Alcoholism is a serious issue in today’s society especially with people over the age of eighteen. The annual death rate in 2019, from teens over the age of eighteen was 1.29 percent while the annual death rate in the general population is 0.66 percent. Alcoholism is becoming a very well-known thing especially with the repercussions it causes. The only problem is, if teens and adults know about the cation of it, why is it becoming a problem? The biggest question I want to know is, how can we prevent alcoholism?
What is alcoholism? The definition is “alcoholism is an addiction to the consumption of alcoholic liquor or the mental illness and compulsive behavior resulting from alcohol dependence Alcohol is the most used drug in the United States. Alcoholism refers specifically to alcohol dependence, this is when people who depend on alcohol create a tolerance, have cravings and go through withdrawals. Other individuals who have problems in their life due to alcohol consumption fall under the category of alcohol abuse. It alone affects more than twenty-seven million individuals and the human population is now around 7.7 billion. Alcoholism can happen to anyone at anytime, it is more common than people think. It mostly happens when a person has an addictive gene and they trigger that addiction. If someone has alcoholic parents, grandparents or a family member that is addicted, they are four times more at risk of developing alcoholism than others without an addictive gene. However, many who have alcoholic parents do not become alcoholics because they abstain from it or do not have the triggering environmental factors to do so.
By the National Institute of Health in 2012, 7.2 adults abused alcohol and only 5 percent of those people got help. Alcoholism usually affects men rather than women. In 2019, the rate of men who are now addicted to alcohol is 9.9 percent. There is one theory that makes sense to why the rate of men are going up when it comes to alcohol abuse or alcoholism and that is because men find drinking to be more pleasurable due to higher dopamine that is released in their brain once they drink an alcoholic beverage. This isn’t a scientific fact but it seems that this is the only reason that makes sense in scientists and doctors; Four percent of this data are guys who are sixteen and older. A full third of Americans who are twenty-one and over completely abstain from alcohol use however, 10 percent of individuals that drink heavily consume seventy-four servings per week or over ten drinks a day on average. The Center for Disease Control put the number for heavy drinkers who also depend on alcohol equals to ten percent. “Alcohol is a fourth-leading preventable cause of death in the U.S., with about 88,000 people dying of alcohol-related causes yearly”. https://luxury.rehabs.com/alcohol-rehab/statistics/
Alcohol is also very expensive, it’s like a smoker who smokes two packs of cigarettes every day. An alcoholic goes through $1,560 every three months and that’s just for alcohol alone. This is why most alcoholics become financially unstable and cant even afford to live in their own home. This number can be differed depending on the drinker and depending on their dependency; it starts as alcohol abuse, it will progress over time and then it will become alcohol dependency. “Alcohol abuse cost the US healthcare system more than twenty-five billion annually. Overall costs which include crime, lost work, and healthcare ring out about two hundred twenty-four billion. The majority of this cost is about seventy-two percent is caused but a decrease in the workplace productivity”. https://luxury.rehabs.com/alcohol-rehab/statistics/ If a person has depression or any mental illness, alcohol will never mix well with them. While a lot of people think they “feel better” when they drink, it is scientifically proven that in the long run they will start to feel and get worse.
What people need to know is that alcoholism doesn’t just happen overnight, people don’t have one drink and automatically get addicted. It takes time for the defense of alcohol to fully control a person and take over life with several other health problems. That doesn’t mean drinking the first time won’t kill you, it depends on how much you consume but if a person consumes a lot on his or her first time they can get alcohol poisoning, which can hurt your internal organs or be a cause of death. People who suffer from this addiction and get help will go through withdrawal which can be very troublesome for some people who depended on alcohol for most of their lives. Withdrawal symptoms can kill a person, even though this is uncommon, it does happen. If a person is a long-term chronic drinker or have had a serious issue with alcohol or any drug and they are trying to quit, they will then come face to face with severe mental and physical symptoms such as high fever or tremors. This is because their body is detoxing(letting out) all the toxic chemicals that is destroying their digestive, central nervous, cardiovascular and endocrine system. When addicts go through these withdrawals, they can’t handle the pain and the only way they think these serve pains stop is by going back on the drug. That’s why more than twenty-eight percent of addicts that go into recovery relapse and nine percent of them relapse, then ODE and die.
