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Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol Abuse
According to the CDC, almost 17% of Georgia adults report binge drinking in 2013. These numbers do not include individuals that did not report their alcohol use, so it is likely they are actually higher, especially in recent years. Not only does alcohol use pose a threat to those who binge drink, but it poses a serious threat to innocent bystanders. Between 2009 and 2018, 3,241 individuals were killed in car accidents where the driver was under the influence.

Alcohol Abuse in Georgia

Alcohol is an ironic drug because it is legal and widely accepted, but it can pose one of the most serious threats to individuals who abuse it. Not only does alcohol depress the central nervous system, but it also induces the release of dopamine within the brain. This can cause feelings of euphoria, sensations of pleasure, and it can dull pain. As use continues, the brain will actually become dependent on alcohol to produce those effects. This can cause cravings, and increased tolerance, and addiction.

National trends of alcohol use indicate that almost 90% of people 18 and older drink. Alcohol use in Georgia looks like:

  • 15.8% of adults binge drink
  • The cost of excessive drinking in Georgia is $6,930,900,000
  • Excessive alcohol use in Georgia causes 2,500 deaths each year

1.6% of people who drink in Georgia report to driving afterwards

Stories of Recovery

The following videos depict success stories from real people who have struggled with alcohol abuse. Though it may seem difficult, recovery is a very real possibility, especially for individuals who seek professional treatment.

Physical Signs of Use

Because alcohol is so accepted and used, it can be difficult to know when someone is drinking in excess. Knowing the physical signs before it’s too late could be the difference between life and death. Some of the key features of an individual who drinks excessively include:

  • Disheveled appearance or lack of care for basic hygiene
  • Random loss or gain of weight
  • Upset stomach
  • Poor coordination
  • A yellow skin tone

What is Withdrawal Like?

Alcohol withdrawal can be deadly without proper medical supervision. It is recommended that people struggling with alcohol withdrawal seek medical attention. If these symptoms are not treated, it is possible the user may relapse to get rid of them. Death is also a very real possibility since both the brain and body are dependent on alcohol to survive.


Though the timeline of withdrawal depends upon each person, symptoms do typically follow a pattern. Alcohol withdrawal sets in quickly, with mild symptoms beginning 6-12 hours after the last drink. Once it has been 24-72 hours since the last drink, symptoms may worsen and become quite severe if left untreated.


  • Anxiety
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Hallucinations and Delusions
  • Seizures
  • Delirium Tremens
  • Confusion
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Fever


Seeking treatment for alcohol abuse is the best way to get through withdrawal and begin recovery. There are often underlying conditions that led to addiction, and those can be addressed through treatment.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT helps individuals struggling with alcohol abuse identify and modify negative thought processes and behaviors. One-on-one sessions with a clinician can help clients uncover what those underlying conditions are.



There are a variety of different medications that can help someone struggling with an alcohol addiction, such as:

  • Naltrexone: FDA approved and can reduce cravings for alcohol.
  • Nalmefene: Reduces cravings as well as the rewarding effects of alcohol.
  • Acamprosate: FDA approved to reduce cravings and prevent relapse.
  • Disulfiram: FDA approved to cause extremely unpleasant reactions to alcohol.

Georgia Support Resources

Though alcohol addiction may seem isolating, there are many different support groups and resources available.

  • Alcoholics Anonymous Georgia: This website provides different meetings and resources around the state for individuals looking for alcohol support.
  • The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health: They provide various resources for individuals struggling with substance abuse. They are also an accrediting body.
  • Al Anon Georgia: Provides meetings and resources for family members and loved ones of those struggling with alcohol abuse. It can often be as important for family members to seek treatment as it is for the one abusing the alcohol, and this offers a great way to find support.