It is no secret that alcohol consumption is part of the culture of the United States, and often the line between drinking casually and excessive alcohol consumption gets lost. ‘Alcoholism should not be taken lightly, as it can have severe negative impacts on your physical and mental health,’ confirm addiction experts from United Recovery CA, an addiction service in California.
Alcohol abuse takes a huge toll not only on the economic position of the US but also on families and underage children. In this article, we will discuss all these issues and suggest treatment offers for those suffering from alcoholism in the US. It is possible to recover from alcoholism.
Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) in the United States
Dependence on alcohol due to long-term alcohol use could lead to illnesses such as Alcohol Use Disorder. This is a medical condition defined by the inability to control or stop excessive alcohol consumption despite its consequences on the person’s health, career, or relationships. This disorder is caused by changes in the person’s brain as a result of alcohol abuse. Some factors that play a role in the severity of the alcohol use disorder are genetics, mental health issues, traumatic incidents, and drinking at a young age, among other things.
Some of the symptoms of alcohol use disorder are drinking more alcohol or spending more time drinking than you had initially intended. In the United States, 6% of the adult population have an alcohol use disorder. However, research shows that AUD can be treated and alcoholics have hope of recovery if they take certain steps.
Alcohol-Related Emergencies and Deaths in the United States
Since almost 6% of the adult population has an alcohol use disorder, along with approximately 623,000 cases from underage drinkers as well, there are many reported incidents of alcohol-related emergencies and deaths in the United States. There have been approximately 210,000 alcohol-related emergency visits to the hospital each year. Out of these people, the death rate is alarmingly high as well.
Every year, approximately 88,000 people lose their lives to their fightwith alcohol abuse. It is one of the leading preventable causes of death in the United States. It is even more alarming thus, that most of those people suffering from alcohol use disorders in the US do not seek treatment. Less than 7% of people suffering from an AUD seek help.
Health issues such as Alcohol-Related Liver Disease are increasingly common and are life-threatening, which is why those suffering from AUDs must seek treatment.
Economic Burden in the United States
Combining all the statistics, 17 million Americans suffer from some form of alcohol use disorder. It has a huge impact on the financial and economic costs of the US. About $250 billion are spent annually on healthcare for alcohol-related issues. The most common alcohol-related health issue is liver damage, which is irreversible and manifests as either inflammation, accumulation or fat around the liver. Cirrhosis is also a severe condition which often results from excessive drinking, usually after prolonged exposure.
Consequences for Families in the United States
Drinking rates rose substantially, and the bulk of the effects of this impacted the families of alcoholics. Thus, alcoholism is a disease that has effects on the entire family. It leads to damaged family relationships, as alcohol use is a sensitive issue and can severely affect emotional bonds with family members. This is because not only do alcoholics hide their issues, but it also increases negative interactions with othes. This causes distrust among families and can lead to strained relationships. This is even heightened by the draining of finances by spending too much on alcohol.
This is especially the case with families with children. The children’s needs are often neglected leading to childhood trauma including anxiety, depression, difficulty forming relationships as well as academic difficulties.
Many studies have proven that alcohol abuse may also increase the risk of domestic violence in households, as people who drink are more likely to act outside of their own usual behaviours, including being easier to anger or irritate, or quicker to jump to conclusions which may later cause arguments.
Underage Drinking in the United States
In the United States, 21 is the legal age for drinking. Despite this, many underage children have had experiences with alcohol before they turned 21. About 24.6% of 15-16-year-olds have had at least one drink. This means that underage children in the US can access alcohol readily, which is a cause of concern for many reasons.
This not only subjects them to potential health risks but also causes many deaths. It is reported that alcohol is a huge factor in deaths of under 21s in the United States in situations like vehicle accidents, suicides, and overdose. It also causes injuries, and 188,000 children under the age of 21 have been to the emergency room because of injuries that happened because of alcohol. It also puts them at risk of being on the wrong side of the law because it is illegal for them to consume it.
Among other health issues, alcohol at such a young age interferes with the development of the brain, so they may have academic issues in the future because of their alcohol consumption.
Options for Treatment for Alcoholism in the US
There are many ways in which you can get alcoholism treatment. One of the ways is to use naltrexone, a nonaddictive medication that helps control symptoms and prevents relapse. Another way is by going to behavioral therapy, where the alcoholics will talk to understand the faulty thought processes that result in their bad habits. Mutual support groups are also a beneficial way to help treat those people with AUD, as they feel a sense of support and community by bonding and talking about their experiences with other people who have the same problems.
While alcohol abuse is a big problem in the US, and many people suffer from alcohol use disorders causing many alcohol-related emergencies which takes a huge toll on the economic position of the US, and also affects families, causing strained relationships and increasing the chances of domestic violence, help and treatment have proven to create long-lasting sobriety in those who really wish to achieve it.
This said, if you are worried about your or a loved one’s alcohol consumption – call your GP or the local MD and ask about rehab options in your area. Outpatient services are a good start, although we implore you to also visit therapy sessions for continued recovery.