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What are the signs and symptoms of Alcohol abuse?

Ethanol, aka ethyl alcohol, aka alcohol, aka ETOH, is a clear, slightly oily liquid, with a pronounced solvent smell. Alcohol occurs naturally through fermentation, and is also produced by a man-made process called distillation. Fermentation produces alcohol when yeast consumes simple carbohydrates from grains, fruits, or vegetables and produces carbon dioxide and ethanol as a byproduct. When the alcohol levels reach about 18%, a point of equilibrium is reached, as the alcohol content will begin killing the yeast before it can produce more alcohol. If a stronger beverage is desired, the alcohol must be distilled. A fermenting mash of grains will be boiled. The alcohol will vaporize faster, as it boiling point is 141 degrees, vs. 212 degrees for water. The vaporized alcohol is captured and condensed back into liquid. The result is a very high percentage of alcohol, up to 95%. This is typically diluted with water to about 40 to 50% alcohol, and aged in barrels. Different grains and aging processes will produce very different beverages. Potatoes or wheat will produce vodka, which is filtered but not aged in barrels. Malted barley, smoked over peat fires, and aged in barrels by the sea will make Scotch whisky, and corn, barley and rye aged in oak barrels will make American Whiskeys. 

How alcohol is used?

Alcohol is typically taken orally by drinking it, though people have snorted drops of alcohol, and soaked tampons in alcohol and inserted them vaginally or anally. This practice is debated by some as an urban legend, but it is likely people have tried it due to the urban legends. Alcohol can be used intravenously as well, and it can be vaporized and inhaled. 

Effects of alcohol on the user: 

  • Ataxia, or a staggering, unsteady gait
  • Slurring words
  • Speaking loudly
  • Exaggerated emotions, including anger and sadness
  • Impaired judgment and impulsivity
  • Nystagmus or horizontal bouncing of the pupils
  • Stomach upset and vomiting
  • LOC (Loss of Consciousness)  
  • Brownout/Blackout. (Eight to 12 hours of partial or complete memory loss while drunk)

An overdose of alcohol can result in: 

  • Respiratory depression
  • Coma
  • Death

How long Alcohol takes to work, and how long it lasts?

The effects of alcohol will typically be experienced within 20 to 30 minutes of the time it is consumed. The effects of alcohol last about 60 to 90 minutes, but this period of intoxication is typically prolonged by continued drinking. 

Short-term and long-term risks of using Alcohol  

Intoxication on alcohol can produce impaired judgement, impulsivity, and very regrettable decisions. Some people become hostile and aggressive under the influence of alcohol, and can incur injury or criminal charges from fighting. Driving a vehicle under the influence can result in criminal charges of DUI (Driving Under the Influence) and MVA (Motor Vehicle Accident) with injury, property damage or death resulting. It can also lead to unwanted pregnancy. 

Long term heavy use of alcohol can result in liver damage, damage to the esophagus and stomach, high blood pressure, cancers of the throat, stomach, pancreas, and liver, cognitive impairment, and multiple social and occupational consequences such as divorce, loss of job, criminal charges, a bad reputation, and loss of friends and family. This is a short list of the problems that can occur.


Alcoholic beverages are legally purchased and consumed by those over age 21. The majority of the population can consume it in moderation, as a beverage, without any problems, or discontinue use if problems result. A small percentage of the population cannot and will not ever be able to consume it without life becoming unmanageable. It is important to know which category you are in.