Drinking and Abusing Liquor
Liquor can make it easy to get drunk faster—since 1.5 ounces of 80 proof liquor is equal to 12 ounces of beer, and 5 ounces of wine, drinking irresponsibly can be pretty easy to do. Liquor can be dangerous, and quickly lead to alcohol poisoning if you’re not careful. Though drinking beer and wine are no different; alcohol is alcohol, and all of it can lead to problems. Binge drinking, alcohol abuse, and alcoholism are not direct results of liquor consumption, but sometimes can be easier to achieve with the potency and regularity of certain drinks.
Have you ever heard the saying “liquor does it quicker…”? Well this is true in more ways than one—and depending how fast a person drinks it, drinking liquor can lead to more than just a quicker drunk. Abusing liquor can potentially lead to unwanted consequences with mental and physical health. It doesn’t necessarily mean someone is downing shot after shot either, people can abuse any form of alcoholic beverage; and since the early days, they have…
Brief History Of Liquor
“People drink to socialize, celebrate, and relax. Alcohol often has a strong effect on people—and throughout history, people have struggled to understand and manage alcohol’s power” (National Institute on Drug Abuse).
For thousands of years, grains have been fermented and distilled to produce liquor. Dating back to ancient Greece, fermentation has been used to produce wine and other spirits—viticulture (or the cultivations of grapevines to produce wine) is one of the one of the first documented forms of liquor between 6,000 and 4,000 BCE. After that, was a drink known as mead; which is the fermentation of honey and water. Now there are countless brands, types, alcohol contents and qualities of liquor.
So Who Makes The Stuff?
Nowadays there’s a lot more than just mead from China—and just to name a few, England produces gin; France produces cognac; Sweden, Switzerland, and Finland produce vodka; Scotland and Ireland produce whisky; and the United States has even made a name for itself with mash whiskey and bourbon. Since it’s early days, alcohol production has grown into a several hundred billion dollar a year industry (in the United States alone).
Is Liquor More Dangerous Than Other Types Of Alcohol?
Grain liquors, with up to 40 percent or more alcohol, can be responsible for a lot more than just a faster drunk—they can also lead to irresponsible drinking, addiction, and overdose. The problem with a higher alcohol content is the likelihood that a person will become dependent or abuse it if they are drinking more than a safe amount. This can be easy to do if you don’t know how much you’re actually drinking.
So How Much Am I Actually Drinking?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “one 12-ounce beer has about the same amount of alcohol as one 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5-ounce shot of liquor. It is the amount of alcohol consumed that affects a person most, not the type of alcoholic drink.” Some people down an entire fifth of liquor in a night—without realizing the danger of binge drinking, or the amount of liquor they’re actually taking down. Binge drinking of this caliber can lead to alcohol poisoning, alcohol dependence, alcohol use disorders, and eventually when a person tries to quit, withdrawals.
What Is Alcohol Abuse And Binge Drinking?
Alcohol abuse is most commonly defined by—continued use even after dire consequences have taken place; whether that means loss of a job, being kicked out of school, or suffering some sort of health problem related to alcohol. There are several factors that can play a part in alcohol abuse, these can be:
- How much you Drink
- How often you Drink
- Your Age
- Your Health Status
- Your Family History
(National Institute on Drug Abuse)
The source goes on to say that drinking a safe amount of alcohol doesn’t necessarily cause problems, but “drinking too much can cause a range of consequences, and increase your risk for a variety of problems.” Drinking too much is oftentimes referred to as binge drinking. Binge drinking, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), is “a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above. This typically happens when men consume 5 or more drinks, and when women consume 4 or more drinks, in about 2 hours.”
Who Is Most Likely To Abuse Liquor?
The people who are more likely to abuse liquor are the young, and uninformed population. A teen or college student might go to a party with a fifth of liquor and drink the whole thing, or buy a 30 pack of beer with no intent other than to get drunk; neither of these scenarios are uncommon. “Underage drinking is a serious public health problem in the United States. Alcohol is the most widely used substance of abuse among America’s youth, and drinking by young people poses enormous health and safety risks” NIAAA.