There are four symptoms of alcoholism. The symptoms are cravings, loss of control, physical dependence and tolerance. These symptoms are what doctors use when someone is being diagnosed with alcoholism or alcohol abuse. Craving is usually the first sign to show up for alcoholism or alcohol abuse. People who crave alcohol have a strong need to drink or compensate. The most common way to trigger the craving is from stress or emotional heavals. Loss of control is the next stage, this is where one is the inability to limit one’s drinking or any given occasion. This is where a person who usually cannot control themselves comes into play. When a person goes out and has an alcoholic beverage, they cannot stop themselves and feel like they need to have more. When the person loses their control they blackout. Blacking out is where a person loses control on what they do and cannot remember what they did the night before. Then, there is physical dependence which goes in with the withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, sweating, shakiness and anxiety. This occurs when alcohol use is stopped after a period of heavy drinking. The last one is tolerance which people get when they have been drinking for a long time. People start to drink in greater amounts of alcohol in order to get high because they want to drink every problem away. https://www.onhealth.com/content/1/alcoholism_facts
Accepting that one has a problem with alcohol may not be the easiest but it is the first way to help and help them get cleaned up. There are myths that alcoholism is a sign of weakness which people today still believe and that’s why they don’t want to admit they have a problem. But alcoholism is a disease, it is not a sign of weakness. Saying alcoholism is a weakness is like saying asthma is also a weakness, you cannot control a disease or the person who has it. Taking steps to identify a possible drinking problem makes a person as brave as the next. “More than 87 percent of people over the age of 18 or older are reported drinking in their early life time”, “More than twenty-four percent of people reported to binge and heavy drinking within the past year”.https://luxury.rehabs.com/alcohol-rehab/statistics/ In America alone, 16.3 million young adults were reported to be having an alcohol use disorder. About 1.5 million adults are struggling with it, less than one out of every ten adults or young adults understand the struggle. “An estimated 696 thousand students are sexually assaulted by another who has been drinking each year. About 25 percent of students who drink, experience academic consequences such as missing class, doing poorly on tests and falling behind overall. About 20 percent of college students meet the criteria for an AUD this year alone”.https://luxury.rehabs.com/alcohol-rehab/statistics/
The estimate of people receiving treatment at a specialized AUD facility is over one point five million. Getting treatment depends on the severity of your alcoholism and how long you have been living with it.
“Although rates of alcohol abuse reportedly have declined from 18.1 million in 2002 to 17.3 million in 2013, it appears there’s still a large treatment gap. An estimated 22 million people need treatment for alcohol and other drug use, but less than 1% of those people receive any form of substance abuse treatment.” “According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 23 percent of admissions to public rehab programs are due to alcohol abuse or addiction. The same study found that more than 18% of people who enter treatment do so as a result of alcohol abuse.”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2866588/ There are many ways to try and prevent alcoholism. To make people understand what alcoholism is and what alcohol abuse is, people put ads on the T.V for people to see for those who do need help can see which rehab they would want to join. Teachers somewhat teach you in school what alcohol can cause or what it affects, groups also have hot lines for anyone who wants to call and prevent them from having a relapse or for people who want to be more informed with alcoholism or abuse. Making people more knowledgeable about alcoholism or alcohol abuse can help and go a long way.
