ETOH Abuse

ETOH Abuse

Authored by Pin Ng PhD

Edited by Hugh Soames

Reviewed by Michael Por, MD

What is ETOH Abuse?


Ethyl alcohol is the active ingredient found in alcoholic beverages. Also known as ethanol, ethyl alcohol is the ingredient that leads to intoxication when you consume alcohol. Ethyl alcohol is consumed in a diluted concentration1 The concentration level is measured and is commonly known as the proof. Diluting ethyl alcohol improves the taste of the beverage. It also decreases the strength of the alcohol’s effects on you.


When ethyl alcohol is consumed, the body reacts to it. Your mood, emotions, and behavior are all altered by it. Ethanol is made from organic matter. It contains high levels of sugar and carbohydrates. If you consume ethanol faster than the liver can break it down, it becomes more toxic in your body.

What are the types of ethyl alcohols?


Isopropyl, methyl, and ethyl alcohol are the three main types of ethyl alcohol. Each is toxic and ethanol is the only one of the three that can be consumed safely. Brewers and distillers typically refer to ethyl alcohol as alcoholic drinks made from grains and edible material.


Ethanol is found in all alcoholic drinks. These drinks can be placed into two categories, distilled and undistilled.


  • Distilled drinks are made from fermented beverages. Following fermentation, the drinks are treated to create higher alcohol concentration. To achieve a high alcohol content, the alcohol is separated from the water in a fermented liquid. Rum, vodka, and whiskey are all types of distilled alcoholic beverages.
  • Undistilled drinks are fermented as well using bacteria or yeast to convert the available sugars into ethanol. Beer and wine are two examples of undistilled alcoholic beverages.

How is alcohol measured?


There are two ways in which alcohol is measured. Alcohol content can be measured with alcohol by volume (ABV) and proof. Both methods measure the concentration of alcohol in a drink. The alcoholic beverage will have the ABV listed on its label.


ABV is the number of milliliters of ethanol per 100 milliliters, while proof is twice the ABV number. Therefore, a drink with an ABV of 40% has an alcohol proof of 80. A majority of beers have an ABV of 4.5%. Most wines have an ABV of 11.6%, while hard liquors are around 37%.


What effect does ethanol alcohol have on your body?


The body is affected in a variety of ways by ethanol. Once you reach the point of intoxication, the effects are at their most visible. Effects on the body include:

  • Behavior and mood changes
  • Slurred speech
  • Diarrhea
  • Altered decision making
  • Altered motor function


The effects of ethanol alcohol on your body are exacerbated by binge drinking. Binge drinking is an episode of alcohol consumption that causes your blood alcohol level to reach 0.08% or greater.


Women typically need to drink four alcoholic beverages or more during a two-hour period to reach a blood alcohol level of 0.08%. Men usually need to drink five or more alcoholic beverages over the course of two hours to have a blood alcohol level of 0.08%.


The central nervous system is affected by excess alcohol consumption over the course of a short period of time. Hangovers can be produced due to the lingering effects of alcohol consumption.

What are the symptoms of alcohol intoxication?


You may experience long-term health issues due to alcohol abuse. There are also short-term health risks that occur in individuals who abuse alcohol. Health risks include:


  • Motor vehicle accidents, crashes, and wrecks
  • Drowning
  • Falling


Signs of alcohol intoxication may include:


  • Slurred speech
  • Altered coordination
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Staggered walking or swaying while standing
  • Disorientation
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability


An addiction to alcohol may create problems at work, home, and/or school. You could lose your family, job, or fall school courses due to alcohol abuse.

What are the symptoms of ETOH abuse?


The abuse of ETOH may lead to alcohol addiction. ETOH addiction symptoms include:

  • An inability to limit the consumption of alcohol
  • Failed attempts to decrease or stop alcohol consumption
  • Spending a significant time drinking and/or recovering from drinking
  • Experiencing cravings for alcohol
  • Neglecting responsibilities and obligations of home or work life
  • Continuing to drink alcohol despite physical, emotional, or social harm
  • Using alcohol in unsafe situations, for example, when driving
  • Neglecting social activities and hobbies
  • Developing a tolerance forcing you to drink more to get drunk
  • Experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms


ETOH abuse leads to a number of dangers. These dangers may include:

Short-term effects of EROH abuse

  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Impaired decision making
  • Loss of coordination and awareness
  • Poor memory
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Slurred speech
  • Risky sexual behaviors


Long term effects of ETOH abuse

  • Brain damage
  • Liver damage
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Pancreas issues
  • Increased risk of cancers
  • Weakened immune system
  • Learning problems
  • Social, mental, and financial problems

How to get help for ETOH abuse


There are several treatment options for ETOH abuse. The first thing to do is to determine if you or a loved one has an alcohol problem. If you do, then treatment is available. You may be able to quit drinking cold turkey, but if you cannot, there are programs to help you quit consuming alcohol for good.


In-patient/residential rehab is arguably the best way to get help for ETOH abuse. Residential rehab allows you to remain onsite and live at the facility. Programs last for at least 30 days and provide intensive recovery help. Programs consist of group and individual therapy along with other activities.


Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs) are a little less intensive than residential rehab. While the program is intense throughout the day, you are sent home during the evening to sleep before beginning the next day at the rehab.


Outpatient programs are less intensive and fit into the schedules of busy, highly motivated individuals. You can experience the outpatient program while completing your job, schooling, and/or other tasks.


If you suffer from ETOH abuse, there are options out there to end the issues. If you or a loved one is suffering from ETOH abuse, treatment is available. Whether you want to have an intensive residential stay or fit in treatment around your work, you can end your alcohol addiction today.

References:  ETOH abuse

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  3. Grant BF, Goldstein RB, Chou SP, et al. Sociodemographic and psychopathologic predictors of first incidence of DSM-IV substance use, mood and anxiety disorders: Results from the Wave 2 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Molecular Psychiatry. 2009;14(11):1051–1066. [PubMed] []
  4. Patra J, Taylor B, Rehm J. Deaths associated with etoh abuse among adults in Canada in 2002: A need for primary care intervention? Contemporary Drug Problems. 2009;36(2):283–301. []
  5. Rehm J, Rehn N, Room R, et al. The global distribution of average volume of alcohol consumption and patterns of etoh abuse. European Addiction Research. 2003a;9(4):147–156. [PubMed] []
  6. Shuper PA, Neuman M, Kanteres F, et al. Causal considerations on alcohol and Alcoholism. 2010;45(2):159–166. [PubMed] []
  7. Thavorncharoensap M, Teerawattananon Y, Yothasamut J, et al. The economic impact of alcohol consumption: A systematic review. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy. 2009;4:20. []
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