What is Beer Related Alcohol Abuse?
In a world where almost every celebration and social gathering involves some form of drinking, it can be hard to avoid developing alcohol-related issues. This is even more true with seemingly less dangerous drinks, such as beer.
The taste of beer may just be a familiar comfort. It may become an everyday ritual, where you find yourself routinely sitting down to have a beer and relax after a long day. However, while this behavior might be someone’s idea of normal, it can also become quite problematic.
In many cases, it can be difficult for beer drinkers to even realize that their habits of alcohol consumption have turned into those of substance abuse. It is this reality that makes a beer addiction so dangerous, and so prominent within the U.S. today.
As with any form of alcohol abuse, someone struggling with poor beer drinking habits will likely need to seek out professional addiction treatment programs in order to successfully achieve and maintain sobriety.
The Difference Between Beer and Other Alcoholic Beverages
All forms of alcohol, whether beer, hard liquor, or otherwise, contain the active ingredient ethanol. This toxin is what produces both alcohol’s pleasant and unpleasant side effects, and eventually leads to the development of an addiction to this substance.
Compared to beer, however, more pure alcohol types contain higher amounts of ethanol, making these much stronger in nature. Whereas a person drinking beer can have four drinks before potentially feeling the effects, liquor may produce these even after just one drink.
This may put them at a higher risk of experiencing unpleasant side effects from drinking, as well as engaging in dangerous activities, despite technically having consumed less alcohol than a beer drinker.
What Makes Beer an Addictive Alcoholic Beverage?
No matter what type of alcohol a person uses, choosing to participate in heavy drinking, particularly heavy daily drinking, is bound to result in the development of an alcohol addiction.
Many people drink beer over other types of alcoholic beverages because they believe this will make them less likely to form an alcohol dependence. This, however, is simply just not the case.
In fact, this belief that beer is somehow less habit-forming than other alcohol makes it an even more dangerous beverage. After all, an individual may be more likely to participate in problem drinking if they think their drink of choice is somehow “safer” than others.
In particular, they may be more prone to binge drinking habits, which are drinking levels defined by having more than four drinks within a short span of time (usually about two hours). In these cases, a person may prefer to drink a six-pack of beer over a few shots of hard liquor.
This, however, still constitutes alcohol abuse. If the person continuously drinks heavily, they are highly likely to develop an alcohol addiction, which will require professional substance abuse treatment to be properly addressed.
Is Drinking One Beer a Day Bad For You?
It is fairly common for people to participate in moderate drinking every now and then, such as for special occasions or social outings. It is when the level of alcohol consumed passes the recommended limit, and this behavior begins occurring regularly, that it is a problem.
So how much alcohol is too much when it comes to beer? This question can be tricky to answer, as it will generally depend on a person’s metabolism and tolerance to alcohol, as well as any personal or familial histories of addiction that may make them more prone to substance abuse.
Generally, however, drinking one beer a day should not be too concerning for most individuals. However, if a person is consistently binge drinking, it can be assumed they are on their way to developing a beer addiction; a habit which may also lead to abusing other types of alcohol.
How Many Beers A Day Makes You An Alcoholic?
If a person’s alcohol consumption is passing the recommended one to two drinks on a daily basis, this may be a sign they have formed a physical dependence on this substance. This can lead down a road of various health and addiction issues.
This is particularly true for those who have moved on from craft beer to malt liquor, which has a higher alcohol content than beer due to its fermentation process.
When gauging a person’s drinking habits, it can be assumed they are dealing with a beer addiction if their drinking is regularly causing problems in their life, but are still choosing to continue picking up this alcoholic beverage anyways.
Recognizing an Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcoholism can take many different forms, and identifying an addiction specifically involving beer can be difficult both for the addicted individual and their concerned loved ones. However, there are signs that can be looked out for when trying to determine if someone is abusing alcohol.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, these include:
- Experiencing problems within the home, school, or work environment(s) due to drinking, or recovering from the effects of consuming alcohol.
- Repeatedly getting into situations while or after drinking that increased the risk of injury (such as driving, using machinery, or having unsafe sex).
