Alcohol addiction is a cruel, life-threatening affliction that holds about twenty million Americans in its clutches. Because of alcohol addiction, over eighty-thousand Americans die every year. Also, the nation spends over two-hundred billion dollars trying to patch up the mess, and countless lives and families are adversely affected.
Alcohol addiction is a tough one to deal with because it creeps up on people when they least expect it. Alcohol abuse and addiction have a negative impact on over a hundred million people because those who are connected to an alcohol addict also have their lives sorely affected by it. Alcohol addiction is difficult to overcome, partially because alcohol is so easy to obtain, it is legal, and in a lot of ways, it is forced upon us. Unlike hard street drugs which are discouraged by the general populace, drinking is encouraged and is thought to be a necessary part of a regular, American life. All of this and more makes for a tricky affliction and situation in this country where alcohol addiction becomes a nearly impossible disease to get rid of fully.
When someone becomes addicted to alcohol, the substance becomes the most important thing in their life. It becomes the driving factor behind everything they do, behind everything that they are, and behind everything that they want to be and pursue. Alcohol becomes the main thing, and it tends to stay the main thing. Because of how immensely physically and mentally addictive it is, and because of how widely accepted it is in society, this substance creates a personal crisis for all those who are affected.
The Facts and Statistics
Alcohol abuse and addiction are one of the most underreported and underrated addiction issues in the United States. Why? Well, for one thing, alcohol is legal, and it makes a lot of people a lot of money. In fact, the alcohol industry makes hundreds of millions of dollars every year. It is a huge industry. That’s why facts like this one from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, (NIAAA) are so often swept under the rug:
“Seventy-five percent of Americans over the age of twelve have consumed an alcoholic beverage in the last month. Forty percent have consumed one in the last week. Alcohol consumption is widely prevalent. However, what the alcohol companies do not want you to know is that, though alcohol addicts only make up about ten to fifteen percent of the population of those who do drink alcohol, they are responsible more than fifty percent of the alcohol consumption and sales in the nation annually. This shows that alcohol companies make big money off of alcohol addicts, and they absolutely know it too.”
This article is not meant to defame or incriminate alcohol companies. Rather, the intention behind this article is merely to raise awareness on these issues and to try to shed some light on the very real problems of the nation that we struggle with today. The following agencies have worked together to provide statistical data on alcohol problems:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)
- The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- The Trust for American Health (TAH)
Some of their findings are as follows:
- The recorded rates of alcoholism are increasing (18.1 million people in 2002 to 23.7 million in 2011), so the addiction is still a cause for concern in the nation. Binge drinking is more common in men than it is for women, with no less than 9.1% of men 12 and older have reported heavy drinking 5 or more days in a month, while 2.6% of women reported this conversely. In fact, in general, men are more likely to come into some trouble as a result of drug and alcohol abuse and addiction.
- Well over 95% of those who need treatment for alcoholism do not feel they need treatment. This is why so many people end up requiring intervention for their addiction crisis. The vast majority of those addicted to alcohol could be convinced to go to treatment, but either intervention is never attempted, they refuse intervention, or intervention fails.
- More people receive treatment for alcohol than any other substance, and in fact, more people receive treatment than almost all other substances combined. In fact, drug addiction is a huge issue in the nation, but alcohol addiction is an even worse problem that creates a terrible effect on those who struggle with these issues.
- Overdoses caused by painkillers are more common than heroin and cocaine overdoses combined. In fact, overdoses from opiate painkillers are more common than overdoses on all other substances except for alcohol overdoses. Over half of the people abusing prescription drugs got them from a friend or relative. Over 17% were prescribed the medication too.
Alcohol Addiction Rehabilitation
Alcohol abuse and addiction is a terrible thing. However, it is not the end of the line for anyone if they choose for it not to be. Alcohol abuse and addiction can and does take lives and ruin lives, but it is treatable. Anyone and everyone who is addicted to alcohol can beat the habit with the help of a rehab program.
The best method of addressing an alcohol addiction is with the help of an inpatient rehab center. This type of facility provides a controlled environment, comforting surroundings, and a skilled, compassionate staff.
Because of dangerous withdrawal symptoms such as delirium tremens, alcohol detox can be dangerous and risky. Inpatient rehab negates this danger by using professional, safe, comfortable, stress-free detox.
After detox, any alcohol addict will feel total freedom from chemical dependence. Once this is completed, the person can begin working on the mental and psychological sides of addiction. With the right counseling, therapy, life skills, electives, physical therapy, group sessions, coping strategies, relapse prevention, and all of the other great things that are offered at a rehab center, anyone who is addicted to alcohol can gain the skills and confidence to maintain sobriety.