Alcohol addiction, or alcoholism, affects a large number of people today. Alcohol abuse is often overlooked, as adults aged 21 and older can legally purchase alcohol. However, alcoholism is as dangerous as any other form of drug abuse, and recovery requires the same level of care and treatment.
For many Americans, alcohol is a common way to unwind at the end of the day. Social drinking is a common practice among adults. For years, people believe that drinking a glass of wine with dinner was actually beneficial to a person’s health. Researchers have only recently debunked this claim. Alcohol isn’t responsible to have any major benefits to a person’s heart or otherwise, despite the myths to the contrary.
Underage alcohol abuse is common among teens and college students. From binge drinking at high school parties to hazing rituals at college fraternities, alcohol consumption is often treated as a rite of passage. Alcohol abuse continues to be problematic even at dry college campuses where alcohol is prohibition exists.
Alcohol abuse is relatively common; an estimated 18 million Americans are considered to be alcoholics. Many Americans are functioning alcoholics, meaning that they can still maintain gainful employment and an appearance of outward stability despite the disease. Tolerance is typically high among alcoholics, requiring a higher and higher amount of alcohol to be consumed to stave off the symptoms of withdrawal. Alcoholism is believed to be hereditary; physicians have linked a genetic predisposition to alcoholism to the disease. While this does not guarantee a person will develop alcoholism, it does indicate a higher probability. Alcoholism is also common among individuals with high levels of anxiety and stress. It affects people of all socioeconomic and educational backgrounds, ages, and gender.
Short-term alcohol abuse results in DUI arrests, car accidents, and alcohol poisoning.
Long-term alcoholism can cause liver and organ failure, which may result in death. Alcohol abuse during pregnancy is particularly harmful to the fetus and can result in major complications. It is amongst the number one cause of preventable birth defects among children. Alcoholism also results in the likelihood of engagement in other high-risk behaviours, such as unprotected sex. Alcohol is particularly dangerous when ingested in conjunction with other drugs, such as opiates or benzodiazepines. Prolonged alcohol abuse is also linked to higher rates of suicide and depression among the population.
Alcoholism is treatable via inpatient and outpatient services. Many recovering alcoholics join support groups such as AA and other 12-step programs. Certain medications are often prescribed to reduce the relapse rate among recovering alcoholics. It curbs the desire to drink, helping with the physical and mental symptoms of withdrawal. These are often detrimental to recovery.
These services offer various facilities throughout the country. Some of which are more expensive than others. Many high-end, private clinics are extremely cost prohibitive. But there are also programs available to the public at more affordable prices so that help is there for everyone seeking it. Support groups are typically available at no cost. They exist in a variety of group settings.