Alcohol abuse is a pattern of problem drinking that results in health consequences, social, problems, or
both. However, alcohol dependence, or alcoholism, refers to a disease that is characterized by abnormal
alcohol-seeking behavior that leads to impaired control over drinking.
Short-term effects of alcohol use include:
- distorted vision, hearing, and coordination
- altered perceptions and emotions
- impaired judgment
- bad breath; hangovers
Long-term effects of heavy alcohol use include:
- loss of appetite
- vitamin deficiencies
- stomach ailments
- skin problems
- sexual impotence
- liver damage
- heart and central nervous system damage
- memory loss
How Do I Know If I, or Someone Close, Has a Drinking Problem?
Here are some quick clues:
- Inability to control drinking--it seems that regardless of what you decide beforehand, you frequently wind up drunk
- Using alcohol to escape problems
- A change in personality--turning from Dr. Jekyl to Mr. Hyde
- A high tolerance level--drinking just about everybody under the table
- Blackouts--sometimes not remembering what happened while drinking
- Problems at work or in school as a result of drinking
- Concern shown by family and friends about drinking
If you have a drinking problem, or if you suspect you have a drinking problem, there are many others out
there like you, and there is help available. Talk to school counselor, a friend, or a parent.
The information contained herein is courtesy of the National Clearinghouse of Alcohol and Drug Information
website at http://www.health.org
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