In the medical world, alcohol is known as ETOH or EtOH. Simply put, ETOH is a chemical abbreviation for ethanol or ethyl alcohol. It’s the primary ingredient/substance found in consumable alcoholic beverages sold these days.
The intoxication that one experiences from consumable alcohol are due to the presence of ETOH in alcoholic beverages. This should explain why it’s an active compound in dose tolerated general anesthesia.
It has other uses too. Just so that you know, ETOH is used as a perseverative in the cosmetic industry. It’s also used in the food industry as a flood flavoring agent. In small doses, Ethanol is not harmful. Higher doses can have a life-threatening impact, though.
ETOH: Chemical Formula:
Scientifically speaking, the chemical formula of ETOH is C2H60. The “C2” part of the formula should tell you that it has two carbon molecules in it. By the way, “OH” stands for oxygen and hydrogen molecules. The formula C2H60 is also written as CH3CH2OH.
As such, there is a great probability of you coming across this chemical formula for the first time in your life. Therefore, the curiosity factor can be high. So, let’s tell you more about this globally used substance.
Medical Uses of EtOH:
ETOH is commonly used in the medical environment. As hinted earlier, it’s an active compound in anesthesia. For those who don’t know, it’s also used in cough syrups. Believe it or not, cough syrups contain anywhere between 10 to 40% alcohol.
Of course, the quantity of ethyl alcohol used in cough syrups is very little. Cough syrups aside, ETOH is also used as a respiratory cure tonic in today’s time. In fact, ETOH can counteract methanol poisoning as well.
Oh Yeah! ETOH has life-saving properties too. A safe and effective dose of ETOH is administered to someone with methanol poisoning. Once inside the body, ethanol interferes with the metabolism of methanol, saving a person’s life in the process.
There’s more to ETOH uses. Medical professionals often use ETOH as a handwashing solution. They usually rub this substance on their hands, which prevents bacteria transmission from them to the patients who are getting treatment.
In other words, the use of EtOH as a hand-rubbing solution keeps the patients safe. As expected, the quantity used in the commercially available handwash disinfection is minimal, and of course, below toxic levels for humans.
Understanding ETOH Abuse:
‘ETOH Abuse’ is a term used in the medical community to describe alcohol abuse. As many of you might already know, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to alcohol poisoning. By the way, some alcoholic beverages have more ethanol in every sip.
As expected, folks who choose to drink such alcoholic beverages in larger quantities are at a higher risk of ETOH abuse. In fact, even chronic use of ethanol increases one’s susceptibility to health issues, such as pneumonia and tuberculosis.
Too much alcohol consumption aside, ethanol, in its purest form, is also seen as a hazardous substance. Health bodies suggest that ethanol inhalation can irritate our vital organs, such as the throat, nose, and lungs, leading to nausea, drowsiness, and headaches.
Other severe health risks associated with ETOH abuse are; irregular heartbeats, strokes, fibrosis, lower immunity, and even cancer. In fact, ETOH abusers also commonly complain about erratic behavior and lack of sleep. Of course, they find it difficult to lead a sober life.
Treatment for ETOH Abuse:
Those suffering from symptoms related to ETOH abuse should consider visiting a rehab center to receive solid evidence-based treatment. As expected, proper rehab can help a person achieve sobriety. In the process, a person will be able to improve his/her life.
The right rehab center will have highly trained medical professionals who will look to bring about positive changes in the addict’s life through counseling. Of course, there are a bunch of different approaches through which alcohol issues are treated these days.
In most cases, medications are prescribed in conjunction with counseling. In short, there is no one-fit solution for every ETOH abuser out there. A primary care physician often suggests a good source of treatment to a patient.
Let’s Discuss ETOH Withdrawal:
As expected, there is a notorious dark side to such types of treatments. Usually, heavy drinkers have to deal with ETOH withdrawal symptoms along the way. ETOH withdrawal is the side effect that a person experiences when alcohol is withdrawn from the body.
Keep in mind that alcohol has depressive effects on our central nervous system. It can slow down our brain functions substantially. Believe it or not, alcohol can literally change the way our nerves send and receive messages.
Because the body of a chronic drinker is used to having alcohol in the system all the time, a sudden drop in alcohol levels can result in withdrawal systems. The body will have to work a lot harder than usual just to keep the brain in a more awake state.
Needless to say, the withdrawal systems are not the same for everyone. The symptoms can be mild or even severe. Mild symptoms start within 6 hours of the last drink. More chronic problems set in after 48-72 hours of going sober.
Severe withdrawal symptoms include heavy sweating, fever, high blood pressure, racing heartbeat, seizures, and even vivid hallucinations. Proper treatment aside, a person will also need a highly supportive environment to deal with this medical condition.
ETOH testing is a part of the alcohol use disorder treatment. A blood ethanol test is usually done to help doctors gauge a person’s drinking pattern. The test results show the level of alcohol in the system. As expected, blood is drawn for the purpose of this test. It’s an important test as it helps diagnose alcohol poisoning.
Even though alcohol blood testing is the most accurate way to confirm the levels of alcohol in the body, alcohol can also be measured from a person’s sweat, urine, breath, hair, and saliva. Medical professionals usually use the test results to adjust their treatment plans.