Alcoholism Facts Reveal Pervasive Health Concern
Alcohol consumption has a dramatic impact on the health and well-being of those who drink and the lives of family and friends they touch.
While most people are safe and responsible drinkers, statistics show that the minority who consume excess quantities on a regular basis have an impact that “ripples outward to encompass their families, friends, and communities,” according to information published by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism is defined as when a person's relationship to alcohol becomes the defining force in his or her life, thereby disrupting home life, work-life, education, social activities, and relationships. Problem drinkers are often referred to as heavy drinkers or sometimes "alcoholics" who drink large quantities of alcohol on a regular basis.
Alcoholism can affect anyone regardless of race or gender. A family history of alcoholism increases the risk of becoming an alcoholic at some point in time by seven times-thus alcoholism facts show that alcoholism is a disease. Alcoholism can have effects on the person's physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Is Alcoholism Treatable?
Alcoholism is treatable, but not curable. Treatment for alcoholism can occur in both outpatient and inpatient settings depending on the severity of the disease. Effective treatments include medications, counseling/behavioral therapies, social support programs, and mutual-support groups.
Those suffering from alcoholism often require long-term treatment in order to overcome this addiction.
Alcoholism is treatable with medications such as disulfiram (Antabuse), naltrexone (Revia), and acamprosate (Campral). Disulfiram interferes with how enzymes break down alcohol in the body, causing unpleasant reactions when even small amounts of alcohol are consumed. Naltrexone blocks opioids in the brain, reducing cravings and decreasing the pleasure associated with drinking. Acamprosate is thought to reduce irritability and insomnia that can occur when stopping chronic heavy drinking.
The best treatment for alcoholism is a combination of medication and counseling/behavioral therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or brief interventions specifically targeted to help problem drinkers.
The withdrawal phase that individuals experience when they stop drinking is often intense, including nausea, tremors, and fatigue; it can be fatal if not properly managed by medical professionals.
Symptoms of Alcoholism
Symptoms that suggest an individual may be moving toward developing an alcohol problem or becoming an alcoholic include
The Dangers of Alcoholism
Heavy drinkers risk many complications that can harm their health, including
If you are concerned that you or someone you know may have an alcohol problem, there are many treatment facilities and dedicated treatment providers who can help. They can help you determine the right alcoholism treatment options and programs for you. Reach out to a treatment provider today.
Information Sources for Alcoholism Facts:
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health; 2002 Prevention Alert: The Binge Drinking Epidemic; 2001 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Youth Drinking: Risk Factors and Consequences. Alcohol Alert No. 37; Journal: Alcohol Research & Health: Highlights From the Tenth Special Report to Congress, Health Risks and Benefits of Alcohol Consumption (Volume 24, Number 1, 2000 ed.)
Carroll, C.R. Drugs in Modern Society. Boston, Massachusetts: McGraw-Hill, 2000.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Traffic Safety Facts 2002.
Alcoholism Statistics - Learn more about alcoholism including how it affects children, the family, the workplace, and others.
Alcoholism Cause and Effects - Important information on how alcohol affects the body. Suprisingly, women are more susceptible than men to many of these medical issues. Follow the link to learn more.