Today you are more likely to hear about the problem with drug or opiate addiction than about Alcoholism.
The reason we don’t hear as much or more on this is that alcohol is a legal, controlled substance that can be bought on almost any street corner.
Alcohol has killed more people than drugs and is one of the most common addictions in America.
- Each year, an estimated 88,000 people—62,000 men and 26,000 women—die from alcohol-related and has shortened the lives of those who died by an average of 30 years.
- Alcohol poisoning alone kills six people every day. This makes alcohol abuse the third leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. second only to tobacco and a poor diet/sedentary lifestyle
- More than 15 million people struggle with an alcohol use disorder in the United States, but less than eight percent of those receive treatment.
- More than 30 percent of all driving fatalities each year deaths attributed to alcohol-impaired driving and costs the United States $199 billion every year.
- More than 65 million Americans report binge drinking in the past month, which is more than 40 percent of the total of current alcohol users.
Teen alcohol use kills 4,700 people each year
That’s more than all illegal drugs combined
- Among youth ages 12 to 17, an estimated 623,000 had alcohol use disorders, including 325,000 females and 298,000 males.
- Youth who start drinking young are 40% more likely to become addicted and seven times more likely to be in an alcohol-related motor vehicle accident.
- Over 40 percent of all drug-related emergency room visits of people under the age of 20 were caused by alcohol abuse.
Despite its negative impact
More Americans than ever before consume alcohol on a regular basis
A beer or a glass of wine is a common way many Americans choose to wind down at the end of a day. The social acceptance of drinking has become synonymous with many activities in American culture. Drinking games on college campuses revolve around it, happy hours are the go-to activity for professionals, and you’d be hard pressed to find a sporting event without it.
How much is too much? How do you know when you've crossed the line?
For men, it's more than 14 drinks in a week, or more than four in a day. For women, "heavy" or "at risk" drinking means more than seven drinks per week, or more than three in any day. Drinking “in moderation” means having, no more than two if you're a man and no more than one drink a day if you're a woman You may be drinking more than you realize. “Standard” alcoholic beverages, such as the following, contain about 14 grams (0.6 ounces) of pure alcohol:
One drink equals:
- 12 ounces of beer: The rise of craft beer has even made beer consumption fashionable. An unfortunate side effect of the craft beer revolution is that beers may have significantly higher amounts of alcohol than the average domestic draft — some can be as high as 11 or 12 percent.
- 5 ounces of wine: Compared to beer, wine has a more concentrated amount of alcohol than beer. An average pour of wine (5 oz.) is equivalent in alcohol content to 12 oz. of beer. Wine is often consumed at dinner parties or alongside gourmet cheese and cracker pairings. Women make up 59 percent of wine drinkers in the United States and are often the targeted audience in advertising campaigns promoting the drink.
- 1.5 ounces of liquor: Hard alcohol, known as liquor, includes vodka, gin, whiskey, rum, and tequila. When you compare liquor to beer and wine, liquor is the most potent form of alcohol. An 80-proof liquor would be 40 percent alcohol. Most people mix liquor with soda, water, or juice. By doing so, they don’t realize how much they’re drinking per serving unless they’re taking “shots.
Thirty seconds after the first sip, alcohol races to the brain. It slows down the chemicals and pathways that the brain cells use to send messages. That alters mood, slows reflexes, and throws off balance. It causes you to not think straight, you will struggle to store things in long-term memory.
If you have a parent or other relative who has an addiction problem; your risk of addiction automatically increases. Part of this is due to genetics. Genes that have to do with addiction can be passed down up to eight generations. But the other part has to do with your environment. Spending time around people who abuse heavily can influence you to do the same.
Signs of Alcohol Abuse
There are mild, moderate, and severe forms of Alcohol Abuse, which depend on how many symptoms you have.
To assess whether you or loved one may have alcohol abuse disorder, here are some questions to ask. In the past year, have you:
- Experienced craving — a strong need, or urge, to drink?
- Had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer than you intended to get the effect you want? Or found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before?
- When the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, sweating, shakiness, or seizures?
- Do you mix alcohol and medications?
- Found that drinking — or being sick from drinking — often interfered with taking care of your home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems?
- Have engaged in dangerous activities, such as driving, while drinking?
- Stopping or doing less of important activities because of alcohol?
- Experienced blacking out and not being able to remember what happened while you were drinking?
- Had legal problems, such as being arrested or harming someone else while drunk?
- When loved ones ask how much you drink, you don't tell the truth?
- Have you hurt people or become angry when you drink?
- Is it tough for you to remember what you did when you were drinking?
- More than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t?
The more of these that describe you, the more severe your alcohol abuse disorder is likely to be.
Even if your case is mild, it can have a serious impact on your physical and mental health. Statistics show that 70 percent of those with addiction problems can be functioning addicts. This an addict that can hold a job and keep their family together. But still should seek help to beat their addiction.
Impact on your health
Drinking too much alcohol on a single occasion or over time can cause health problems, including:
- Liver disease
- Digestive problems
- Heart problems
- Diabetes complications.
- Sexual function and menstruation issues
- Eye problems
- Birth defects
- Bone damage
- Neurological complications
- Weakened immune system
- Increased risk of cancer
- Medication and alcohol interactions
Addiction comes with consequences whatever it is caused from.
Understanding the dangers of alcohol or drug abuse and its impact on society can help you and your loved ones make healthier choices.
For information on Addiction Recovery click: “Recovery from Addiction”
If you or a loved one needs help.
Many people with addiction problems hesitate to get treatment because of the stigma that is prevalent in this country. DON’T LET THE STIGMA STOP YOU! Addiction is a disease, Not a moral failure ask a professional experienced in addiction treatment for advice.
Do not wait to hit bottom in reaching out for help. For many hitting bottom is too late.
Visit the Addiction Resource Center or
Call the ARC Help Line 24 hours a day 1-833-301-HELP (4357)
There is a force that is much more powerful than any addiction
That is the power of love in a family
We can do this together
THERE IS HOPE