Alcohol Use Disorders and American Society
Alcohol use disorders, like addiction and binge drinking, are part of everyday life for many Americans. Unfortunately, millions of Americans suffer every day from alcohol.
Before we take a look at what we can do to solve the problem, it’s essential to brush up on how much alcohol use disorders impact daily life for millions.
What’s going on in your brain when you drink?
The Latest Numbers on Alcohol Abuse
What does drinking look like for millions of Americans? Recent data paints a bleak picture:
- Over 14 million Americans suffer from alcohol use disorders, whether it’s daily drinking or binge drinking.
- Hundreds of thousands of kids under the age of 18 suffer from alcohol use disorders, and only five percent of them receive treatment.
- Every year, 88,000 Americans die as a result of alcoholism or binge-drinking.
- Thirty-one percent of car-accident deaths are the result of drunk driving.
- Every year, alcohol abuse costs Americans billions of dollars in treatment, medical care, and lost wages.
It’s clear to see from the above statistics that something significant is going on. Alcohol has always been America’s drug of choice, but maybe it’s time to take a look at what we can do to change that fact.
Different Forms of Alcohol Use Disorders
Maybe you have a drink after work to unwind. Or, perhaps you’re a weekend warrior who enjoys getting a buzz on at the bar. Is that a problem? Well, it depends. Some people think “alcoholic” means someone who lives on the streets begging for change. However, alcohol use disorders come in many forms.
Daily drinking, drinking in the morning, and experiencing withdrawal can all mean that you have a dependence on alcohol. However, binge drinking can also be a form of alcohol use disorder. There are many other symptoms of alcohol issues that you might not be familiar with that have both physical and psychological consequences.
Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Use Issues
- Trying to cut back on alcohol and not being able to.
- Increased tolerance- if you were happy with a few drinks last month, but find yourself having five or six this month, you may be experiencing this.
- Feeling the need to hide how much you are drinking.
- Drinking more than four or five drinks in a row.
- Taking more significant risks when drinking, like driving or having unprotected sex.
- Having hangovers regularly.
- Being unable to focus on your work or relationships because you are focused on drinking.
- Symptoms of withdrawal, such as like shakiness, poor sleep, irritability, or cravings
What Can I Do About My Drinking?
Some people find that they can cut back once they notice they have an issue with drinking. For others, cutting back on their drinking is not as easy. Fortunately, there are many ways to address a drinking problem. For some, dealing with alcohol abuse and addiction means getting involved in a twelve-step group, like Alcoholics Anonymous. Many people also benefit from therapy to address drinking issues. Solving underlying problems, like work stress, an anxiety disorder, or even an unhealthy relationship, can also help.
Although these methods work for many, some people find themselves unable to stop drinking or cut back. For this group, treatment may be the answer. If you have tried all of the above and still find yourself drinking too much and unable to stop, you may need professional help. If you’re ready to do that today, give us a call. We would love to help you find the alcohol treatment program that can work for you!