Grain alcohol is a refined type of ethanol alcohol created by distilling fermented grain. The ethanol itself is produced through the fermentation of sugars by yeast in the grain before multiple distillations.
Because of its high alcohol content, grain alcohol is considered to be extremely hazardous to consume. Drinking more than a small amount can quickly result in intoxication, impaired thinking and motor skills, and reduced inhibitions. Any individual who uses grain alcohol in excess is at a high risk of alcohol poisoning, other severe health complications, and injury to themselves or others.
Other risks include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Tolerance and dependence
- Worsened mental health
- Auto accidents
- Risky sexual behaviors
- Brain damage
- Liver or kidney disease
- Increased cancer risk
- Stroke or heart disease
- Fetal alcohol syndrome
- Increased risk of falls
- Memory/learning difficulties
- Suicidal thoughts/behaviors
Alcohol abuse and chronic drinking patterns can also lead to severe problems in an individual’s life, such as those associated with family, career, school, and finances. It can rapidly lead to legal consequences as well, such as impaired driving or open intox arrests and convictions.
Heavy alcohol use has also been linked to several mood disorders. Harmful patterns of drinking can significantly affect a person’s mental health status. Indeed, it can cause or aggravate many mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and ADHD.
More on Grain Alcohol
The term “grain alcohol” can refer to any ethanol produced using grain, or alcohol that is at least 90% pure. Examples of grain alcohols include Everclear, Gem Clear, Century, and Graves. Grain alcohol is odorless, colorless with has no added flavor, although many people report that it has a slightly medicinal taste.
Grain alcohol’s high ABV (alcohol by volume) and relatively low price make it attractive to some consumers, particularly teens and young adults. Regardless of a person’s age, however, drinking Everclear can be very risky, even in small amounts.
In a party or college environment, an individual may drink grain alcohol without his or her knowledge. It’s often poured into high alcohol content drinks, such as “Jungle Juice.” Or, a person who is addicted to alcohol and has a very high tolerance may deliberately drink grain alcohol to increase the pleasurable and rewarding effects.
Everclear is among the most popular brands of grain alcohol in the United States. It comes in three concentrations—60%, 75.5%, and 95%, representing proofs of 120, 151, and 190, respectively. By comparison, many other popular liquors, such as rum, gin, and vodka, are about 40% alcohol or 80 proof on average. Thus, Everclear can be more than twice as potent.
Because of Everclear’s high ABV and the huge risks surrounding it, the 190 proof version is illegal to purchase in many states in the U.S. However, some will go to some lengths to obtain it, such as asking a family member or friend bring them a bottle from another state.
It may be nearly effortless to consume a dangerous amount of Everclear in a short period. Despite Everclear’s strength and health cautions against drinking it, abuse does happen and can put a person’s life in immediate jeopardy.
According to the makers of Everclear, it is intended to be diluted or used to make an alcoholic beverage of a lower proof. Despite this warning, many people continue to consume it in a way other than intended, which can cause serious harm.
While drinking Everclear, an individual can overdose on alcohol after a small number of drinks. Acute alcohol poisoning can prove lethal, especially if emergency medical help is not sought in time to administer treatment.
The use of alcohol is considered to be socially acceptable by many. However, a fine line exists between enjoyable levels of intoxication and alcohol poisoning. Many persons do not realize that alcohol poisoning is an acute overdose of alcohol.
An alcohol overdose occurs when an individual’s body, particularly the liver, can no longer keep up with the amount of alcohol inundating its system. The liver can only handle about 1-2 standard drinks per hour, and grain alcohol is far above a “standard” drink, which, as noted, is around 40% for liquor. For some, it may take only a couple of shots in one hour to lead to intoxication.
This excess amount of alcohol circulating in a person’s bloodstream causes impairment to the central nervous and respiratory system, and this effect can be life-threatening. As this occurs, the amount of toxins produced from the breakdown of alcohol accumulates. When severe, these effects can lead to basic life support functions in a person’s brain and body shutting down.
Like drug overdoses, without immediate medical intervention, severe alcohol poisoning can be fatal. Around 2,200 persons (six per day) die each year from acute alcohol poisoning in the U.S. Although this number is relatively low when compared to some other drugs of abuse, such as opioids, it does reveal that deaths from alcohol overdoses occur on a regular basis.
What to Do in Case of Overdose
If someone you know is exhibiting stupor, barely able to stay conscious, emergency medical attention is probably necessary. Being able to identify the signs of an alcohol overdose is critical and may be able to help to save a person’s life.
If you witness the following symptoms of alcohol poisoning, please call 911 or visit the nearest ER immediately:
- Bluish or pale skin
- Slow or stopped breathing
- Profound confusion
- Slurred speech
- Impaired motor skills
- Low body temperature
- Stomach/intestinal bleeding
Fortunately, many individuals recover from an alcohol overdose, but, tragically, a number of others do not. In the most extreme circumstances, a person could choke and on their vomit or fall into a coma and die.
Getting Treatment for Alcohol Abuse And Addiction
Just Believe Detox, and Just Believe Recovery offers personalized, comprehensive alcohol addiction treatment programs that provide people with all the tools they need to maintain sobriety and heal from the destructive effects of heavy alcohol abuse.
Alcohol withdrawal, especially for persons who have drunk excessively regularly for an extended period, can be life-threatening. While many signs and symptoms of withdrawal will be relatively mild and quickly addressed, others have the potential to be deadly. Without prompt medical help, this condition can lead to death, and for this reason and others, undergoing a medically-assisted detox is highly recommended.
After an individual has undergone detox and their bodies have returned to normal functioning, next, it is critical to work on treating the emotional aspects of addiction. Alcohol rehab programs, such as those offered at our centers, focus on teaching people to manage their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors more positively through behavioral therapies and group support.