Statistics for the Effects of Alcohol Abuse
NIAAA estimated that in the year 2013, 16.6 million adults in America had AUD (alcohol use disorder).
1 out of every 10 deaths, occurring between 2006 and 2010, of working age adults were caused by excessive consumption of alcohol. These findings are based on a publication by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
According to the NIAAA, 88,000 people die every year from an alcohol related cause. Alcohol is the third leading, preventable cause of death in America.
Alcohol affects a person’s mood, increases self-confidence, and lowers inhibitions because as a person drinks, the levels of dopamine are elevated in their brain. As the effects of alcohol wear off, the good feelings and higher levels of dopamine dissipate. Over time, the repetition of drinking alcohol alters the normal dopamine levels in the brain, resulting in the expectancy of the presence of alcohol and higher dopamine levels. As a result, the brain will discontinue its production of the levels of dopamine that were previously present without alcohol.
The more alcohol a person drinks, the more the body becomes tolerant to the increased intake and the more dependent the brain becomes on its interference. When the effects of the alcohol wear off and the brain has become dependent, someone may suffer from withdrawal. These symptoms can range from mild to life-threatening.
Studies On Alcohol Drinking
The average American, over the age of 18, has probably consumed alcohol at some point in their lifetime. In a study conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) it was estimated that approximately 87% of the adult population has consumed at least one alcoholic beverage during their lifetime. Alcohol is legal for consumption for people over 21 year of age, whereas other addictive substances are not legal.
Studies published by the Mayo Clinic show that drinking in moderation is likely not harmful, and in fact can have some health benefits. These publications indicate that moderate drinking is the equivalent of one drink a day for women and two for a man. However, heavy drinking, or “binge drinking” can indicate a problem with alcohol abuse. Binge drinking would be defined as a average of 4 or more drinks for a woman, or 5 or more for a man, within the span of 3 or 4 hours. A problem with alcohol could also be defined by consuming more than 7 drinks a week for a woman, or more than 14 for a man. These stats are all according to the NIAAA. Statistics for the effects of alcohol abuse are as follows:
How Professional Treatment Helps Alcohol Detox
Once there has been some control of the physical symptoms of withdrawal, there are many ways that mental health professionals can help with the more powerful emotional effects of withdrawal from alcohol.
Therapy and counseling sessions, combined with certain medications can help alleviate the depression, anxiety and potential suicidal ideations that can follow detox. An important part of any alcohol detox center is the prevention of relapse. Individual therapy and 12 step groups can offer important support that continues through and beyond detox.
To assist with alcohol related cravings during the treatment of withdrawal and dependency, alcohol detox centers use three medications which are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These medications are: Naltrexone, Disulfiram and Acamprosate. These medications manage withdrawal symptoms and discourage further drinking. Naltrexone blocks opioid receptors in the brain. This reduces cravings and the potential rewards that come from alcohol. Disulfiram will make people feel sick if they do drink, thereby making it undesirable to do so. Acamprosate is believed to work on long term withdrawal symptoms by stabilizing the chemical balance of the brain. Topiramate is another medication that has shown promise in disrupting the way alcohol makes a person feel. This comes from a report by Addiction Science and Clinical Practice.