Alcoholism Facts are important. Battling alcoholism can be very hard for a person. Alcoholism means that a person has developed a dependence on alcohol on functioning for basic daily tasks. Understanding alcoholism and the struggles a person may deal with daily can be difficult. A lot of people who will never understand and won’t take the time to understand can be very negative. If you or someone you know are suffering from alcoholism it is important to be aware of the facts and understand what alcoholism is about.
- It is more common that you think. Alcohol is the most highly abused drug in the United States. According to a 2012 study by the National Institutes of Health, 7.2 percent of American adults have an alcohol use disorder. This is more than 27 million individuals. If you are struggling, you are certainly not alone.
- Withdrawal symptoms can kill you. This is uncommon unless you are a long-term, chronic drinker or have had serious withdrawal symptoms in the past. Anyone who is detoxing and develops severe physical symptoms, such as a high fever or tremors, must see a doctor immediately.
- It’s progressive. People don’t have one drink and suddenly become alcoholics. Dependence develops over time, leading to more severe health problems and loss of control. However, a person can suffer from alcohol poisoning on his or her first drinking occasion, depending on the consumption level.
- The term “alcoholism” refers specifically to alcohol dependence. People who are dependent on alcohol have tolerance, cravings, and withdrawal. Others who have problems in their lives due to their alcohol consumption fall under the umbrella of “alcohol abuse.” Alcohol abuse can progress to alcohol dependence over time.
- Alcohol and depression don’t mix. While a lot of people drink to “feel better,” in the long run they will likely feel worse. Alcohol slows the central nervous system, which can compound depression, anxiety and other forms of mental stress, especially in chronic drinkers. Drinking while taking antidepressants can make things even worse.
- Alcoholism can be fatal. Over 88,000 Americans lose their lives due to alcohol each year, at an average of 30 years prematurely. This includes 5,000 youth under 21. Nearly 200,000 youth went to the ER in 2008 due to injuries sustained as a result of alcohol abuse.
- Alcohol changes your brain. Your brain physically adapts to your environment so you perform better at whatever you’re doing, but when you consistently drink alcohol, your brain may interpret this as a new environment and change nerve cells and brain connections to help you function better with alcohol in your system.
- Alcohol affects men and women differently. Men and women metabolize alcohol differently due to stomach enzymes, hormones, the ratio of muscle to fat, and water concentration in the body. Women absorb more alcohol and metabolize it more slowly, and they’re also at greater risk for long-term damage from alcohol. Men are more likely to drink excessively and simultaneously engage in high-risk behaviors, which leads to a higher incidence of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalizations.
- Alcohol abuse and alcoholism are different. Alcohol abuse is drinking in a manner that causes problems in a person’s life. Some examples include neglecting responsibilities at work or home, continuing to drink even though it’s causing relationship problems, or experiencing legal problems (like getting a driving under the influence charge) because of drinking.
Alcohol abuse is common, and alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States.
If you or someone you love may be suffering from alcoholism it is important to learn the facts. If you have other questions or want more information do not hesitate to call for help today!