Month Founded in 1987 by NCADD, Alcohol Awareness Month was designed to help reduce the stigma associated with alcoholism and provides education about alcohol, alcoholism and recovery. Alcoholism remains a chronic, progressive disease, which is genetically predisposed and fatal if untreated. However people can and do recover. Today it is estimated that as many as 20 million people are living lives in recovery! In honor of Alcohol Awareness Month, read on to learn the latest news related to Alcohol use in the United States.
Alcohol and Teens
Though the legal drinking age remains 21, adolescents use alcohol more often than they do all other illegal drugs combined, according to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The study also found that 8.7 million people ages 12 to 20 reported drinking alcohol in the past month. Approximately 5.3 million were binge drinkers, and 1.3 million were heavy drinkers. Also in the same year, 679,000 youths aged 12-17 needed treatment for alcohol abuse.
Alcohol and the Family
When a family member, caregiver, or friend abuses alcohol, they are not the only ones who may be adversely affected. Children of parents who abuse alcohol are at a greater risk for trauma including verbal, physical, and sexual abuse, as well as neglect. Children of Alcoholics (COAs) exhibit more symptoms of depression and anxiety, and have lower self-esteem than do children of nonalcoholic caregivers. According to the February 2012 issue of Data Spotlight from the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, an annual average of 7.5 million children under 18 live with a parent who had an alcohol use disorder.
Alcohol-Related Deaths on the Rise
New federal data has recently sounded the alarm on alcohol-related deaths in the U.S. According to the latest numbers, more than 30,700 Americans suffered alcohol-related deaths in 2014, a 37 percent increase from 2002. The number of deaths related to alcohol consumption surpassed deaths attributed to heroin and prescription painkiller use combined during that year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The total number of alcohol-related deaths amounted to 9.6 per 100,000 people in the U.S. However, the numbers only included deaths due to alcohol-related medical conditions like cirrhosis and alcohol poisoning, meaning this doesn’t even include the number of deaths due to driving under the influence and other types of accidents or homicides attributed to alcohol use. If those deaths had been included, the total number of fatalities would have been closer to 90,000.
Per-Capita Alcohol Consumption
The increases in alcohol-related deaths seem to coincide with the increase in per-capita alcohol consumption noted by Duke University researcher Philip J. Cook. In results reported by the Washington Post in September 2014, Cook found that per-capita consumption has been on the rise since the late 1990s. In fact, Americans that drank at least monthly increased from 54.9 percent to 56.9 percent between 2002 and 2014.
Women made up a large proportion of that increase, as women drinking monthly rose from 47.9 percent to 51.9 percent. Binge drinking, defined by the CDC as drinking five or more drinks in one setting, also rose among women from 15.7 percent to 17.4 percent. While these percentage changes may seem small on the surface, they actually reflect increases of millions of Americans.
Cook found that the top 10 percent of drinkers in this country consume a huge proportion of the alcohol sold today. At an average consumption of 10 drinks per day, this population is also at the highest risk for alcohol-related medical conditions and deaths.
Dangers of Heavy Alcohol Consumption
While some research has suggested one drink per day might be safe and even beneficial for some adults, the fine line between moderate and dangerous drinking cannot be minimized. Medical professionals and scientists admit that it is nearly impossible to determine when regular drinking crosses the line and becomes alcohol abuse – without investigating each case individually. Equally dangerous is the dependency on alcohol that can make withdrawal from the substance extremely painful and even life threatening for some heavy drinkers, as withdraws can include hallucinations, tremors, and seizures.
At Simple Recovery, we help men and women overcome alcohol dependency to find recovery and long-term sobriety. Through programs tailored to the specific needs and issues of each client, we are able to address the problems that might have led to their abuse and help them regain their lives without the need to abuse alcohol. Our extended after-care program connects our clients with accountability and companionship as they continue on their path to recovery long-term.
If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol abuse or dependency, help is available. Contact Simple Recovery today at 888-743-0490.