Though alcohol was once prohibited in America, alcohol use has since become legal for consumption by individuals over the age of twenty-one, and further has become integral to American culture. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, is an intoxicating ingredient found in beer, wine, and liquor. Alcohol is produced by the fermentation of yeast, sugars, and starches.” Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant and works by slowing down vital functions in one’s body. The feelings elicited when an individual ingests alcohol occur because of the way the substance interacts with one’s neurotransmitters. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH) asserts, “Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain looks and works.” After an individual consumes alcohol, it is absorbed from the small intestine and stomach into his or her bloodstream and is then metabolized in the liver. The liver, however, is only able to metabolize a small amount of alcohol at a time, which leaves excess alcohol to circulate throughout one’s body via the bloodstream. The amount of alcohol consumed directly relates to its effects on one’s body.
Every individual is different, and each person will react distinctly when foreign substances are introduced to his or her system, whether it be drugs or alcohol. The way an individual processes drugs and/ or alcohol will depend on a variety of factors. These can include but are not limited to the type of substance ingested, the personal health history of the individual, the individual’s metabolism, if a mixture of substances is ingested, the presence of any co morbid disorders, and more. Some individuals will innately have an increased tolerance to drugs or alcohol, while others may not (e.g., those known as “light-weights” when it comes to drinking alcohol). When an individual mixes drugs and alcohol he or she is at increased risk for developing an array of adverse short and long-term effects, including substance use disorder. Substance use disorder, also known as addiction, is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic brain disorder. It is characterized by compulsively engaging in rewarding stimuli without regard for consequence. Individuals that struggle with addiction will prioritize satisfying drug cravings above all else. This can lead to detrimental consequences affecting all areas of one’s life.
If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. Addiction can be an incredibly damaging disease. Navigating the challenges that arise from substance abuse, and/ or addiction can not only be all consuming but are often impossible to effectively handle without proper support. If left untreated, substance abuse and/ or addiction can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences.
While seeking help is never easy, it is beneficial to bear in mind that you do not have to be on this journey alone. There is an entire network of professionals that are readily available to help and support you or your loved one throughout every step of the recovery process.
Pathways Recovery is a fully supportive treatment program for those struggling with substance abuse and/ or addiction. We believe in our clients and their ability to turn their lives around. We know that each person who chooses to join our community has the strength it takes to overcome their challenges with substance abuse and/ or addiction. Please do not hesitate to reach out for guidance. We are happy to answer any questions and provide any information you may be looking for regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction. Feel free to contact us by phone at 626-515-6424 or 1-866-682-0901. We look forward to connecting and having the opportunity to discuss how we might best be able to support you.