Historical accounts have tracked the existence of alcoholic beverages back to 2000 B.C.; no doubt, they were around even before recorded history. Since the concept of fermenting and distilling grains and fruits was put into action, alcoholism has been a side effect. Almost anyone who’s experienced alcohol’s temporary relaxing, numbing, stress-reducing effects can probably understand on at least some level why people would be repeatedly drawn to them.
While most people understand alcoholism can be an issue, few people are aware of its full extent. Some of its surrounding details may be a bit surprising.
Seven Unexpected Facts about Alcohol Abuse
More than 15 million adults suffer from alcohol use disorder in the United States according to a report from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Those are only the cases reported at the time. Countless others bear this burden in silence. This makes alcohol the nation’s most common addiction. From there, the details only get more involved.
1) Alcohol Is a Notorious Killer
Alcohol is the third-leading killer in the United States. Each day six people die from alcohol poisoning, and another 29 lost their lives in alcohol-related vehicle crashes. Smoking and poor diet and exercise habits appear to be the only activities more deadly than drinking.
2) Alcohol’s Effects Can Be Permanent
Consumption of alcohol causes noticeable immediate effects, including slurred speech, lack of coordination, memory loss, and confusion. Not many people realize this impact can be permanent. Long-term abuse may generate these same issues in users even when there’s no alcohol left in their systems. Though some people notice a gradual improvement after breaking the habit, some experience these side effects for the rest of their lives.
3) Hidden Health Dangers Are Very Real
Though many alcoholics feel there’s no permanent harm in disappearing into a bottle for a few weeks, months or even years, nothing could be further from the truth. Long-term alcohol abuse can lead to a wide range of hidden health problems, like high blood pressure, increased risk of stroke, heart disease, various forms of cancer, liver disease and kidney failure to name a few based on a writeup from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
4) Alcoholism Isn’t Just an Adult Problem
By some accounts, more than 10 percent of the alcohol consumed in the U.S. goes to the hands of young people ages 12 through 20. More than a million youths in this age category admit to binge drinking five or more days each month. While intermittent binge drinking isn’t quite the same as addiction, it greatly increases the risks involved. Underage alcohol abuse can also lead to a wide range of behavioral problems, mental disorders, and learning disabilities.
5) Alcohol is a Leading Cause of Arrest
An estimated 1.5 million people are arrested each year for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs according to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Further information from the Bureau of Justice Statistics notes 40 percent of those arrested for homicide were under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident. Even more surprising is the fact that 25 percent of victims in these cases also had alcohol in their systems.
6) Withdrawal Symptoms Can Be Severe
Increased heart rate and blood pressure, sweating and anxiety are common among those experiencing withdrawal from alcohol, but in many cases, symptoms can be much more dangerous. Some are even deadly. High fever, hallucinations, and violent outbursts are only a few of the hazards potentially involved. Experts insist anyone considering detoxing alone or at home should learn these symptoms and understand their significance before following through.
7) Men Are More Likely Than Women to Abuse Alcohol
Studies show about 9.8 percent of those suffering from alcohol use disorder are men. Roughly half that number are women. On a side note, among those under the age of 18, young ladies report abusing alcohol more than underage guys.
Alcoholism has an extremely extensive history. It directly affects millions of Americans, and countless more experience its impacts indirectly. Understanding the finer details of the matter may be key in helping people break the habit.
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