The stereotypes surrounding alcohol abuse may lead to misinformation about its risk and effects. As explained by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), some of the most startling alcohol statistics include the following:
- Alcohol abuse costs $249 billion each year.
- 88,000 people die from alcohol abuse in the U.S. annually.
- Up to 6.2 percent of adults live with an alcohol use disorder (AUD).
- Drinking alcohol in excess increases risk for engaging in risky behaviors, like unprotected sexual activity, criminal activity, and risk for becoming the victim of a crime.
Alcoholism is More Than a Choice, Resulting from the Brain’s Chemical Dependence on Alcohol
When a person reaches the point of compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over consumption, and negative emotional reactions to not drinking, it constitutes an AUD, otherwise known as alcoholism. Further, withdrawal symptoms may become evident.
Different Levels of AUD Exist
Alcoholism may be classified as mild, intermediate, or severe, depending on how it impacts a person’s life. As a person continues to drink, a tolerance develops, and more alcohol is needed to achieve the same effect.
People May Overlook Signs of AUD
Part of the problem and stigma of alcoholism derives from the volume of cases that go untreated, 93.3 percent of U.S. adults living with an AUD.
Learn to recognize the signs of an AUD, which include:
- Drinking more than expected.
- Tried to stop drinking or cut back.
- Spent excess time drinking or sick from drinking.
- Experienced cravings.
- Drinking interfered with work or familial responsibilities.
- Continued to drink while knowing it was causing problems with family or friends
- Continued to drink when it caused health problems, like high blood pressure.
- Avoided once-enjoyed activities in favor of drinking.
- Increased your chances of getting hurt due to alcohol use, like driving while under the influence.
- Developed an alcohol tolerance.
- Experienced withdrawal symptoms when not drinking.
Severe Alcohol Withdrawal Requires Medical Supervision
Depending on severity of dependency, alcohol withdrawal can result in extreme changes in body temperature, severe nausea, hallucinations, high blood pressure, and even a higher risk of respiratory or circulatory failure. Thus, someone seeking help with alcohol withdrawal for severe AUD should seek medical attention.
Get Involved with Alcohol Awareness Now
Developing an AUD can come as a surprise. People may engage in heavy or binge drinking, and dependency develops. Take time to reconsider your own drinking habits or those of your family members and friends. Share the signs of an AUD with others, and if you have exhibited these signs, you may consider exploring potential treatment options to reduce your body’s reliance on alcohol. Also, if you experience any of the severe withdrawal symptoms, especially tremors, hallucinations or a racing pulse, go the emergency center immediately.
Surepoint Emergency Center is open 24 hours a day and is located at I-35E and Loop 288 on the east side of the highway. At Surepoint, you will be seen by a doctor within 5 minutes of your arrival. No waiting in the hospital emergency room, waiting when you are sick.