers said

Drug Use by U.S. Teens Drops to All-Time Low

Use of tobacco and alcohol down significantly, too, federal report finds

Alcohol Can Be a Risky Guest at Holiday Parties

Don't pressure people to drink and make sure those who are imbibing have a designated driver

Alcohol and Skin Cancer

Can drinking alcohol increase your risk of melanoma skin cancer?

Scientists Spot 'Teetotaler' Gene

Discovery might one day lead to drugs to control excessive alcohol consumption, researchers say

A Little Alcohol Each Day May Cut Your Risk of Stroke

But drinking doesn't curb risk of every kind of stroke, and heavy drinking increases the danger, study finds

1 in 7 Young Teens Is a Stalking Victim: Survey

They're at higher risk of substance abuse and depression, researchers say

Alcohol May Fuel Prostate Cancer Risk

The more men drank, the stronger the association, study found

Blood Test May Spot Babies at Risk for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Study singled out infants who showed physical, mental signs of exposure

More Than Half of Americans Have Chronic Health Problem: Study

Medical conditions, mental illness and substance abuse problems often overlap, researchers say

Heavy Drinking While Young May Mean Hefty Health Tab Later

Study suggests alcohol might harm brain, body even if one stops abusing by age 30

Drinking and Gender

Do men still drink more than women . . . and in quantities that can damage health?

Women Reaching Equality in Dubious Habit: Drinking

Females also closing the gender gap on health problems from alcohol consumption

Mixed News on Drug Abuse Among Lesbian, Gay Americans

This group is more likely to use illicit substances, but also more apt to seek out help, report finds

For Problem Drinkers, Experimental Drug Shows Promise

Smokers may also benefit, clinical trial suggests

Heavy Drinking Can Harm the Aging Brain

Study supports notion that the habit is toxic to brain cells, slows mental abilities

Alcoholics May Lack Key Enzyme

Rat study suggests PRDM2 helps the brain control impulses to drink

Alcohol May Damage the Heart -- at Least for Some

Booze linked to atrial fibrillation, a dangerous condition that raises stroke risk

Drunk as the Company You Keep?

Perceptions of your intoxication influenced by how much those around you are drinking, study finds

TV Booze Ads a Lubricant for Teen Drinking: Study

Those who saw the most commercials downed 200-plus drinks a month, researchers say

Alcohol Plus Heart Rhythm Disorder Ups Stroke Risk: Study

Doctors should ask patients with atrial fibrillation about their drinking

Unhealthy Habits May Cost Canadians 6 Years of Life

Smoking, inactivity top the list of culprits, researchers say

U.S. College Kids Drink More, Smoke Less Than Others Their Age

Full-time students aged 18 to 22 also have higher rates of binge-drinking, survey finds

Would Weaker Beer Help Reduce Alcohol's Harms?

Researchers say drinkers wouldn't notice if alcohol content were reduced, but benefits to health and safety could be big

Keep Illicit Drugs, Booze Out of the Home to Lower Teens' Addiction Risk: Study

Early exposure ups likelihood of substance abuse when they reach their 20s, researcher says

Mental Illness May Make Teens Vulnerable to Drugs, Alcohol

Brazilian study found half of those who smoked, drank, did pot had symptoms of psychological disorders

Heavy Drinking Might Harm the Lungs

Alcohol appears to reduce levels of a protective respiratory gas, study finds

Alcohol, Obesity Could Raise Esophageal Cancer Risk

A third of cases would vanish if people stayed trim and didn't drink, cancer experts say

Smoke Less, Drink Less?

Study found those who tried to quit cigarettes drank less alcohol, but reasons unclear

Cash Rewards Won't Change Outcomes for HIV-Infected Drug Addicts: Study

Trial offered 'financial incentives' for healthy behavior change, with little effect, researchers say

The Older the Drinking Age, the Lower the Illness Rates?

Study found states with legal age of 21 had less booze-linked chronic ills -- except for college grads