Alcohol Abuse Facts
Alcoholism is a fatal disease with the primary symptom being denying one is an alcoholic. It is always a case of saying they are not alcoholic to oneself and announcing the same argument to other people. An alcoholic is a person whose body is dependent on alcohol. Though it is a known fact that alcohol abuse is dangerous, often it is misunderstood, yet it is a mental issue.
It does not take overnight for a person to be addicted to alcohol. It takes some time till it reaches a point that alcohol has taken over everything in a person’s life. Relationships, work, finances, and health are all affected when one allows alcohol to control everything in their life.
Signs of Alcoholism
Not everyone will exhibit the same symptoms of being alcoholic, but the standard signs are listed below.
- Experience blackouts often.
- The compelling need to drink.
- Denying that there is a problem with alcohol.
- Stocking up alcohol in the house or anywhere near you.
- Problems arise in the relationships, work and finances sector.
- Losing interest in friends, activities and friends.
- Getting drunk intentionally in order to feel good, to avoid issues or to be able to stand before others.
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, shaking or tremors, sweating when alcohol has been avoided for some time.
- Feeling guilty about the drinking patterns one is having.
Approximately 17 million adults struggle with abuse of alcohol or alcohol use disorder in the US. Alcohol is the most commonly abused addictive substance in the US. According to National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), in 2015, 15.1 million adults aged 18 and and 623,000 adolescents aged 12-17 had alcohol use disorder.
In a survey that they did in 2015, 56% of American adults above 18 years were reported to start drinking in 2016, and 24% acknowledged they binge drink.
Various reasons lead to people to turn to the bottle for comfort. A loved one abuses alcohol frequently, the person is struggling with alcoholic issues themselves. Though there is no particular cause of alcoholism, it’s caused by various factors combining.
Here are some alcoholism facts, effects on a person’s health and abuse of alcohol.
1.It is a form of addiction.
To be understood, people need to know that alcoholism is a form of substance abuse. Many people don’t seem to know that it is as dangerous as drug addiction. Binge drinking won’t necessarily make one addicted, but the body will become addicted to it, and that will later turn into a habit.
2.A person might be drinking more than they realize.
A single mixed cocktail might contain more than three standard drinks. Going to drink at the bar, restaurant or an event means one is prone to drinking more than they expected.
Men should limit alcohol intake to four drinks a day or 14 a week. Women and anyone above 65 years shouldn’t drink more than three drinks daily, in a week a total of seven drinks.
3.Alcohol affects the genders differently.
Men are affected differently compared to women when they take alcohol. It is due to hormones, stomach enzymes, water concentration and ratio of muscle to fat found in the body.
Women absorb more alcohol and metabolize it slowly thus have a risk of having long-term effects from alcohol. Men, on the other hand, drink excessively and do risky activities like speed racing and that is why they have high alcohol-related death incidents.
Men tend to be more alcoholic than women as they can handle their alcohol better than women. Hence they tend to consume more. It doesn’t mean that women can’t be alcoholic, they easily can.
Annually, 88,000 people die from alcohol-related deaths with men being 62,000 and women being 24,000.
4.Genetics contribute to alcoholism.
If anyone in the family is an alcoholic, the likelihood of it being passed down is high. The environment in which parents raise their kids and the genes from the parents contribute significantly, its nature versus nurture.
It doesn’t mean if the parents are alcoholic, the child will be one as well. It all depends on how the child will be raised and if other factors, like the friends and school influence the child.
5.Effects on the brain.
Alcohol will affect the brain
and change as alcohol will be interpreted as a new environment and alter your cells to function better when there’s alcohol in the body.
It cannot ‘un-adapt’ to having alcohol in the system. This is why when alcoholics stop drinking, some changes will continue to be an issue all through their lives.
6.Alcohol can be good in moderation.
According to Lewis Nelson, MD, a professor at Ronald O. Perelman Department of Emergency Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City, most chemicals are good when used in small doses and toxic when used in higher doses.
Alcohol-containing products, some of them such as wine, are beneficial as they help in reduction of emotional, physiological and behavioral responses to stress. Benefits from alcohol are protection against heart attack and stroke, but only if consumed in low doses.
7.Alcoholism is treatable.
Outpatient treatment programs for those who have struggled with alcohol for an extended period.
An essential step in recovery from alcohol is alcohol detox. Withdrawal symptoms could be extreme if one were a severe alcoholic. Staying sober while undergoing withdrawals is the hardest part, but when handled correctly, sobriety is achievable.
8.You can die from alcohol withdrawal.
Fatal withdrawal symptoms, such as Delirium tremens, which is a condition that occurs when one stops drinking can be quite deadly. It leads to seizure, hallucinations, confusion and other complications.
9.Alcohol drinking is expensive.
In 2010, according to the CDC, alcohol use reached $250 billion, with California contributing mostly with $35 billion and Washington D.C responsible for $3,5 billion.
10.Alcoholism can strike anyone anywhere.
Alcoholism doesn’t select a person based on their background. It can hit anyone from a homeless person to the most educated person. Celebrities aren’t exempted from this as well, the late Robin Williams, Billy Joel (pop/rock musician), Carrie Fisher, just to name a few have confessed to being alcoholics. A frequent alcohol drinker can be an alcoholic if they can’t handle their liquor.
Physical and Psychological conditions arising from alcohol abuse
Excessive consumption of alcohol can result in various conditions:
- Liver disorders.
- Congenital disabilities.
- Cardiovascular problems.
- Eye muscle weakness and paralysis.
- Short-term memory loss.
- Gastrointestinal problems.
- Neurological impairment.
- Sexual problems.Increased accidents due to intoxicated motorists, injuries from other causes, domestic abuse, divorce, work and school performance affected increased incidences of murder and suicide and violence.Alcoholism is a treatable condition. Certain medications, individual and group counseling, attending self-help groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Admit there is a problem first, and confess one is an alcoholic. Secondly, go ahead and find help for them and families, friends should be supportive to beat alcoholism.
Northeast Addictions Treatment Center is a Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment Center in Quincy, Massachusetts. Our team has been helping individuals with Drug or Alcohol Addiction live a life of Recovery since 2016.