Glossary of Alcohol Related Terms
This glossary of alcohol related terms provides definitions to terms frequently encountered in literature related to alcohol addiction. The Alcohol Addiction Glossary is useful for anyone interested in understanding terms and phrases used to discuss addiction to alcohol.
To use the Glossary of Alcohol Related Terms simply click the first letter of the word for which you would like to find information:
A liquid distilled product of fermented fruits, grains and vegetables. Used as solvent, antiseptic and sedative. Moderate potential for abuse. Also know as booze, juice, brew, vino, and sauce.
Alcohol Abuse During Pregnancy
Alcohol Abuse During Pregnancy is dangerous. Alcohol can have a number of harmful effects on the baby. The baby can be born mentally retarded or with learning and behavioral problems that last a lifetime. We don’t know exactly how much alcohol is required to cause these problems. We do know, however, that these alcohol-related birth defects are 100- percent preventable, simply by not drinking alcohol during pregnancy. The safest course for women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant is not to drink alcohol at all.
Alcohol Dependence, also known as “alcoholism,” is a disease that includes four symptoms: * Craving: A strong need, or compulsion, to drink. * Loss of control: The inability to limit one’s drinking on any given occasion. * Physical dependence: Withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety, occur when alcohol use is stopped after a period of heavy drinking. * Tolerance: The need to drink greater amounts of alcohol in order to “get high.” People who are not alcoholic sometimes do not understand why an alcoholic can’t just “use a little willpower” to stop drinking. However, alcoholism has little to do with willpower. Alcoholics are in the grip of a powerful “craving,” or uncontrollable need, for alcohol that overrides their ability to stop drinking. This need can be as strong as the need for food or water. Although some people are able to recover from alcoholism without help, the majority of alcoholics need assistance. With treatment and support, many individuals are able to stop drinking and rebuild their lives. Many people wonder why some individuals can use alcohol without problems but others cannot. One important reason has to do with genetics. Scientists have found that having an alcoholic family member makes it more likely that if you choose to drink you too may develop alcoholism. Genes, however, are not the whole story. In fact, scientists now believe that certain factors in a person’s environment influence whether a person with a genetic risk for alcoholism ever develops the disease. A person’s risk for developing alcoholism can increase based on the person’s environment, including where and how he or she lives; family, friends, and culture; peer pressure; and even how easy it is to get alcohol.
Usually occurs in adults, but it may happen in adolescents as well. It occurs when a person who uses alcohol excessively suddenly stops the alcohol use. The withdrawal usually occurs within 5-10 hours after the decrease in alcohol intake, but it may occur up to 7- 10 days later. Excessive alcohol use is generally considered the equivalent of 2-6 pints of beer (or 4 oz of “hard” alcohol) per day for one week or habitual use of alcohol that disrupts a person’s life and routines. The likelihood of developing alcohol withdrawal symptoms increases as the number and frequency of drinks increase. The likelihood of developing severe withdrawal symptoms also increases if a person has other medical problems.
See Alcohol Dependence
The consumption of five or more alcoholic drinks in a row on at least one occasion.
The result of chronic liver disease that causes scarring of the liver and liver dysfunction. This often has many complications, including accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, bleeding disorders, increased pressure in the blood vessels, and confusion or a change in the level of consciousness. Common causes of chronic liver disease in the US include hepatitis C infection and long- term alcohol abuse. Hepatitis C is now the most common reason for liver transplantation in the US. Other causes of cirrhosis include hepatitis B, medications, autoimmune inflammation of the liver, disorders of the drainage system of the liver (the biliary system), and metabolic disorders of iron and copper.
Ethyl Alcohol or ethanol is the member of the alcohol series of chemicals which is used in alcoholic beverages. It is less toxic than other members of this series, but it is a central nervous system depressant and has a high abuse potential.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
The manifestation of specific growth, mental, and physical birth defects associated with the mother’s high levels of alcohol use during pregnancy. Alcohol use or abuse by the pregnant woman subjects her to the same range of risks that alcohol has in the general population. However, it poses extreme and unique risks to the fetus and is associated with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Timing of alcohol use during pregnancy is also of importance. Alcohol use during the first trimester is more damaging than during the second trimester, which is, in turn, more damaging than use in the third trimester. Alcohol ingested by a pregnant woman easily passes across the placental barrier to the fetus. Because of this, drinking alcohol can adversely affect the development of the baby. A pregnant woman who drinks any amount of alcohol is at risk, since a “safe” level of alcohol ingestion during pregnancy has not been established. However, larger amounts appear to cause increased problems. Multiple birth defects associated with “classical” fetal alcohol syndrome are more commonly associated with heavy alcohol use or alcoholism. Fetal alcohol syndrome consists of the following abnormalities: * Intrauterine growth retardation: growth deficiency in the fetus and newborn in all parameters — head circumference, weight, height) * Delayed development with decreased mental functioning (mild to severe) * Facial abnormalities including small head; small upper jaw; short, up-turned nose; groove in upper lip; smooth and thin upper lip; and narrow, small, and unusual-appearing eyes with prominent epicanthal folds * Heart defects * Limb abnormalities of joints, hands, feet, fingers, and toes
Inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis can be caused by infections with various organisms, including bacteria, viruses (Hepatitis A, B, C, etc.), or parasites. Chemical toxins such as alcohol, drugs, or poisonous mushrooms can also damage the liver and cause it to become inflamed. A rare but extremely dangerous cause of hepatitis results from overdose of acetaminophen (Tylenol), which can be deadly. In addition, immune cells in the body may attack the liver and cause autoimmune hepatitis. Hepatitis may resolve quickly (acute hepatitis), or cause long-term disease (chronic hepatitis). In some instances, progressive liver damage or liver failure may result. The incidence and severity of hepatitis vary depending on many factors, including the cause of the liver damage and any underlying illnesses in a patient. Common risk factors include intravenous drug use, Tylenol overdose (the dose needed to cause damage is quite close to the effective dose so be sure to be careful to take Tylenol only as directed), risky sexual behaviors.
A condition in which higher doses of a drug are required to produce the same effect as during initial use; often leads to physical dependence.