Alcohol Abuse in the United States
Alcoholism is a complex disease. Consequently, it has far-reaching costs. Not only does the patient suffer psychological and physiological problems, but his or her close relationships deteriorate, as well. However, an Oklahoma rehab offers hope and a purposeful future.
We’ve created this in-depth guide for people who want to understand the disorder and its treatment.
National Alcoholism Statistics
- Alcohol abuse is the third highest cause of death in the United States. (Huffington Post)
- Alcohol abuse causes 29 deaths in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver every day. To rephrase it, alcohol abuse causes one death every 50 minutes. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
- 3.9 million Americans got treatment for substance abuse in 2005. Markedly, 2.5 million of them got treatment for alcoholism. (Drug Free World)
- Excessive alcohol use caused an average of 88,000 deaths annually between 2006 and 2010. (CDC)
- We learned a lot from the 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey. For example, over half of the U.S. adult population had drunk alcohol in the previous 30 days. Also, about 17% of the adult population reported binge drinking, and 6% reported heavy drinking. (CDC)
- About 15.1 million people in the United States had Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) in 2015. That’s not including an estimated 623,000 adolescents, who also had the disorder in the same year.* (National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism)
*More recent estimates suggest that AUD may be more common than we previously believed. (Everyday Health)
- In 2016, the National Survey on Drug Use and Healthreported that 19% of youth drink alcohol. In this survey, people between the ages of 12 and 20 are youth. In addition, 12 percent of our youth reported binge drinking in the past 30 days. (CDC)
- A 2017 study found that alcoholism rates were higher among men, Native Americans, people living in poverty, and Midwest residents. (Washington Post)
- The same 2017 study stunningly revealed that nearly one in four adults under the age of 30 needed alcohol treatment. (Washington Post)
- One in eight Americans met the diagnostic criteria for AUD in 2017. (Washington Post)
Oklahoma Alcoholism Statistics
- 251,000 adolescent and adult Oklahomans are dependent on or abuse alcohol. (Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services)
- Only 7.6% of Oklahomans in need of alcohol treatment accessed help. (Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services) Although, many Oklahoma alcohol treatment centers are available to serve their suffering communities.
- In Oklahoma, 4.2 people per 100,000 died in alcohol-impaired car crashes in 2017. (Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility)
- 159,000 Oklahomans ages 21 and older reported heavy alcohol use in the past 30 days. (Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services)
- 14% of Oklahoman high school students reported that they had four to five or more drinks of alcohol in a row, within a couple of hours, on at least one day during the previous 30. That’s higher than the reporting of high school students nationwide. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
- 72,000 Oklahomans ages 12 to 20 reported binge drinking in the previous month. (Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services)
- 76.2 percent of Oklahomans died in an alcohol-impaired driving accident that involved repeat offenders with a high blood alcohol content (.15+). That’s higher than the national percentage of 74.6. (Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility)
- Alcohol was a contributing factor in 45% of Oklahoma rehab admissions. (Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services)
- 71.5 percent of Oklahomans died in alcohol-impaired driving accidents involving blood alcohol content of at least .15. This is higher than the national percentage of 70.1. (Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility)
The History of Alcohol Consumption
The Foundation for a Drug-Free World discusses the explosive use of spirits in the early 1700s. “In Britain, gin consumption reached 18 million gallons and alcoholism became widespread.” As a result, society began shifting their attitudes toward alcohol consumption. The push for moderation soon became the push for prohibition.
Eventually, prohibition passed in the United States government, which ironically led to a boom in illegal alcohol sales. Prohibition was consequently reversed in 1933 to allow for government regulation. Today, alcohol is legal across the country, with varying regulations in each state.
Alcohol is unquestionably the most abused substance in the United States. Therefore, a large portion of addicted people in the country turns to professional alcohol treatment for help.
Why do people drink alcohol?
Humans have been citing a variety of reasons to drink since the dawn of time. In fact, early drinking was often done for health or the healing of ailments. These were pretty good reasons thousands of years ago.
Andrew Curry at National Geographic notes, “early civilizations needed many of the health benefits alcoholic drinks could offer,” such as its antimicrobial components. “It explains why beer, wine, and other fermented beverages were, at least until the rise of modern sanitation, often healthier to drink than water,” he says.
However, health alone doesn’t explain why it has been prevalent across the globe for millennia. It also doesn’t explain why alcohol consumption is still sewn into the fabric of societies all over the world.
Today, “people drink to socialize, celebrate, and relax,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “and throughout history, people have struggled to understand and manage alcohol’s power.” To illustrate, we refer you to the statistics above. This may be why it continues to thrive in human societies today.
Alcohol doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon, either. Alcohol and alcohol-drinkers can be found everywhere. Take the following examples:
- Movie Theaters
- Parties and other celebrations
- Sports Games
- Some Hair Salons
- Some Disney Resorts
- Some modes of transportation
People also drink to overcome nerves, anxiety, depression, hopelessness, feelings of exclusion, loneliness, and more.
Generally, people can drink alcohol on these occasions in moderation. If you’re not one of those people, then consider avoiding alcohol altogether. Binge drinking, excessive drinking and other risky behaviors can be dangerous. Seek psychological treatment, instead.
