Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Alcohol is the most abused drug in the United States and affects more than 27 million individuals. Read below to discover the facts 1 to 7.
Alcohol is the most highly abused drug in the United States. According a 2012 study by the National Institutes of Health, 7.2 percent of American adults have an alcohol use disorder. This is more than 27 million individuals. If you are struggling, you are certainly not alone.
The percentage of men with an alcohol use disorder is even higher, at 9.9 percent. One theory as to why is that men find drinking to be more pleasurable due to higher dopamine release in their brains.
If you have an alcoholic parent or grandparent, you are four times more at risk of developing alcoholism than individuals without this family history. However, many with alcoholic parents do not become alcoholics, either because they choose to abstain or they do not have triggering environmental factors. The numbers are about 50-50.
This is uncommon unless you are a long-term, chronic drinker or have had serious withdrawal symptoms in the past. Anyone who is detoxing and develops severe physical symptoms, such as a high fever or tremors, must see a doctor immediately.
The Center for Disease Control put the number of heavy drinkers who are also alcohol dependent at just 10%. Now, that doesn’t mean that binge drinking is healthy. There is a another blog that I wrote on that.
A full third of Americans 21 and over completely abstain from alcohol use. Another third drink one serving or less per week. However, the top ten percent consume 74 servings per week, or over ten drinks a day – on average. If they cut back to about 15 drinks per week, alcohol sales would likely fall by 60 percent.
People don’t have one drink and suddenly become alcoholics. Dependence develops over time, leading to more severe health problems and loss of control. However, a person can suffer from alcohol poisoning on his or her first drinking occasion, depending on the consumption level.
Read Part II of 15 Facts About Alcoholism.
Kathleen Esposito is a certified addictions counselor in the Pacific Northwest. She helps individuals recover from drug, alcohol and gambling dependencies through group and individual therapy and regularly speaks at treatment centers.
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