Alcohol use comes with a steep price. Here’s why.
Many individuals over the age of 21 drink to unwind, dine, socialize, and celebrate. A glass of red wine at the end of the day, or a few drinks on a Friday night is a common practice for the average American. However, the prevalence of alcohol in our culture encourages excessive consumption, leading to binge drinking and alcoholism.
The Essential Facts:
-Within the United States, it is estimated that one in 12 adults abuse alcohol or are chronic alcoholics.
-Nearly 100,000 adults die each year from alcohol poisoning.
-In 2013, 24.6 percent of individuals 18 years or older admitted to binge drinking once or more in the past month.
-Approximately 8 percent of women and 17 percent of men will be dependent on alcohol at one point in their lives.
-Drunk driving costs the United States $199 billion every year.
Causes of Alcoholism:
Genetic: In some instances, alcoholism can be attributed to a genetic predisposition. If members of a family abused alcohol during their lifetime, there is a higher probability that future offspring will face addiction will as well.
Psychological: Many people abuse alcohol to stop themselves from feeling sad, insecure, anxious, or depressed. Although alcohol causes initial sensations of euphoria, drinking large amounts can increase feelings of sadness. However, people continue to drink, hoping it will suppress the negative emotions, instead causing the vicious cycle to continue.
Environmental/Social: No matter how happy and healthy an individual is, they can still fall victim to addiction. Social settings largely impact our personalities and habits: if we are surrounded by people that party and drink all the time, we are more likely to engage in these behaviors as well. Sometimes a person’s excessive drinking habits begin simply because they’re trying to fit in.
Identifying the Symptoms
-Engaging in dangerous and reckless behavior while under the influence.
-Frequently craving alcohol during inappropriate moments: at work, school, or during time with family. The individual is always trying to plan when they can have their next drink.
-Attempting to limit alcohol intake, but finding yourself unable to do so. Insisting that if you really wanted to stop drinking, you could at any point.
-Developing a tolerance so that you need to drink excessive amounts in order to feel the effects.
-Experiencing withdrawal symptoms if you do not regularly drink. (shaking, nausea, anxiety, trouble sleeping, and sweating)
-Experiencing a lack of interest in recreational hobbies that used to excite you.
-“Blacking out” frequently: You are unable to recall events during the time you were drinking and many of the memories are hazy.
-Lying about your problem to those around you and refusing to get help from professionals, friends, or family.
Seeking help from a loved one can be difficult, especially if they don’t want treatment, or refuse to admit they have a problem. Try sitting down with them and explain how their habits are affecting your relationship and their own health. Refrain from raising your voice or using accusatory statements, because this will just make the person pull away further.
Therapy, joining a support group, and rehab are all successful measures for treating alcoholism. However, treatment needs to go deeper than merely eliminating the observable symptoms. If a person is also suffering from a mental illness, or has any repressed thoughts causing sadness, anger, or anxiety, the alcohol addiction may return. It’s important for a person to face these negative emotions, rather than unknowingly relying on a substance in an effort to cope. Help the person you care about by teaching them about the dangers of alcoholism, as well as shedding light on the deeper issues that may be hiding behind the addiction.