Ethanol Abuse: Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction

Due to its legal status, ethanol (more commonly called alcohol) is the most popular psychoactive drug in the United States. According to a survey conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 85.6% of American adults reported that they drank alcohol at least once in their lifetime. The same survey found that nearly 15.1 million people said they struggled with some level of ethanol abuse.

The term EtOH is the medical abbreviation for alcohol and is often used by doctors when referring to alcohol. Ethanol is the only form of alcohol that is safe for consumption and is the primary ingredient in most alcoholic drinks such as beer, wine, and spirits. 


Wine is an alcoholic beverage made primarily from fermented grape juice. The average ethanol content of wine call fall anywhere from five percent to 23%. Typically, an average store-bought wine bottle contains about 12% ethanol.


Beer makes up the largest portion of the alcoholic beverage market in the United States. It is made from grain, malt, hops, yeast, and water. The average EtOH content in most beers ranges from three to nine percent. 


Spirits are a type of alcoholic beverage that includes what is known as hard liquors: whiskey, gin, vodka, rum, tequila, and scotch. They will typically be much higher in ethanol than beer or wine. Due to its high ethanol content, spirits tend to get drinkers drunk faster, and as a result, are more often abused.

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Ethanol Use vs. Ethanol Abuse

Ethanol Use vs. Ethanol Abuse

For regular drinkers, the occasional glass of wine or cocktail alongside dinner is nothing to worry about. Some studies have shown that there may be a relationship between moderate moderate alcohol use and a lowered risk of:

  • heart attack
  • stroke
  • peripheral vascular disease
  • sudden cardiac death
  • death from all cardiovascular causes

While this may sound great, it is by no means a promotion for ethanol consumption. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that consumption of EtOH be limited to one or two drinks a day. However, not everyone who enjoys alcohol stops at just one.

A simple definition of ethanol abuse is the excessive use of alcoholic beverages, either on individual occasions (binge drinking) or as a personal practice. For some, such as women who are pregnant or people under the age of 21, any level of ethanol use can be considered abuse. In other cases, drinking to deal with stress or other unpleasant emotions can qualify as alcohol abuse. Understanding the signs of ethanol abuse can be vitally important, as it may not always be clear that someone is suffering from alcohol addiction.

Signs of Ethanol Abuse

There are many reasons that someone may be prone to alcohol abuse. Some people are more likely to develop an addiction to alcohol simply because their brains are more vulnerable to its effects. This can include people who may have certain mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and other drug use. When someone suffers from a mental illness, it is called a co-occurring condition when it exists alongside alcohol abuse. While these conditions may not go hand-in-hand, they can increase the risk for alcohol addiction.

Family history can also play a role in someone’s risk for ethanol abuse. Adult children of alcoholics are at substantially increased risk of developing alcohol use disorders themselves. While the exact cause is unclear, there is a defined correlation, and it’s important to understand the hazards associated with family history, as they can play a significant role in your risk for alcohol abuse.

Drinking alcohol too much or too often, or not being able to control alcohol consumption, can be an early warning sign of ethanol abuse. If you find yourself unable to control the urge to drink or needing a drink to feel “normal” or “good,” this may indicate a larger problem. 

Other Signs of Ethanol Abuse

  • Storing alcoholic beverages in hidden places
  • Having an unusually high tolerance to alcohol, requiring you to drink increasingly larger amounts to feel its effects
  • Experiencing blackouts due to drinking
  • Irritability when you cannot drink
  • Choosing to drink instead of engaging in activities or socializing
  • Continuing to drink despite negative life events such as losing your job or relationship troubles

Alcohol Addiction Symptoms

Alcohol consumption on its own can have negative effects on your health. In high concentrations, alcohol can cause symptoms such as slurred speech, slowed reflexes, difficulty concentrating, poor decision making, and risky behavior. The use of ethanol can be extremely dangerous in high amounts, as it can lead to motor vehicle accidents, violence, and other accidents that can result in serious injury and even death.

As alcohol addiction develops, the risk of both short-term and long-term health conditions increases significantly.

Short-Term Risks of Ethanol Abuse

  • Alcohol poisoning and other medical emergencies resulting from high contents of ethanol in the blood.
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blackouts
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Headaches
  • Impaired judgment
  • Anemia
  • Coma

Long-Term Risks of Ethanol Abuse

  • Increased family or marital problems
  • Liver damage and liver disease
  • Heart disease
  • Nerve damage
  • Permanent brain damage
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Ulcers
  • Death

Where to Get Alcohol Treatment in Las Vegas

Where to Get Ethanol Abuse Treatment in Las Vegas

If you’re noticing signs of ethanol abuse in yourself or a loved one, then it’s time to get help. Addiction to alcohol can devastate relationships, careers, and even your relationship with yourself. But the good news is that the Victorious Journey Recovery Center is here to help. We understand firsthand how hard dealing with alcohol abuse can be.

At the Victorious Journey Recovery Center, we are dedicated to providing a safe and discrete healing environment for our clients to ensure that they feel as comfortable as possible during their stay with us. Our staff is made up of highly trained mental health experts, counselors, and addiction recovery specialists who can help you on your journey to long-term sobriety.

Our treatment programs offer some of the most dynamic, comprehensive options for dealing with alcohol addiction. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Client intake evaluation
  • Personalized drug and alcohol habit assessment with a specialist 
  • Overall physical health evaluation
  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Dietary planning
  • Organized physical activities

Do you have questions about our treatment center or our ethanol abuse programs? Call our admissions specialists today at 888-828-2623, or fill out our confidential contact form. At the Victorious Journey Recovery Center, we can help you or your loved ones start their path to long-term recovery today.

Victorious Journey Recovery Center

Located in dynamic Las Vegas, Nevada, the Victorious Journey Recovery Center (VJRC) a 44-bed facility is run by a skilled multi-disciplinary team of medical and behavioral health professionals that includes nurses, counselors, and doctors, along with complementary and alternative medicine specialists to provide our clients with a transformational experience that encompasses mind, body, and spirit. Our approach is holistic and grounded in research and evidenced-based best practices that help people develop the awareness and skills required to achieve and sustain recovery.

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