Alarming Increase in Alcohol Use Worries Experts

While the amount of alcohol consumed by the adolescents has been steadily decreasing over recent years, a recent study published in the JAMA Psychiatry indicates that the rate of drinking among Americans has peaked. Another daunting fact is that more number of people are now indulging in high-risk drinking. The increase was primarily seen during 2001–2002 to 2012–2013.

The progression toward excessive drinking across all demographic regions is a major public health threat that not only inflicts huge economic burden due to the involvement of exorbitant health care costs, but also poses a significant risk of developing increased dependency and addiction in the future.

Alcohol is the most popular and highest consumed substance by the American population, with approximately 30 million indulging in binge drinking at least once a week. The demand and consumption of alcohol have steadily risen, particularly among women, older adults, minorities, and individuals from groups with lower levels of education and income.

The magnitude of alcohol consumption may have very well reached its peak, as such high level hasn’t been witnessed in the last three-four decades. With the entire focus in the domain of substance abuse being on opioids and other potent drugs, it is interesting to note that alcohol consumption rose steadily.

Increase in alcohol dependence and consumption

With a sample size entailing tens of thousands of participants, the researchers of the above study assessed how the American drinking pattern has evolved through the 21st century. Based on the face-to-face interviews, the participants were asked about their drinking habits over a 12-month period.

It was found that the rate of drinking grew across demographies. The study found a 3 percent increase of individuals who binge drink at least once a week that represents an addition of 7 million people by comparing adult drinking patterns in 2001–2002 (8.5 percent) and 2012–13 (12.7 percent). While analyzing the increase in alcohol abuse and dependence for the same period, it was found that the rise in alcohol-seeking behaviors increased by approximately 10.5 million people at the current population.

The researchers enumerate that the high levels of alcohol consumption stem from multiple factors. One of the key reasons behind the steady rise in drinking is easy availability of alcohol as a result of the reduction in prices since the Great Recession. On the measurement of the average purchasing power of the people, it was found that alcohol has never been this inexpensive since the 1950s.

The increase of alcohol consumption in the women population and other demographies may be a result of aggressive marketing by the alcohol industry of products, such as flavored vodkas, hard lemonade, iced tea, etc.

Alcohol consumption translates into $250 billion annually

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), excessive drinking is the root cause of more than 88,000 deaths in the period 2006–2010. The number of deaths is twofold the number of deaths from prescription opioids and heroin in 2016. The consequences of excessive drinking include drunk-driving deaths, alcohol-linked violence, liver diseases, strokes and other adverse impacts on health. The CDC also alludes that one-tenth deaths among the working age Americans involve alcohol.

The economic burden of excessive alcohol consumption reached a whopping $249 billion in 2010 due to higher health care needs, lost productivity and related crimes, such as drunk driving and homicide. However, the fact remains that only one-fifth of the individuals have been treated for alcohol addiction among those who have reported alcohol abuse or dependency. This is attributable to the existence of a number of stigma and taboos that strengthen the notion that people who aren’t unable to quit drinking are morally weak and have a flawed character.

How to quit drinking

The frequent consumption of alcohol has the potential to rewire the brain, which often causes problems like memory loss, cognitive impairment, mood swings, lack of coordination, poor decision-making and judgement making skills, etc. A person suffering from alcohol addiction experiences changes in appetite, faces problems at work, loses interest in things, or gets extremely emotional or irritable.

If you or your loved one is battling alcohol addiction, it is advisable to seek immediate help. The 24/7 Recovery Helpline can assist in accessing one of the finest alcohol addiction rehab centers that specializes in delivering evidence-based intervention plans. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855–441–4405 to know more about the treatment centers for alcohol addiction.