Alcohol is one of the most commonly ingested substances in the world. It is easily available, cheap, and generally acceptable. However, it is also highly dangerous and addictive. It is the most widely-abused substance in the United States. Unlike other illicit substances, alcohol is legal, making it harder to know when casual use crosses the line into abuse.
Statistics shows that:
- 39.7% of 12 to 20-year-olds reported that they have had at least 1 drink in their lives.
- About 7.0 million people ages 12 to 20 (18.5% of this age group) reported drinking alcohol in the past month – 2019 NSDUH
- 12.1% of children 17 years and under live with at least one parent with alcohol use disorder.
- Approximately 825,000 people ages 12 to 20 reported heavy alcohol use in the past month – 2019 NSDUH.
- 47.1% of adults ages 18 to 22 drank alcohol in the past month.
- 9.5% of pregnant women ages 15 to 44 in the United States used alcohol in the past month.
- Research has shown that people who misuse alcohol have a greater risk of liver disease, heart disease, depression, stroke, and stomach bleeding, as well as cancers of the oral cavity, esophagus, larynx, pharynx, liver, colon, and rectum.
- On average, 30 Americans die every day in an alcohol-related car accident, and 6 Americans die every day from alcohol poisoning.
- About 88,000 people die as a result of alcohol every year in the United States.
- About 6% of American adults (about 15 million people) have an alcohol use disorder, but only about 7% of Americans who are addicted to alcohol ever receive treatment.
- Men are 3 times as likely as women to die as a consequence of alcohol abuse
Reasons people drink
People may turn to alcohol for one reason and gradually develop a dependency on drinking. Some of the reasons people turn to alcohol are:-
- to relieve stress,
- for social norm,
- for fun,
- to cope with loss,
- to overcome anxiety,
- for peer pressure,
- as an act of rebellion,
- as a shame, and
- for trauma.
Effects of Alcohol Addiction
Several short-term effects of alcohol addiction may produce:
- slurred speech
- slowed reaction time
- difficulty breathing
- passing out
- alcohol poisoning
Several Long-term effects of alcohol addiction may produce:
- liver disease
- cardiomyopathy, or damage to the heart muscle
- other cardiovascular problems
- peripheral neuropathy
- stomach ulcers
- immune system dysfunction
- brain and nerve damage
- vitamin deficiencies
- mental health problems such as anxiety and depression
Addiction to any substance is a serious problem. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, contact us.