Physiological Effects of Alcohol Consumption
An addiction that calls for alcohol treatment isn’t the only concern with risky drinking behaviors. Although, that’s often the first one to come to mind. Serious, physical consequences are also a major concern.
According to the Huffington Post, “Long-term alcohol use can cause serious health complications affecting every organ in your body, including your brain.”
Additionally, excessive alcohol consumption can cause intestinal damage, diarrhea, infertility, ulcers, sexual dysfunction, diabetes, muscle cramps, and damage to the central nervous system.
Medical News Today explains how alcohol abuse causes such widespread damage to the body. “When the body takes in more alcohol than it can metabolize, the excess builds up in the bloodstream,” they say. “The heart circulates the blood alcohol throughout the body, leading to changes in chemistry and normal body functions.”
In addition, they outline many of the most common health problems associated with drinking alcohol.
Other Common Health Problems
- Liver Disease
- As one of the biggest organs of the body, the liver has one of the most important jobs.
“It converts the nutrients in our diets into substances that the body can use, stores these substances, and supplies cells with them when needed. It also takes up toxic substances and converts them into harmless substances or makes sure they are released from the body,” according to the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care.
Prolonged heavy drinking disrupts healthy liver functioning, which often causes it to shut down. Alcohol treatment helps patients stop this damage, and in some cases, reverse it.
- Chronic Pancreatitis
- Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that also requires immediate medical treatment. The most common cause of this condition is alcohol abuse. Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain – especially after eating, lethargy, chills, and fever.
- Immune System Dysfunction
- Because alcohol causes a drop in white blood cell count, infections become more difficult to ward off. The body has specific vulnerabilities to Tuberculosis, HIV infection and others for this reason.
- Brain Damage
- Not only does excessive alcohol consumption cause psychological damage and addiction, but it also causes damage to the chemical make-up of the brain.
- Heart Disease and Cardiovascular Health
- The circulatory system carries blood to every area of the body. The heart pumps the blood through the circulatory system.
According to Medical News Today, “Excessive alcohol intake has long been linked to multiple cardiovascular complications, including angina, high blood pressure, and a risk of heart failure.”
If you’re a pregnant woman, you aren’t the only one affected by alcohol consumption. It also affects your baby. If you can’t stop drinking, contact an Oklahoma rehab to protect your baby from the conditions discussed in the next section.
Baby’s First Drink?
In order to develop and grow, an unborn baby needs a variety of nutrients that he or she gets from Mom. Nutrients are transferred from Mom to Baby in the bloodstream and umbilical cord. Almost everything Mom eats and drinks is transferred to her baby.
When Mom drinks alcohol, her baby can suffer the consequences for the rest of his or her life. Baby can experience hardships with mental development and learning. He or she may also have difficulties with behavior and social relationships.
This is called Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Mom can protect her baby from this condition by avoiding alcohol immediately and completely. If you can’t stop, Oklahoma alcohol rehab facilities may be able to help you. There’s no shame in seeking help.
Although we don’t yet know if there is a safe level of alcohol consumption, we do know one thing. “What we know is that the more alcoholic drinks a pregnant woman has, the more damage may be done to her baby,” says Paediatric Child Health.
Babies with FAS commonly have small heads, small upper lips, and other facial abnormalities. They also tend to be shorter than average and display hyperactivity, heart problems, and delayed speech.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder is a condition in which a child experiences a variety of symptoms attributable to FAS. “FAS represents the most involved end of the FASD spectrum,” says the CDC. They also warn, “Fetal death is the most extreme outcome from drinking alcohol during pregnancy.”
The Consequences of Drinking Too Much
Damage to your body or your unborn baby aren’t the only risks you take when you abuse alcohol. In fact, there are several consequences that have severe impacts in life for a long time to come. Some of them are listed below.
Accidents: According to the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample, almost 5,000,000 people went to the emergency room because of alcohol between 2006 and 2014. That’s a 62 percent increase! While these visits include alcohol poisoning and injuries, they don’t include DUIs.
DUIs: Whether you’re the drunk driver or the passenger of a drunk driver, you’re fortunate if you survive a DUI accident. Furthermore, jailtime and fines are just the beginning of a long, expensive list of penalties for a drunk driver. Above all, you may prematurely end the life of someone else’s beloved mother, son, grandparent, or close friend.
Acts of Violence: Getting drunk increases aggression in some people. In other words, some drunk people are likely to do things they’ll regret once they’re sober again. If this has been a problem for you more than once, contact an Oklahoma rehab as soon as possible.
Unsafe and/or Promiscuous Sex: Drinking alcohol lowers inhibitions. Drunk people are more likely to have sex without protection.
Time off Work or School: Time spent recovering from hangovers or looking for a lost cell phone, set of keys or wallet impacts other areas of life.
Is alcoholism inherited?
Addiction runs in many families. “Alcoholism is thought to have a hereditary component, meaning that having a family history of alcohol dependence puts you at greater risk for it,” say Healthline. Albeit, several factors can put a person at risk for the disease.
The Mayo Clinic lists the following factors that can lead to a level of addiction that calls for alcohol treatment.
Steady drinking over time: That is, excessive drinking on a regular basis over a prolonged period.
Starting at an early age: This is especially true for binge drinking.
Family History: By and large, researchers need to conduct more studies in the area of alcoholism and genetics.
Depression and other mental health problems: Researchers have correlated psychological conditions, such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder with substance addictions.
History of trauma: The pain of trauma is difficult to sustain. Alcohol can numb the feelings that come in the wake of a trauma. People who’ve suffered a trauma often turn to alcohol for temporary relief of the pain.
Having bariatric surgery: Some studies have shown that this weight-loss surgery can increase the risk for developing alcoholism. It may also cause a relapse after previously recovering from the addiction.
Social and cultural factors: If the people you spend most of your time with drink regularly, then you’re more likely to drink. Likewise, they may influence you to drink too much, as well.
Symptoms of Alcoholism
As mentioned above, alcohol is sewn into the fabric or our society. For that reason, some people wonder if they’re unintentionally drinking excessively. You may be particularly concerned if you have family members with alcoholism.
Read the following list. If you recognize some of these symptoms in yourself, then try to reduce your drinking. Feel free to contact us, as well. We’ll discuss your options for alcohol treatment centers near you.
- You experience withdrawal symptoms: See below subsection entitled Alcohol Detoxification for a list of withdrawal symptoms.
- Alcohol is more of a priority than the activities you usually enjoy.
- Other areas of your life are impacted by drinking too much: For example, you’re late for work because of a hangover.
- Your tolerance is growing. In other words, you need to drink more than you used to for the same intoxicating effect.
- You’ve taken unnecessary risks while intoxicated: For example, you’ve had unsafe sex, driven a motor vehicle, or swam in the ocean.
- You’ve tried to stop drinking but you can’t, or you’ve lost control over how much you drink.
Because alcohol changes the brain, denial can be a significant roadblock to self-awareness. Denial can keep you from seeking treatment when you need it most. Alcohol addiction treatment can help you break through the denial and achieve lifelong sobriety with evidence-based treatments that work.
Treatment for Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol treatment centers offer a variety of treatments that have helped patients overcome their addictions. After a medical evaluation, an addiction specialist develops an individually tailored treatment plan. The goal of the plan is to address the overall health of the patient. That is to say, our philosophies aim to heal the patient’s mind, body and soul.
Depending on the length and severity of the addiction, patients often experience at least some of the following withdrawal symptoms:
- Fast heartbeat
- Delirium tremens – “This condition causes dangerous shifts in your breathing, your circulation and your temperature control,” says Harvard Medical School. “It can cause your heart to race dangerously or can cause your blood pressure to increase dramatically, and it can cause dangerous dehydration. Delirium tremens can also temporarily reduce the amount of blood flow to your brain.”
These symptoms are often relentless. They begin a few hours after the last drink and last for up to one week. They’re painful, uncomfortable and sometimes life-threatening. Detoxing in Oklahoma alcohol treatment centers make this necessary process safer and more comfortable.
Alcohol addiction is a psychological disease. It changes the way the brain chemistry is structured, and therefore, how it works. It creates a change in the addicted person’s priorities and removes the essence of his or her personality.
Therapeutic treatments, such as individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, trauma therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy heal the damaged brain structure. Alcohol rehab integrates a collection of therapies simultaneously to help the patient achieve his or her goals in sobriety.
Treatment centers, especially residential treatment centers, also help the patient recover life skills. Addiction professionals encourage patients to value personal accountability, routine sleep and wake times, regular nutritional meals, self-care, respectful communication, and more.
Residential treatment isn’t right for everyone. Parents with young children at home, students and employees, and people with mild addictions are often better served in outpatient care. Effective Oklahoma alcohol programs can accommodate schedules, as long as the patient has adequate support at home.
If so, then the patient can live at home and attend treatment after work or school. In other words, outpatient treatment can help people achieve their goal of lifelong sobriety without sacrificing important obligations and responsibilities.
Some people aren’t ready to live in the “real world” right after treatment. That’s common and there are certainly options for support. In fact, many recovering people opt to transition to sober living homes after treatment.
Other similar options are also available. These sober living residences are reliable environments in which people in early recovery can establish healthy, sober habits.
Recovering people live with their recovering peers. As a result, residents have a support system, as well as daily structure. They have the safety and support of sober roommates, albeit a bit more freedom than they had during treatment.
Getting Help for Your Alcohol Abuse
Making the decision to change your life is often intimidating, even if the change is important to your health. The hesitation to do the right thing is due to the malfunctioning brain, which is corrupted by alcohol abuse. We understand the conflict that many addicted people feel.
Our kind and compassionate addiction professionals can help you overcome this conflict. In fact, addiction professionals strive to meet the needs of each individual patient and their family.
The first step is easy. Just give us a call at (405)563-8131. We’ll answer your questions and help you choose what’s right for you. Start your path to healing and sobriety today.
Call today and get the help you need! Start the path to sobriety today! (405) 563-8131
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