EtOH is a common abbreviation for ethanol, the scientific term for drinking alcohol. EtOH is also known as ethyl alcohol, grain alcohol, or alcohol.
Alcohol is the most abused addictive substance in the United States, not only legal but also socially acceptable. A CNS depressant, EtOH can trigger sickness, sleepiness, and confusion when consumed to excess, while an EtOH overdose (alcohol poisoning) can be deadly.
While 14.5 million adults in the US had alcohol use disorder in 2019, the most recent SAMHSA data shows a dramatic increase in the use of EtOH with 28 million over-12s in 2020 meeting the criteria for alcohol use disorder.
EtOH abuse, then, is one of the primary preventable causes of death in the United States, but what is ethanol alcohol and what does EtOH stand for?
What is ETOH?
The EtOH meaning derives from a chemical term abbreviated from ethyl alcohol.
Even if you haven’t encountered the term EtOH before, you will certainly have come across alcohol.
Ethyl alcohol, then, is the clear substance in alcohol beverages like beer, wine, or liquor. When referred to in a research, clinical, or academic setting, ethyl alcohol is often shortened to EtOH.
EtOH is also utilized as a fuel additive and a solvent, but one of the most popular global uses for ethyl alcohol is as the intoxicating ingredient in alcoholic beverages from beer and wine to distilled spirits.
ETOH Medical Abbreviation
Ethanol has many names, including:
- Ethyl alcohol
- Grain alcohol
- Drinking alcohol
The chemical formula is C2H6O, but it can also be expressed as:
Resultantly, you will commonly encounter the abbreviation EtOH used to describe these various ethyl groups.
Types of Ethanol Alcohol
There are many different types of alcohol fit for consumption. The most popular of these are:
- Malt liquor
- Distilled spirits
These different types of EtOH are of varying potencies, with beer typically the weakest and distilled spirits the strongest.
While most people have a clear understanding of the difference between the above types of EtOH, not everyone is aware of what constitutes a standard drink.
According to NIAAA (the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism), the following are defined as standard drinks:
- Regular 5% beer (12oz)
- 12% wine (5oz)
- 40% distilled spirits (1.5oz)
What constitutes EtOH abuse, then?
Abusing alcohol can bring about an array of negative physical and mental health outcomes, both short-term and long-term. In some cases, these issues can become life-threatening.
Some of the more severe long-term effects of EtOH abuse include:
- Liver damage
- Swelling of the pancreas
- Bleeding from the esophagus
- Increased risk of certain cancers (liver, esophagus, colon, breast)
Beyond this, consuming excessive quantities of alcohol can also cause a variety of cardiovascular issues like heart problems and high blood pressure.
EtOH abuse can also precipitate many short-term health risks, such as:
- Motor vehicle crashes
- Accidents operating machinery
- Outbursts of aggression or violence
- Alcohol poisoning (alcohol overdose)
The most damaging of all the effects of EtOH abuse is the development of alcohol use disorder, the clinical descriptor for alcoholism.
For a diagnosis of alcohol use disorder, you must present with at least two of the eleven diagnostic criteria in DSM-5.
You will be asked versions of these questions based on your alcohol consumption over the previous year:
- Have you found yourself drinking more than you planned or drinking for longer than intended?
- Have you unsuccessfully tried to quit drinking or to moderate your consumption?
- Are you spending less time engaging with activities, hobbies, and interests in favor of drinking?
- Do you spend lots of time sourcing alcohol, consuming alcohol, and recovering from the effects of alcohol to the extent it is disrupting your daily living?
- Is your alcohol intake causing problems at school, work, or home?
- Have you ever craved alcohol so powerfully that the cravings dominated all other thoughts?
- Is your tolerance to alcohol building so you need more alcohol to get the same rewarding effects?
- Have you engaged in risky behaviors after drinking alcohol?
- Do you continue to drink alcohol despite problems with your relationships developing?
- Are you still drinking alcohol even though it causes feelings of anxiety or depression?
- Have you ever experienced withdrawal symptoms when alcohol’s effects wear off?
Alcohol use disorder is diagnosed as follows:
- Mild AUD: 2 or 3 symptoms
- Moderate AUD: 4 or 5 symptoms
- Severe AUD: 6 or more symptoms
Ethanol Alcohol Withdrawal
EtOH withdrawal is more commonly known as alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS).
Withdrawal symptoms typically manifest when someone classified as a heavy drinker moderates or discontinues the consumption of alcohol. The associated symptoms are both emotional and physical.
The symptoms of mild alcohol withdrawal are similar to those of influenza, both in intensity and duration. More severe alcohol withdrawal can trigger vivid and disconcerting hallucinations and potentially deadly seizures in the event of delirium tremens (the most severe form of alcohol withdrawal).
Chronic EtOH abuse triggers pronounced changes to the CNS (central nervous system).
If you drink heavily, or even if you drink moderately but over the long-term, you will continuously expose your brain to the sedative and depressive effects of alcohol. Your brain then produces chemicals – norepinephrine and serotonin – to redress this imbalance, counteracting the sluggish feeling you experience after drinking heavily.
Removing alcohol from the equation means your brain feels overstimulated, at the same time as your CNS struggles to adapt to the absence of EtOH. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are your brain and body responding to this change.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be mild, moderate, or severe, and will typically last for 7 to 10 days.
Overcoming Alcohol Abuse at The District
If you are battling alcohol use disorder, you don’t need to do it alone. Here at The District, we specialize in the gender-specific outpatient treatment of alcoholism, drug addiction, and mental health conditions.
You will first need to detox from alcohol, ideally in a supervised clinical setting. FDA-approved medications can reduce the severity of cravings and EtOH withdrawal symptoms.
With alcohol purged from your system, choose the right outpatient program for your needs:
- OP: Standard outpatient program providing 2 to 3 hours of weekly therapy.
- IOP: Intensive outpatient program providing 9 to 15 hours of weekly therapy.
- PHP: Partial hospitalization program providing 30 to 35 hours of weekly therapy.
All programs will be customized to your needs and all offer you access to the same evidence-based addiction treatment you would find in residential rehab, such as:
- MAT (medication-assisted treatment)
- Psychotherapy – CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and DBT (dialectical behavior therapy)
- Group counseling
- Individual counseling
- Family therapy
Once you complete your course of treatment, you will have a robust aftercare and relapse management plan in place to minimize your chances of relapse into EtOH abuse.