- Continuing to drink despite this causing issues within personal relationships and with family members.
- Needing to increase the amount of alcohol consumed or drink more frequently in order to continue achieving the desired effects.
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not drinking, or needing to continue to drink to prevent these from occurring.
- Frequently drinking more or for longer periods of time than originally intended.
- Having repeatedly been unsuccessful in attempts to stop or cut down on drinking, even if there was a genuine desire to do so.
- Spending large amounts of time and money acquiring, using, and recovering from the effects of alcohol.
- Giving up previously enjoyable activities and hobbies in order to continue drinking.
- Continuing to drink despite this potentially causing or worsening other physical or mental health problems.
The Side Effects of Beer Alcoholism
The most commonly known example of alcohol’s negative effects is damage to the liver. With continued long-term use, this often leads to alcoholic hepatitis (inflammation of the liver) or even cirrhosis, a type of liver disease involving the scarring and eventual failing of this organ.
Large amounts of alcohol can also lead to several different kinds of cancers in the digestive system, studies show, including the esophagus, stomach, and colon, but may also be linked to others.
Some of this increased risk may be due to the tendency for alcohol to block nutrient absorption. This same mechanism may also contribute to extensive brain damage, such as the development of alcohol-related dementia later in life.
Furthermore, as this substance interferes with brain development, consumption isn’t safe for children, teenagers, or even young adults, as the brain continues to develop into the early twenties.
Alcohol can also interfere with fetal development, as well as lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, and even death. These risks are all in addition to the obvious ones, such as car accidents, falls, and other mishaps due to impaired judgment and motor skills.
Beer Addiction Treatment Options
When it comes to treating an addiction to beer, this process will generally follow the same recovery approach applied to any other type of alcohol use disorder. This will likely include participating in a medical detox process, followed by inpatient or outpatient treatment programs.
This may also integrate mental health treatment services, in order to help individuals struggling with mental illness to address the underlying cause of their addiction. This may also help them avoid drug abuse involving other substances after recovering.
The Importance of Medical Detox
If someone has a consistent issue with heavy drinking, their body will eventually develop a physical dependence on alcohol use. If someone attempts to suddenly stop drinking beer completely, this can result in alcohol withdrawal.
These withdrawal symptoms can be severe, and even life-threatening, if not properly managed. This is why recovering at a treatment center that offer medical detox services is such an important part of their substance abuse treatment process.
Detox treatment programs can allow an individual to quit drinking gradually, rather than suddenly stop drinking altogether, in order to help manage and even prevent more severe withdrawal symptoms from occurring.
This will take place under the careful supervision of licensed medical professionals, and may involve the administration of addiction medicine in order to help reduce cravings and a person’s risk of relapse.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
There are several withdrawal symptoms that may occur as a result of quitting alcohol, of which can be extremely uncomfortable, if not fatal, when not properly managed. These symptoms will typically start within as little as six hours after a person’s last drink, and may include:
- Shaky hands
As this period progresses, individuals may also be at risk of experiencing more severe withdrawal symptoms, including hallucinations, seizures, stroke, or even a condition called Delirium Tremens, which can cause confusion and uncontrollable tremors.
Finding The Right Beer & Alcohol Addiction Treatment Options For You
If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction to beer, this can be an incredibly difficult thing to deal with. After all, this beverage is often overlooked and regarded as being a non-dangerous form of alcohol; however, this could not be farther from the truth.
At Find Addiction Rehabs, we help people like you find addiction treatment facilities that are committed to serving all of your personal care needs. Our hotline is available 24/7 to connect you to recovery tools and resources, anytime you need them.
So don’t wait; call today, and let us help you get started on your path to recovery from addiction, where you can achieve a happier, healthier, and sober you!
Nicole R. is an experienced and accomplished writer with special interests in the fields of Anthropology, English, and behavioral health, and has written countless articles for newspaper publications, institutional research journals, and Find Addiction Rehabs.
Her alma matter is Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. Nicole hopes to spread awareness of and combat the stigmatization surrounding addiction and substance abuse treatment through her writing and work in the field.