The rise in alcohol-related disease and injuries has reached alarming levels in the Unites States in recent decades. Unfortunately, alcohol abuse doesn’t just affect the person with the drinking problem. As a parent, child, spouse, or even a co-worker you can be negatively impacted by those who abuse alcohol even if you do not drink yourself.
Alcohol Abuse vs Alcoholism
Both are equally serious conditions yet alcohol abuse varies a little from alcoholism, which is a chronic disease marked by physical dependency on alcohol. Alcohol abuse is better defined as excessive use of alcohol that begins to destroy your relationships and your health well before physical dependency occurs. Even the occasional drinker, who drinks only a few times a year yet drinks to excess or ‘binges,’ ends up endangering themselves and others.
Who Is Abusing: Facts About Alcohol Abuse
- Almost half of all adults admit to having a parent who abused alcohol
- There are over 6 million minor children in the US who live with a parent who abuses alcohol
- 40 percent of family court cases like custody disputes and divorces occur because a family member, spouse, or parent was abusing alcohol
- Alcohol abuse is implicated in half of all violent deaths
- In one-third of boating, aviation, and driving fatalities the consumption of alcohol has significantly factored into the equation
Those statistics compose quite a large segment of society affected by alcohol abuse—without even mentioning the millions of people prosecuted annually for driving under the influence. Again, the majority of these people are not alcoholics exactly but every day, otherwise healthy people from all income levels, ages, professions, and walks of life. The facts about alcohol abuse indicate it could be you or someone you know.
Consequences of Alcohol Abuse
If left unchecked, alcohol abuse will eventually result in:
- Chronic alcoholism
- Diseases like pancreatitis and liver cirrhosis
- Unintentional injuries, like traffic accidents and falls
- Unintended violence (not premeditated)
While the causes of alcohol abuse vary between individuals, the condition most often starts as a coping mechanism for those suffering from low self-esteem, high-stress lifestyles, and untreated depression. The good news is that alcohol abuse treatment is available. If you or a family member is struggling with alcohol abuse, please do not try to go it alone; consult with a qualified health professional who can advise you on available options for counseling and treatment.