It’s hard to deny that alcohol and drugs have a reputation for being glamorous. From fancy cocktail bars to the proliferation of drug use in the media, substance abuse is often viewed as a way to unwind on a Saturday night rather than as a disease that contributes to thousands and thousands of deaths annually. Here’s a look at some startling statistics that show just how big of a problem alcoholism and addiction are in America.
Alcohol abuse & alcoholicsm in the United States
If you’re like most adults, you’ve enjoyed a glass of wine or a beer after a long day at work. While the occasional, responsible indulgence doesn’t necessarily pose a risk, not knowing when to stop can have serious implications. In 2014, nearly 25 percent of Americans ages 18 and older reported that they had engaged in binge drinking in the past month. That is, consuming enough alcohol to bring his or her blood alcohol concentration to 0.08 g/dL. This typically occurs after four drinks for women and five drinks for men.
When a person binge drinks, he or she poses a health and safety risk to themselves and to others. Chronic drinking is linked to more than 60 diseases including anemia, cancer, heart disease, depression, and cirrhosis. Nearly 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes each year, which includes nearly 10,000 driving fatalities. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that women who binge drink are more likely to have unprotected sex and multiple sex partners, which increases the risk of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
The rise of alcohol addiction in America
Fortunately, alcohol abuse has declined slightly over the past decade. However, addiction is still a major problem in the United States. In 2013, an estimated 24.6 million Americans ages 12 and older, about 9.4 percent of the population, had used an illicit drug in the past month. This number has increased from 2002 when 8.3 percent of Americans reported past-month drug use. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that the uptick reflects a recent rise in the popularity of marijuana, which acts as a gateway to harder drugs like cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines.
One of the most alarming statistics about addiction in America is that 9 out of 10 people don’t get the treatment they need. Can you imagine if that were the case for people with cancer, diabetes, stroke and other diseases of the brain? If even a fraction of the Americans struggling with addiction sought help, it could drastically reduce the number of overdoses, hospitalizations, and substance-related deaths that occur in the United States each year.
Don’t wait – seek help for your alcohol addiction issues
Addiction is one of the most overlooked and untreated diseases in America. If you believe you drink more alcohol than you should or if you struggle with a dependence on any type of drugs, it’s important to seek help. Long-term substance abuse is not only detrimental to your health; it can damage your emotional stability, finances, career and relationships if left untreated.
There are many resources available to help you overcome your addiction. Reach out for help and begin your road to recovery today.