Everywhere you turn you see it. Whether watching a television show or reading the news; scanning social media or driving down the road; walking through the grocery store or sitting in a restaurant, advertisements and access to alcohol are constantly bombarding our senses and tempting us to partake in the substance.
It has become a socially acceptable behavior to imbibe copious amounts of beer, wine or liquor without regard for the impact or effects it has on our minds and bodies. In fact, we are encouraged to celebrate nearly every event with a drink or a toast, ignoring the fact that nearly 90,000 people die annually from alcohol related deaths.
So, how addictive is alcohol? Below are key facts regarding the substance and the destructive impact it has had on our communities.
According to a recent study conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Addiction, 15.1 million Americans aged 18 years or older had an alcohol use disorder.
Even more concerning was the fact that 86% of people aged 18 years or older reported that they drank alcohol at some point in their life, with 27% of those admitting to binge drinking within the past month.
With the percentage of alcohol use and binge drinking on the rise, why hasn’t there been more publicity regarding the spreading epidemic or the negative impact it is having on society?
Reasoning points to the culture of social acceptance regarding alcohol use and the fact that billions of dollars are spent annually to peddle this intoxicating substance.
As the alcohol industry continues to expand, ignoring the problem has become second nature with no signs of change looming on the horizon.
From slowed reaction time to difficulty waking to impaired cognitive ability, alcohol has an obvious impact on the brain and it is not positive. Some of these effects can be seen after just one or two drinks.
Other effects create deficiencies within the brain that last long after sobriety is achieved. For example, heavy drinking, or consistently consuming more than two drinks a day for men and one for women, has been shown to have identifiable negative impacts on cognitive functioning. Blackouts, extensive memory loss, erratic emotional stability and chemical brain deficiencies have all been identified within individuals struggling with an alcohol use disorder.
Recent studies found a number of concerning statistics regarding alcohol consumption and the toll it has on the human body.
Of the nearly 79,000 liver disease deaths among individuals aged 12 and older, 47% involved alcohol. Of all cirrhosis deaths in as recent as 2013, 48% were shown to be directly related to excessive alcohol consumption.
Among heavy alcohol consumers, which includes imbibing 15 or more drinks a week for men and eight or more drinks a week for women, it was shown that this type of addictive behavior greatly increases the likelihood of multiple cancers including mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, colon and breast.
Of these identified and corroborated negative effects linked to alcohol consumption and addiction, it is difficult to imagine why someone would willingly consume the substance to excess.
For many, it is a means of coping with excessive emotionality. For others, it serves as a method to escape the stressors and challenges of life. Whichever maladaptive manner of processing personal stress and emotion defines your use, the fact of the matter is that alcohol is an extremely addictive substance and the impact of that addiction is long-lasting and far-ranging.
Trying to overcome an addiction on your own can prove to be an act of futility. For alcohol addicts who attempt to get clean outside of a treatment program, they report a relapse within the first three years of their sobriety efforts.
While your inner demon may have incited your continued alcohol use or driven you to the brink of destruction, trusting in a higher power is the first step toward achieving long-lasting peace and a sobering perspective.
At Covenant Hills, we help you focus on the strength residing within yourself and the promise God has made to all those who call upon Him for help.
Through our faith-based treatment program, their whole person health will be treated – an approach that focuses on restoring the mind, body and soul. Additionally, with our Recovery Assurance Guarantee, we promise that our clients will never experience relapse upon successful completion of treatment. If your loved one does relapse within one year of completing treatment, they can return for a week of stabilization and evaluation at no cost.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Alcohol and Public Health: Alcohol-Related Disease Impact (ARDI). Accessed September 2, 2018. https://nccd.cdc.gov/DPH_ARDI/Default/Report.aspx.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA). Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables. Accessed September 2, 2018. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015.htm#tab5-6a.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse. Alcohol’s Damaging Effects on the Brain. Accessed September 2, 2018. https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa63/aa63.htm.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse. Alcohol Facts and Statistics. September 2, 2018. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-facts-and-statistics.
American Cancer Society. Alcohol Use and Cancer. September 2, 2018. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/diet-physical-activity/alcohol-use-and-cancer.html.
National Center for Biotechnology Information. Rates and predictors of relapse after natural and treated remission from alcohol use disorders. September 2, 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1976118/.