AlcoholRehabHelp Logo
AlcoholRehabHelp Logo
Alcohol & Health
Treatment
Helping Alcoholics
Where Does My Call Go?

EtOH (Ethanol)

Begin your journey towards lasting recovery
Call us (855) 772-9047

EtOH (Ethanol) Definition

The term EtOH is a chemical abbreviation or acronym. It's used by scientific and medical professionals to describe the compound for ethanol. Ethanol is the form of alcohol used in alcoholic beverages. 

EtoH is also used as:

  • A solvent in industrial and consumer products
  • The primary ingredient in cleaning solutions
  • An antidote (commonly prescribed by healthcare professionals)

EtOH may be used to refer to alcoholic beverages, especially those distilled from grain substances. Grain alcohol does not only mean ethanol produced from grain. People may interchange the name with moonshine to describe alcohol that is 90% (or more) pure. 

Can You Drink Pure EtOH?

Different industrial products and alcoholic drinks like moonshine have high-proof ethanol. That type of EtOH is pure or closer to pure than that found in other substances.

However, drinking pure ethyl alcohol, especially from fuel, poses dangerous health risks. The alcohol content can be twice the amount in typical liquors like rum.

People drinking pure EtOH won't need to consume much before blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels rise, and alcohol effects occur.  If not careful, they can experience alcohol poisoning and suffer other serious side effects. 

Pure ethanol fuel may also contain other harmful chemicals. Ethanol-based cleaning products may have denaturants (ex: bitter flavoring) to make the alcohol unsuitable for drinking. 

Alcohol misuse cost the United States $249 billion in 2010.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
man leading group therapy
ALCOHOL REHAB HELP

Looking for a Place to Start?

An addiction specialist can help answer your questions and guide you through the intake process.
Learn More

How Ethanol Affects the Body

Ethanol has multiple harmful effects on the body. It affects the central nervous system (CNS), liver, and pancreas.

The effects of alcohol can become even more dangerous to health when people consume too much ethanol over an extended period. 

Liver Damage

The liver helps metabolize ethanol. The hepatic organ breaks down the substance into acetaldehyde, a highly toxic compound, to convert into acetate byproduct.

In normal and healthy processes, there is no significant health problem.

However, chronic ethanol overexposure may contribute to a build-up of acetaldehyde that results in organ damage and liver cirrhosis (improper functioning due to massive scarring). 

In more severe cases, such liver damage can lead to death. 

Pancreatic Inflammation

Inflammation of the pancreas is also possible. Chronic ethanol exposure can affect pancreas functioning, which then changes insulin production and increases the risk of diabetes

Brain Damage

Similarly, chronic ethanol overexposure can affect the neurotransmitter networks of the brain. These networks comprise proteins, receptions, signaling pathways, and more.

For this reason, it is not uncommon to see behavioral impairment in those suffering from chronic alcoholism. 

It's thought that even alcohol-related peripheral neuropathy (damage to the nerves in the CNS) results from chronic ethanol use. Ethanol, in general, is neurotoxic and can affect cognitive functions negatively.

It's estimated that 10% to 24% of all cases of dementia are alcohol-related. 

Immune System Damage

Finally, both acute (short-term) and chronic ethanol exposure inhibit an immune response (including antibodies and lymphocytes).  

Signs of EtOH Abuse (Alcohol Addiction) 

EtOh abuse or alcohol addiction shares characteristics found in opioid addictions that include the risk of binge or heavy drinking, followed by withdrawal.

People may return to drinking alcohol to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Tremors
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Increased heart rate and/or blood pressure
  • Sweating
  • Irritability and confusion
  • Insomnia and nightmares
  • Hallucinations that can be tactile, auditory, or visual
  • Intense cravings 

Because cravings are intense, it can be difficult for these people to maintain abstinence. 

Similarly, those who suffer from EtOH abuse may partake in excessive drinking activities, such as:

  • Binge drinking — when someone consumes a lot of alcohol quickly in order to get a BAC of at least 0.08%. This is 4 to 5 drinks per hour for men and women, respectively.
  • Heavy drinking — five or more instances of binge drinking in a month. This is usually 15 or more drinks per week for men; 8 or more weekly for women.

In people who abuse EtOH, there is an increased risk of overdose or alcohol use disorder (AUD). 

Man meditating at home
ALCOHOL REHAB HELP

Thinking about Getting Help?

Addiction specialists are available 24/7 to answer questions about costs, insurance, and payment options.
Learn More

How to Diagnose a Drinking Problem

If you're wondering if you or someone you know has a drinking problem, you can use this list of symptoms to do a quick self-diagnosis.

