Most adults in the United States drink alcohol at some time during their life. According to statistics from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), over 87 percent of people 18 or older drink alcohol. Many people also engage in binge drinking. Approximately 24 percent of people 18 or older have participated in binge drinking during the past month. On average 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes each year. Driving fatalities from being alcohol impaired account for over 10,000 deaths annually. Alcoholism is a growing problem in the United States.
When an individual is dependent on alcohol, it is known as alcoholism. This happens when a person drinks so much during a period of time, their body develops a dependency on alcohol. They become addicted and are an alcoholic. A person suffering from alcoholism will continue to drink no matter what negative consequences they experience. This could be everything from losing a job to damaging a close relationship and more. Even when an alcoholic understands their addiction is hurting others and themselves, they continue to drink. It is a tremendous struggle for them to stop abusing alcohol.
There are a variety of risk factors associated with alcoholism. When a person regularly engages in binge drinking, they can become physically dependent on alcohol. Individuals who start to drink at an early age have a higher risk of becoming a problem drinker. If a person’s family has a history of alcoholism, there is also a higher risk of them becoming an alcoholic. Individuals with depression and a variety of other mental health problems are more likely to abuse alcohol. When a person has friends and a social network of people who abuse alcohol, they are more likely to become an alcoholic.
An effective way to lower rates of alcoholism is to conduct early intervention with teens. When teenagers are made aware of the signs and symptoms associated with alcohol abuse, it makes a difference. Parents of teenagers must be a good example for their children. They must be responsible with their own use of alcohol. It’s important that parents are involved with their children’s lives. Parents need to intervene if their teenager has a loss of interest in hobbies and activities, or if their teenager has bloodshot eyes, slurred speech or decrease in personal appearance. Other signs of abuse are frequent mood changes or problems in school and declining grades.
There are a number of treatments for people who want to be cured of their alcohol addiction. Treatment will happen in stages and can include a variety of different activities. Detoxification or withdrawal will eliminate a person’s body of alcohol. Rehabilitation will help a person develop coping skills and behaviors to handle their desire for alcohol. Counseling will help a person address emotional problems that created their desire to abuse alcohol. There is also medical treatment for any health problems that result from alcoholism. Specific medications can also be used to help individuals control their alcohol addiction.
It is understood that recovery from alcoholism is not easy. Success will depend on a person’s ability to stop using alcohol. A study from an independent treatment center in Minnesota showed that 60 percent of people are able to maintain alcohol abstinence for the first year. When they regularly attend a support group, the rate climbs to over 72 percent. Many people are able to overcome their addiction to alcohol. A person’s health issues resulting from their drinking could impact their recovery. Success will also require lifestyle changes. Alcohol must be removed from a person’s home. They must not go to places such as bars. It’s also essential they avoid being with people who abuse alcohol. Events where alcohol will be served should be avoided if possible and more.