There is an increase in alcohol abuse in the United States today, especially among women and teen drinkers. Previously, it was men who disproportionately made up the ranks of alcohol abusers, but women are closing that gap, especially when it comes to binge drinking. Increased stressors in life and the troubled economy are important factors leading to the rise of alcohol abuse in the United States.
Alcohol Abuse in the United States
Alcohol is considered to be the number one drug problem in the United States, with approximately 75 percent of all adults drinking alcoholic beverages, at least on occasion. Fifty percent of the US population drinks alcoholic beverages on a regular basis. About 30 percent of all adults are problem drinkers, meaning they either abuse alcohol or are alcoholics; hence, the rise of alcohol abuse.
Why the Rise of Alcohol Abuse?
There is no known specific cause for the rise of alcohol abuse. However, factors such as stress and the faltering economy appear to play important roles. Alcohol can temporarily reduce stress and promote feelings of happiness and relaxation. Also, those who are unemployed are under a lot of stress and have more time to engage in drinking behaviors than when they were working. Continued drinking can lead to alcohol abuse. Seventy-three percent of teenagers claim that their decision to drink alcohol depends on whether or not their parents drink.
Alcohol Abuse and Dependence
Alcohol abuse occurs when an individual continues to drink alcoholic beverages even when he or she experiences negative consequences due to drinking. Another form of alcohol abuse is binge drinking. When a person abuses alcohol, it negatively affects health, relationships, and social obligations. Physical dependence may occur, with the result of increased tolerance and the experiencing of withdrawal symptoms when the person stops using alcohol.
Alcohol and Health
Drinking alcoholic beverages can have adverse effects on health. Alcoholics are ten times more likely to develop blood disorders, infections, and cancer than those who are not abusing alcohol. Also, about 13 percent of sick employees miss work due to alcohol-related issues. More than 25 percent of hospital admissions are due to drinking alcohol, while 95 percent of alcoholics die from the diseases or related health conditions. If left untreated, alcohol abuse can lead to many health issues including:
- Liver disease
- Many types of cancer
- Trouble with immune system functioning
- Nervous system issues
- Heart disease
- Brain damage
Drunk drivers cost the United States approximately $50 billion dollars each year. Because of drunk driving, injuries occur every minute and death occurs about every 30 minutes. Drunk drivers cause nearly half of all traffic fatalities. More than a third of all pedestrians who die on the roads today are drunk.
Recovery from Alcohol Abuse
If drinking is causing problems, it is important to get help to overcome alcohol abuse problems. If the drinking problem is severe, you may require hospitalization to get through withdrawal, as this process can be dangerous. It is important for those who need help to enter an inpatient alcohol rehab program. The specialists will design a treatment program to meet each person’s individual needs and preferences. Most inpatient alcohol rehab centers offer detoxification at the facility which is a significant benefit for patients.
Don’t contribute to the rise of alcohol abuse in the United States. If you are experiencing problems with drinking or abusing this substance or any other, please seek help today.