Other ways to prevent alcoholism and alcohol abuse is to not have alcohol in the house. Having alcohol at home makes it easier to drink without accountability especially if a person lives alone or has a tendency to drink privately. By having a nonalcoholic home, it will lower the chances of alcohol abuse, emotionally drinking or drinking out of boredom. When in public, try and limit yourself with people you can trust and would want to be around. Knowing your limits is important, according to the “National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism”, knowing your limit will help you not get addicted or dependent on alcohol. Another way is to not be friends with people who don’t drink heavily. This might be harder than it sounds but it can help. The saying “you are who your friends are” is true, if a person wants to decrease the chances of having alcohol abuse, they shouldn’t surround themselves with people who drink or go over the top with drinking; “If you socialize with people who don’t drink or don’t drink often, you may be less likely to consume alcohol yourself or have less than usual.” If a person is currently abusing or is addicted to alcohol, join groups like (AA) or support groups can help reduce the chances of having alcohol abuse or becoming an alcoholic. These groups are to help people who are already going through these struggles in life and help them get through their inner demons. They also have treatment centers like the IAFF( Center of Excellence Offers of Treatment) which help addicts regain control of their life and help beat their addiction. https://www.iaffrecoverycenter.com/blog/5-ways-prevent-alcohol-abuse/ (No. 2,3,4)
Some people have argued that lowering the age limit will decrease alcoholism and alcohol abuse. In this argument, people have brought up Europe and different countries whose legal age of drinking is eighteen and they have a lower rate of alcoholism in their countries. America is the biggest country that is having an alcohol problem and the most affected by this disease are young adults aging from seventeen to twenty-four. But this has seen to be false because when the laws were changed in 1980 in America, the drinking age was changed to twenty one and data shows that young adults were becoming less of alcoholics. People then wanted to know if people started to become alcoholics from college and one study has shown it varies on the college. “College students are heavy drinkers as a group, but drinking behaviors varies widely by the college. College environments that afford easy access to low cost alcohol have few policies restricting accessibility to alcohol and have lax enforcement of existing policies that create conditions for heavy drinking among college students. The safe and drug free schools and communities act requires college administrators to enforce the minimum legal drinking age of twenty one years, a restriction that targets approximately half of the traditional college student population.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2866588/
Drinking, especially binge drinking is a huge problem with college students; it still remains a huge concern for the school campuses and parents alike. Programs that nearly provide information about alcohol and alcohol-related crime have not been effective among college students. Even though most
colleges have programs that are often favored by the institutions because they are inexpensive and easy to implement. One way that has been effective is providing brief motivational interventions, cognitive-behavioral interventions and challenging students expectations about alcohol. This has made students, especially college students more interested and more knowledgeable about the consequences about alcohol and how binge drinking can ruin you life. “This has not just made students knowledgeable about the problems with alcohol and what binge drinking can do to you, it also opened their eyes making themselves question if they have a problem and see how dependant they are from alcohol.” https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa83/aa83.htm
“However, surveys of college administrators indicate that enforcement of alcohol policies at most colleges is limited and colleges tend to focus their prevention efforts on education programs.” Another study of adults in American found that those who were legal to purchase alcohol before the age of twenty one are more likely to meet the criteria for alcohol abuse and other drug use than others. Other recent research examines the relative contribution of these policies and found out that in addition to the effect the national minimum legal drinking age of twenty one, each restriction is independently associated with lower levels of drinking and alcohol involved deaths with young adults younger than twenty one. Drinking among young adults and college students varies by states alcohol control and their policies. States that have stricter alcohol policies have lower levels of drinking and problems with underage drinking. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2866588/ (College students and the minimum legal drinking age).
They’re many different ways on keeping safe and not abusing alcohol. You cannot catch alcoholism like a common cold but you can abuse it when your drinking it more regularly and over doing it. There is a difference between alcoholism and alcohol abuse which people get mixed up, but alcohol abuse is just the first stage, when that you keep abusing alcohol that will turn into addiction and that is where you get alcoholism. In 2019, since it is more common for college kids to come out of college with some type of substance abuse, the FDA and the government make it easier for people to get help or know that there is help around. Alcoholism and alcohol abuse is still around and still happening but people are always going to do things that are bad for them thinking there will be no repercussions. Alcoholism is a serious disease and if not taken care of like any disease, it can and will kill a person. Most people know someone who is affected by this disease and with people knowing more about it. they can prevent addiction from happening. With alcoholism being more common and knowledgeable, knowing the facts and how to prevent it can save young adults and elderly. Alcoholism and alcohol abuse is a serious thing, getting help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of bravery.