In this article
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:
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Finally, both acute (short-term) and chronic ethanol exposure inhibit an immune response (including antibodies and lymphocytes).
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:
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:
In people who abuse EtOH, there is an increased risk of overdose or alcohol use disorder (AUD).
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):
According to the DSM-V:
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.
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 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) 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 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.
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 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.
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.
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%).
EtOH (ethanol) is a very weak acidic substance.
In this article