According to Christopher Ingraham writing for The Washington Post, Americans are “drinking themselves to death” at ever quicker rates. He cites data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that indicate alcohol abuse in 2014 has caused or contributed to the deaths of 70,000 Americans. That’s an increase of 37 percent over the statistics going back to 2002. Statistics for 2015 are not yet available.
Those deaths include alcohol poisoning and cirrhosis, but they do not allow for people who died from drunk driving or other accidents involving alcohol, and they exclude homicides that were committed while the person was drinking. The CDC tells us that if those figures were included, the number of deaths would increase to a staggering 90,000 people.
People have turned their focus on the epidemic of opiate addiction, Ingraham says, and so the dangers of alcohol abuse have fallen off the public radar. But that jeopardy exists, nevertheless; both the morgues and the courts remain busy disposing of the affairs of people whose lives have turned into tragedy because they can’t stop drinking.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) tells us that 56.9 percent of all adults drink at least monthly. That figure is not in itself alarming—people who drink regularly would expect it to be higher. But what really underscores the problems of alcohol abuse in this country is the increase in the numbers of binge drinkers. The number of people who drink five or more drinks in one drinking session, on at least one occasion, increased to 17.4 percent of the population in 2014. Approximately 10 percent of Americans consume almost 74 drinks per week, or almost ten drinks per day. Is that you?
The risks of alcohol abuse cannot be downplayed. Even with all the public attention focused on heroin and pain pills, the truth is that alcohol tops them all. Alcohol carries more risk than any other type of recreational drug use.
Do You Know the Risks of Alcohol Abuse?
The source of figures for Ingraham’s article come from the CDC, which identifies these long- and short-term risks for those who refuse to acknowledge their alcohol abuse:
- Accidents involving autos, falls, burns, and drownings
- Domestic violence, homicide, suicide, and sexual assault
- Alcohol toxicity, or having too much alcohol in the blood
- Risky sexual behaviors that lead to sexually transmitted diseases, assaults, or unwanted pregnancies.
- Risk of fetal alcohol syndrome among pregnant women; risk of stillborn or miscarriage
- High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke
- Liver disease including cirrhosis
- Digestive issues
- Cancer of the breast, esophagus, mouth, throat, colon, and liver
- Problems of memory and learning, contributing to poor career performance and dementia
- Depression, anxiety, and other emotional health problems
- Family problems
- Legal stressors
If you start each day by waking up and promising yourself that you won’t drink as much on this day as you did on the day before, then you are quite likely abusing alcohol. You can learn more by visiting our website , where you can take our Alcohol Assessment. YOU must reach out to arrange for help. You cannot imagine how much better your life will be if you get the help you need—but you are the only one who can make the phone call. Are you at your Turning Point? Call us now.