Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse
The stereotypes surrounding alcohol abuse may lead to misinformation about its risk and effects. As explained by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), some of the most startling statistics include:
- Alcohol abuse costs $249 billion each year.
- 88,000 people die from alcohol abuse in the U.S. annually.
- In addition to 6.2 percent of adults living with an alcohol use disorder (AUD).
- Drinking alcohol in excess increases the risk of engaging in risky behaviors.
Alcoholism is More Than a Choice
When a person reaches the point of compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over consumption, and negative emotional reactions to not drinking, it constitutes an AUD, otherwise known as alcoholism. Further, withdrawal symptoms may become evident.
Different Levels of AUD Exist
Furthermore, alcoholism may be classified as mild, intermediate, or severe, depending on how it impacts a person’s life. As a person continues to drink, a tolerance develops, and more alcohol is needed to achieve the same effect.
People May Overlook the Signs
93.3 percent of U.S. adults are living with an AUD. It is equally important to learn and recognize the signs of an AUD, which include:
- Drinking too much
- Failure to cut back
- Spent excess time drinking or sick from drinking.
- Experienced cravings.
- Drinking interfered with daily responsibilities.
- Continued to drink while knowing it was causing problems with family or friends
- Continued to drink when it caused health problems, like high blood pressure.
- Avoided once-enjoyed activities in favor of drinking.
- Increased your chances of getting hurt due to alcohol use, like driving while under the influence.
- Developed an alcohol tolerance.
- Experienced withdrawal symptoms when not drinking.
Depending on the severity, alcohol withdrawal can result in extreme changes in body temperature, severe nausea, hallucinations, high blood pressure, and an even higher risk of respiratory or circulatory failure. Thus, someone seeking help with alcohol withdrawal for severe AUD should seek medical attention.
Get Involved Now
Moreover developing an AUD can come as a surprise. People may engage in heavy or binge drinking, and dependency develops. Take time to reconsider your own drinking habits or those of your family members and friends. Share the signs of an AUD with others, and if you have exhibited these signs, you may consider exploring potential treatment options to reduce your body’s reliance on alcohol. Also, if you experience any of the withdrawal symptoms, tremors, hallucinations, or a racing pulse, go to an ER.
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