Alcohol Abuse and Dependency
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (a division of the National Institute of Health) has some startling statistics on the prevalence of alcohol abuse and dependency.
- 16.6 million adults age 18 or older have an AUD (Alcohol Use Disorder)
- 1.3 million of them are receiving, or have received help for AUD in the past
- AUDs affect men at a rate of 2:1 over women
- 88,000 people (62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making it the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States
- In 2013, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for over 30-percent of all fatal car accidents
If these numbers aren’t shocking enough, perhaps most surprising is the impact alcohol continues to have on society, though we’ve been well aware of the harmful effects of alcohol for over 100 years. Despite alcohol awareness, the number of individuals struggling with alcohol addiction and dependence continues to climb each year.
What is Alcohol Dependence?
Dependence of any sort can be explained as the need for a specific substance in order to retain a level of normalcy or perceived well-being. That said, it’s well established that this well-being comes from a lack of withdrawal effects, not from any health-related or medicinal value of the drug itself. In short, alcohol dependence develops into a need for the substance, in order for the user to avoid sickness associated with withdrawal symptoms.
Alcohol dependence is cumulative in nature. Most adults can drink casually and not be burdened with addictive behavior or dependence on alcohol. For a relatively small percentage of individuals, however, drinking in moderation is not an option. Continued and frequent drinking of copious amounts of alcohol – also known as binge drinking – leads to habitual behavior, and ultimately, more drinking. As the user begins to drink more, they often remain unaware of what is happening to their body as it grows accustomed and dependent to this foreign substance in the blood stream. In essence, the more you drink, the more your body craves the substance that leads to mild euphoria, reduced inhibitions, and decreased anxiety and stress levels.
Once this happens, it becomes hard to turn the corner from casual drinker to someone that struggles with alcohol dependence and addiction.
What Are the Effects of Alcohol Dependence?
Habitual or heavy drinking has a direct correlation with a number of harmful or life threatening diseases and conditions. Some of these are:
- Heart disease
- Cirrhosis of the liver
- High blood pressure
- Nerve damage
This list isn’t all encompassing. Continued or heavy alcohol usage wreaks havoc on the body and directly correlates to these, and many other health conditions.
In addition to health issues, alcohol dependency produces withdrawal symptoms when your body isn’t receiving a regular supply of the drug it has grown accustomed to. Withdrawal symptoms are unpleasant, and often times very dangerous (even life threatening) depending on the severity of the withdrawal.
How Can Prescott House Help Alcohol Dependency?
Our addiction treatment facility in Prescott, Arizona caters to men of all ages that struggle with alcohol dependence and addiction. We embrace the principles of 12-step programs to treat alcoholism along with additional treatment options recommended by our staff of substance abuse professionals.
If you or a loved one are struggling with dependence-related issues pertaining to alcohol or drugs, contact us today to find out how we can help.