Shocking Alcohol Abuse Statistics
For thousands of years, humans have consumed alcoholic beverages during celebrations, as a means to relax or when socializing. Ethyl alcohol or ethanol is the ingredient that produces the intoxicating effects associated with drinking beer, wine or liquor. Once consumed and absorbed, alcohol causes a depressant effect on the central nervous system. The degree of the effect depends on a number of factors that include the age and size of the person, the number of drinks consumed, and overall health. Some people drink only occasionally and others become addicted.
Rate of Alcohol Consumption
Statistics compiled by the National Institute on Drug Abuse indicate that more than 51% of adults over the age of 18 admitted to drinking alcoholic beverages on a regular basis. These individuals consumed a minimum of 12 drinks in the past year. In 2012, the organization performed a detailed survey of alcohol consumption. The age of the participants ranged from children aged 12 to adults over the age of 26.
When questioned as to the frequency of alcohol use, in the month prior to the survey, more than 51% of children aged 12 claimed that they had consumed alcohol. This number dropped to 12.9% for teens 13 to 17. In the group of young people aged 18 to 25, more than 60% admitted to drinking alcoholic beverages during the previous month. More than 55% of adults over the age of 26 consumed alcohol in the previous 30 days.
The NIDA also reported that the number of alcohol related deaths occurring because of liver disease was 15,990. The number of alcohol related deaths, which excluded accidents or homicides was 25,692.
Alcohol Effects on the Body
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism advises that alcohol begins affecting the body in as little as 10 minutes after consumption. Blood alcohol concentration starts to rise. The higher the level rises, the greater the degree of effects. Depending on the amount of consumption, a person might experience:
- Inhibition reduction
- Slurring of speech
- Lack of physical coordination
- Cognitive impairment
- Memory loss
- High-risk behavior
- Alterations in mood
- Loss of consciousness
- Respiratory depression
- Vital sign suppression
People who continually abuse alcohol, or become alcoholics, eventually suffer from a number of health problems.
- Cardiovascular – high blood pressure, irregular heart rate, enlargement or stretching of the heart muscle
- Liver – alcohol induced hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis, fatty liver
- Pancreas – inflammation of the organ blood vessels, which inhibits proper digestive processes
- Immune System – The body’s resistance to infection and other disease processes weakens. This affect occurs whether indulging in a one-time binge or abusing alcohol over an extended period of time.
Abusing alcohol continually or suffering from alcoholism increases the likelihood of developing a variety of cancers that affect the:
Behaviors Associated with Alcohol Abuse or Addiction
- Constant cravings for alcohol
- No control over alcohol cravings or amount of consumption
- Tolerance that requires increasing amounts of alcohol to achieve the same physical effects
- Neglecting family, friends or other interpersonal relationships
- Neglecting responsibilities related to family, school or work
- Experiencing physical symptoms when going without alcohol that include nausea, vomiting, excessive perspiration and shaking
- Experiencing emotional or psychological symptoms without alcohol, which include anxiety or aggression
- Endangering self or others while intoxicated
Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Treatment for alcohol abuse begins when an individual accepts that there is a problem and makes the decision to stop drinking. Inpatient treatment entails three phases.
- Detoxification – Occurs immediately after stopping alcohol use. During this phase, individuals undergo continual medical monitoring in the event that severe or life-threatening symptoms begin. Severe withdrawal symptoms may involve delirium tremens, commonly called the DTs, hallucinations or seizures.
- Rehabilitation – When individuals begin recovering physically from detoxification, counseling and therapy begins. Depending on the individual, treatment often involves singular or group therapy sessions and conscious decision making. Therapists assist addicts in discovering the reasons for the behavior along with strategies to deal with or overcome cravings. Individuals also receive treatment for emotional problems.
- Maintenance – Staying sober requires determination. Establishing support networks increases the likelihood of success. Statistics suggest that between 50% and 60% of addicts remain alcohol free at the end of the first year following inpatient treatment. The majority of these people stay sober for the rest of their lives.