The Dangers Of Alcohol Abuse
Not everyone who abuses alcohol has crossed the line into alcoholism. Alcoholism hits when the physical addiction sets in, causing people to drink despite the myriad health and life problems it causes. Even if alcohol abuse has not reached the point of physical addiction, it is still a form of problem drinking that poses many dangers.
- Americans spend about 1 percent of their income on drinking alcohol, with 40 percent spent in bars and restaurants and 60 percent spent in stores.
- Nearly 17 million people in the U.S. have a serious problem with alcohol; about 3 million seek help. Overall, 76 percent of American adults drink alcohol.
- The average lifespan of an alcoholic drinker is 10 to 12 years shorter than that of a moderate drinker.
- Women are more susceptible than men to alcohol’s effects, putting them at a higher risk of victimization, rape and violence.
- Drinking alcohol while pregnant can cause low birth weight and intrauterine growth retardation, which increase the risk of infection, feeding problems and long-term developmental issues.
Effects of Alcohol Abuse
The visual effects of drinking alcohol include slurred speech, loss of balance and spatial awareness, impaired judgment, and nausea or vomiting. Drinking can lead to violent behavior, sexually transmitted diseases, and promiscuity or sexual dysfunction.
Alcohol is the No. 1 drug of choice for American teens, especially underage college freshman, with alcohol abuse being 7.5 times more than the abuse of illicit drugs. Alcohol-related vehicle crashes are the top cause of death for teens in the U.S. Teen in-store alcohol purchases consist of 47.7 percent beer, 39.7 percent wine and 12.6 percent hard liquor.
Binge drinking, heavy and current drinking, within a one-month period is higher for males than females ages 12 to 20. Twenty-one percent of the males binge drank, 7 percent drank heavily and 28 percent said they currently drank. Sixteen percent of the females binge-drink, 4 percent drank heavily and 27 percent currently drank.
Alcohol’s psychiatric effects, injuries and other problems kill 85,000 people each year. Excessive drinking adds an annual $35 billion to U.S. health care coverage costs. Drinkers spending $15 per day on alcohol end up spending about $5,500 per year. Three million violent crimes each year are thought to have perpetrators who had been drinking. Two-thirds of those crimes are simple assaults.
A Global Problem
With 20 liters of alcohol consumed per day, Americans over age 15 lead many other countries for liters per capita. Other countries, in descending order of 19 to 10 liters, are:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
Alcoholism is a major concern, and alcohol rehab facilities can help heavy drinkers find their way past drinking.