This is taken from the DSM-5 (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders):

  • Drinking more or for longer than was intended
  • Unsuccessful attempts to cut down or stop alcohol use
  • Spending a lot of time obtaining, using, or recovering from alcohol consumption
  • Cravings for alcohol
  • Failure to fulfill responsibilities at work, school, or home due to drinking alcohol
  • Continuing to drink despite having social problems caused by the effects of alcohol
  • Important social, work, or recreational activities are stopped or reduced because of alcohol use
  • Drinking in physically dangerous situations
  • Continuing to drink even though it is known to have negative effects on your health
  • Developing a tolerance to alcohol
  • Having withdrawal symptoms after stopping alcohol use

According to the DSM-V:

  • 2 to 3 symptoms is considered mild
  • 4 to 5 symptoms is considered moderate
  • 6 or more symptoms is considered severe

Remember, a self-diagnosis is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you or someone you know is having trouble with alcohol abuse, the first step is to talk with a professional. Reach out to an addiction specialist to review your options.

Insurance Can Help Pay for Addiction Treatment

Call now to speak with a specialist about your insurance benefits.
Call Now (855) 772-9047

EtOH Addiction Treatment Options

If you or a loved one is suffering from an EtOH addiction, there is a range of options and resources available to help with recovery. The following is a list of choices:

Inpatient Programs

Inpatient treatment takes place at a licensed residential treatment center. These programs provide 24/7 comprehensive, structured care. You'll live in safe, substance-free housing and have access to professional medical monitoring.

The first step of an inpatient program is detoxification. Then behavioral therapy and other services are introduced.

These programs typically last 30, 60, or 90 days, sometimes longer. Most programs help set up your aftercare once you complete the inpatient portion of your treatment.

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs)

Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) are sometimes referred to as intensive outpatient programs (IOPs). Compared to inpatient programs, partial hospitalization programs provide similar services.

However, in a PHP program, you return home to sleep. Some services provide food and transportation, but services vary by program. PHPs accept new patients as well as people who have completed an inpatient program and still need intensive treatment.

Outpatient Programs

Outpatient treatment is less intensive than inpatient or partial hospitalization programs. These programs organize your treatment session based on your schedule.

The goal of outpatient treatment is to provide therapy, education, and support in a flexible environment. They're best for people who have a high motivation to recover and cannot leave their responsibilities at home, work, or school.

Outpatient programs are often part of aftercare programs once you complete an inpatient or PHP program.

Medication-Assisted Therapy (MAT)

Sometimes, medications may be used in alcohol addiction treatment. Some medicines can help reduce the negative side effects of detoxification and withdrawal. Others can help you reduce cravings and normalize body functions.

The most common medications used to treat AUD are:

When combined with other evidence-based therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), MAT can help prevent relapse and increase your chance of recovery.

Support Groups

Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) are open to anyone with a substance abuse problem. They are peer-led organizations dedicated to helping each other remain sober.

Ethanol FAQs

What is an EtOH test?

An EtOH test checks to see how much ethanol is present in blood and the degree of intoxication. It may help in diagnosing alcoholism in those who have developed a tolerance to ethanol. These people may require higher levels of ethanol to experience the substance’s effects. 

What is a normal EtOH level?

Blood ethanol levels above 30 mg/dl (>0.03%) generally indicate that someone consumed an alcoholic beverage. An EtOH test can detect ethanol in blood at concentrations beginning at 10 mg/dL (0.01%).

Is EtOH an acid or base?

EtOH (ethanol) is a very weak acidic substance. 

Updated on March 22, 2022
6 sources cited
  1. Alcohol Facts and Statistics.National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 18 Feb. 2020.
  2. Ethanol Uses, Benefits, and Chemical Safety Facts.ChemicalSafetyFacts.org, 9 June 2020.
  3. Strohm, B. “Ethanol.Encyclopedia of Toxicology (Third Edition), Academic Press, 14 Apr. 2014.
  4. Lovinger D.M., Roberto M. "Synaptic Effects Induced by Alcohol." In: Sommer W., Spanagel R. (eds) Behavioral Neurobiology of Alcohol Addiction. Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences, vol 13. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
  5. H. Jacob Hanchar, et al., "Ethanol potently and competitively inhibits binding of the alcohol antagonist Ro15-4513 to α4/6β3δ GABAA receptors," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences May 2006.
  6. Lorenzo, Patricia M. Di, et al. “Neural and Behavioral Responsivity to Ethyl Alcohol as a Tastant.” Wiley Online Library, Journal of Leukocyte Biology, 19 Mar. 2003.

Find your treatment that works for you!

Call Now (855) 772-9047
AlcoholRehabHelp Logo
All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.

This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:Verify here.

© 2022 by Treatment Pathway LLC. All rights reserved.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram