It is important to know a few key alcoholism facts before addressing concerns about a loved one’s problematic drinking habits.
Alcoholism can be described in two different broad categories–abuse or dependency. A person who has an alcohol dependency has a strong craving for alcohol and over time requires higher and higher amounts of alcohol to achieve an intoxicated state. If they do not drink, a person with an alcohol dependency will eventually suffer physical withdrawal symptoms. In contrast, a person who does not have a dependency, but rather abuses alcohol is someone who does not have an irresistible craving for alcohol or a physical addiction to it, but whose drinking gets in the way of their performing their every day, normal activities.
Some of the most significant problems alcoholics face are physical problems related to over consumption of alcohol. These problems can include, but are not limited to: vitamin deficiency, weakened nervous response (alcohol is a nervous system depressant) and decrease in coordination, poor mental acuity, erosion of the lining of both the esophagus and the stomach and potential cirrhosis of the liver. Other physical side effects of drinking are: a decrease of inhibitions and resulting poor judgment that would lead a person to participate in activities that are not safe (such as drunk driving), and a lack of coordination associated with elevated blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that could cause a person under the influence of alcohol to injure themselves. The physical toll of alcohol abuse and dependency is a high cost for the temporary “high” a user feels.
There are other costs related to alcoholism that need to be considered as contributing to serious health issues. Alcoholism can cost a person their job, their friends, their family and ultimately, their life.
Alcohol is involved in nearly half of all traffic accidents and the majority of violent crimes committed in this country today.
It’s involved in the majority of domestic abuse situations and children of alcoholics are significantly more likely to become alcoholics themselves–in fact, one in every ten people who drink will become alcoholics.
Alcoholism is on the rise in the United States and it is definitely still one of the most commonly used and most frequently abused drugs. This is just one more reason why it’s important to know all of the alcoholism facts before you decide to take your next drink.
You may even want to talk to a loved one or address the topic of drinking with your children if you have further concerns about it.