Furthermore, “People ages 12 through 20 drink 11 percent of all alcohol consumed in the United States. Although youth drink less often than adults do, when they do drink, they drink more”—5.1 million young people reported binge drinking in 2015. This certainly doesn’t mean that only teens and college students abuse alcohol and liquor; that’s not the case at all. The fact of the matter is that alcohol abuse is a huge problem with all age groups, and sometimes treatment is the only way to help them.
How Much Liquor Does It Take To Get Drunk?
It really depends on a person’s weight, tolerance, other drug use, along with other factors. A person who weighs 100 pounds might have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .04 after one standard drink in an hour ; whereas a person who weighs 200 pounds would have to drink twice as much to reach the same BAC (Be Responsible About Drinking – B.R.A.D.). Since the legal limit for operating a vehicle after drinking is a BAC of .08 (in most states), a person who weighs 200 pounds could potentially drink about 4 standard drinks in one hour before they’re over the legal limit (but as we said before, other contributing factors must be considered).
Does Abusing Liquor Harm Your Organs?
Since a smaller amount of liquor can get a person drunk faster, yes, abusing liquor can potentially damage your organs at a faster rate. If a person is drinking beer or wine at the same rate, they can be doing the same amount of damage. Liquor can be deceptive for some, and when a person decides to chug “or put bubbles” in a bottle of liquor they are taking down a lot more ethyl alcohol than from slamming a beer.
So no matter what, beer, wine, and liquor can all do damage to the organs—they’re all alcohol. Some of the possible results from NIAAA of overconsumption of alcohol are:
Brain Damage – Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain looks and works. These disruptions can change mood and behavior, and make it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.
Liver Damage – Heavy drinking takes a toll on the liver, and can lead to a variety of problems and liver inflammations including:
- Steatosis, or fatty liver
- Alcoholic hepatitis
Heart Damage – “Drinking a lot over a long time or too much on a single occasion can damage the heart, causing problems including:
- Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle
- Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat
- High blood pressure
Pancreas Damage – Alcohol causes the pancreas to produce toxic substances that can eventually lead to pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.
Cancer – Drinking too much alcohol can increase your risk of developing certain cancers, including cancers of the:
Immune System – Drinking too much can weaken your immune system, making your body a much easier target for disease. Chronic drinkers are more liable to contract diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis than people who do not drink too much. Drinking a lot on a single occasion slows your body’s ability to ward off infections – even up to 24 hours after getting drunk.
Does Drinking Liquor Lead To Alcoholism?
No matter which way you flip it, alcohol is alcohol—grain alcohol (liquor) is more likely to get a person drunk if they drink more of it, just like a person is more likely to get drunk the more wine they drink, and so on. The problem with alcoholism, and alcohol use disorders is that once a person gets hooked, they might not have control over the amount of liquor they drink; making the likelihood of alcohol poisoning greater.
Alcohol poisoning takes the lives of 6 people every day. A lot of those people wouldn’t have believed you it if you told them they had a drinking problem—they’ve got to want sobriety before any kind of treatment can work.
How To Find Treatment For Alcohol Addiction
So if you are among those who need treatment, but don’t know where to go, you might be in luck. You don’t have to be one of the people who died from alcohol poisoning or a fatal car wreck. Whether you’re searching for a loved one, or for yourself, and have questions about alcohol abuse, contact us at 800-248-5783 to speak to our helpful staff and find out if rehab treatment is your best option. There is a lot to live for, and the next drink doesn’t have to be it.
For More Information Related to “Drinking and Abusing Liquor” Be Sure To Check Out These Additional Resources From AlcoholTreatment.net:
- What Does The Bible Say About Alcohol?
- Alcohol’s Effect On The Liver
- How To Tell If I’m An Alcoholic?
- Long-Term Effects Of Alcohol Abuse
- The Difference Between ‘Problem Drinking’ And Alcoholism
- Increase In Binge Drinking/Alcohol Poisoning In Adults Over 30
Be Responsible About Drinking – B.R.A.D. – BAC Charts
Center for Disease Control and Prevention – Alcohol Poisoning Deaths
Loyola Marymount University – History of Alcohol Use
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism – Drinking Levels Defined
National Institute on Drug Abuse – Alcohol