Alcohol Abuse is Rampant but is Alcoholism Deadly?

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Alcohol Abuse is Rampant but is Alcoholism Deadly?

Alcohol consumption is rampant in modern society. Alcohol abuse and addiction cause many problems, but is alcoholism deadly?  Rarely does a person go to a group function without alcohol being served. Office parties, informal dinners, concerts and sporting events, even weddings involve beer, wine, or mixed drinks. It is no wonder there is so much alcoholism in our country.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH):

  • In 2014, 87.6 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they drank alcohol at some point in their lifetime; 71.0 percent stated that they drank in the past year; 56.9 percent reported that they drank in the previous month.
  • In 2014, 24.7 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they engaged in binge drinking in the past month; 6.7 percent reported that they engaged in heavy drinking in the past month.
  • Nearly 88,000 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making it the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
  • In 2014, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 9,967 deaths (31 percent of overall driving fatalities).

Is Alcoholism Deadly and What is Alcoholism?

Because individuals’ bodies and minds handle alcohol differently, alcoholism is not an assigned number or even a blood alcohol content reading. Making a clear call as to whether someone has an alcohol problem can be tricky.

‘Disease,’ ‘misuse,’ ‘impaired control over drinking,’ ‘malady,’ ‘mental obsession,’ and many other creative phrases are used to describe alcoholism.

But the ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision) – the handbook for medical billing – defines alcoholism as follows:

A cluster of behavioural, cognitive, and physiological phenomena that develop after repeated alcohol use and that typically include a strong desire to consume, difficulties in controlling its use, persisting in its use despite harmful consequences, a higher priority given to alcohol consumption than to other activities and obligations, increased tolerance, and sometimes a physical withdrawal state.”

Nearly 14 million Americans are considered to abuse alcohol or are alcoholic, based on the above guidelines.

How Harmful are the Effects of Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is a habit of far-reaching consequences. About half of all convicted murderers were drinking at the time of their offense. Also, every 48 minutes, someone is killed by an alcohol-impaired driver (about 30 per day). From that point of view, certainly, alcoholism can be deadly!

But what about how alcohol affects the alcoholic himself? Sure it’s a bad habit, but can it kill a person?

Alcohol use can result in major health issues such as liver disease and high blood pressure. Likewise, there are results of drinking that are easily observed like impaired brain and physical function, that stem from alcohol’s interference with the communication pathways in our brains.

But here are a few less-known facts:

  • Up to 80% of alcoholics also suffer from Thiamine deficiency, which leaves their brain vulnerable to brain disorders such as hepatic encephalopathy and Korsakoff’s psychosis.
  • Even a single incident of drinking can lower your immune system function for up to 24 hours afterward, leaving you susceptible to disease.
  • Alcohol plays a part in 4% of the deaths worldwide each year – that’s 2.5 million.
  • Alcohol consumption results in an estimated 18,200 to 21,300 cancer deaths per year in the United States alone.

Combine all this with increased risk of pancreatitis, cardiomyopathy and a host of other health complications – physical, mental and emotional.  With this in mind, you should wonder is alcoholism deadly?  Of course, the answer becomes appallingly clear.

What Can be Done to Combat Alcoholism?

Recovery can be achieved if the person wants to badly enough.  Denial can prevent a person seeking treatment and soon the alcoholic will not be asking “is alcoholism deadly” because they may have already gotten that answer.

Inpatient facilities are the number one method of breaking alcoholism. They work in several ways:

  • Removing a patient’s access to alcohol
  • Guiding a patient through any withdrawal difficulties, they may have
  • Creating an atmosphere that allows the patient to focus 100% on healing
  • Diagnosing any medical issues that may be exacerbating a patient’s addiction
  • Re-training a patient into new, cleaner habits and better behavioral patterns

Going to an inpatient treatment facility is one of the best things an alcoholic can do for himself and his family. A person who completes a 30 day or longer inpatient treatment regime doubles their chance of long-term success.  Multi-faceted treatment that doubles your chance of success is a smart decision.

If you are asking yourself “Is alcoholism deadly?”, call our toll-free number and one of our representatives can give you the information you need.

One Comment Hide Comments

Alcoholism is indeed deadly! It also costs people a lot of money! Aside from the effects of the alcohol, lets just look at the cost of the alcohol itself. I have known people that had a problem and they would always have alcohol, and usually they would be complaining to me about money problems that they were having. It is interesting to see that they would put this altered importance on drinking and having alcohol. I mean it just doesn’t make sense if you are struggling to pay your bills, then why would you need to have the alcohol. Also aside from just the money spent on paying for alcohol, lets look at what it does to the body. A lot of people say that drinking every now and again is harmless, and even healthy from the red wine drinkers, and while there may be SOME beneficial effects from drinking a glass of wine every once in a while, I highly doubt that those people are consistently on a vitamin regiment that could easily supplant the beneficial value of that glass of wine. As any time that you do drink alcohol, it does indeed produce a burning of thiamine or B1 in the body. This is something that people always used to think was weird when I would tell them to take B1. I was a driver for Uber and Lyft and the vast majority of the public that I drove around were using the service so that they could have a safe ride home and not run the risk of injuring themselves or others in an alcohol related crash. But it never ceased to amaze me the number of people that I would see downtown drinking in high quantities. I had people pass out on me and others were totally blackout drunk and not aware of what they were doing. This shocked me and really pulled the wool back on the real problem that we are being faced with in terms of alcohol abuse. It was just amazing that all of the people would talk about how they were going to need Tylenol or some other headache drug in the morning, and I would tell them that they needed to also take B1. They would look at me like I was off of my rocker. This just goes to show you that they get into the habit of drinking, and do not take the needed other precautions to ensure that their bodies have what they need. Then you get into the amount of money that is spent on medical bills, whether this is from a car wreck, or from someone getting Diabetes or some other condition that they will have to live with the rest of their lives. This is the main thing that I think could be used to curb the drinking culture that we have. Now as I said before, sure there are people that can have a drink and then set it down, but then you get into it, there is a lot of better things that you can spend your time doing. Now for people that have had problems with drinking there is a key role that an inpatient drug rehab program has in store, and that is with getting the person to look that they have a problem and then give them a practical solution to get off of the substance and see that they don’t have to drink to be happy and will also keep them from becoming a statistic of alcohol!

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