Dr. Aaron's Blog

The Startling Facts About Alcohol Addiction

May 8, 2017 Addiction, Addiction Recovery, Alcoholism, All, Depression, Mental Health, Naturopathic Medicine, Nutrition by Aaron Van Gaver

It is no secret that millions of people in the US have problems with alcohol addiction.  Unlike illegal substances, alcohol is everywhere.  Just think of your drive home from work.  Likely you saw more than a few billboards and signs telling you about how their alcohol is best and it is on sale.  Or, look in a magazine and you’ll find same thing.  You’ll see an abundance of ads showing the beautiful girl and guy having a great time while holding alcohol!  The ad is structured to tell you that without alcohol, there is no such thing as “fun”.  Or at least not the kind of fun anyone wants.

But what are the real statistics on alcohol addiction?  You might be surprised to know how prevalent the issue is.  It is estimated that more than 17-million people in the US are dependent on alcohol.  That doesn’t include those who have a problem that is undiagnosed as of yet; nor does it include those who deny having any issues with alcohol.  Things like binge drinking and blacking out are experienced by additional millions of Americans but never documented.

Here are some other startling facts:

  • Did you know that alcoholism is the third leading cause of death in the country?
  • Or, did you know that as many as 40-percent of hospital beds are being currently taken up by those suffering from some form of alcohol-related illness?
  • How about the fact that more than 85,000 deaths are directly related to alcohol use every year?

The numbers are startling.  Possibly what the most difficult thing to stomach is that alcohol is marketed as a product alongside paper towels, deli meat and vegetables.  It is considered a common grocery store item that millions of people have on their shopping lists every week.  It is no wonder that it is a silent threat to people.  If it is sitting on a grocery store counter, how could it be “bad”?

The fact is that alcohol isn’t “bad”.  It is however dangerous to those who don’t understand their own addiction.  It is innocuous after all—what is wrong with having a drink after work to “loosen up”?  What’s wrong with having “a few” shots on the weekends at the club?  What’s wrong with keeping a few bottles at home in case friends come over?

In reality there is nothing bad with a drink.  The question is whether or not those drinks impede your everyday life.  If you find yourself missing work, or getting to work but being consistently hung-over, then you may have an issue.  If you find yourself arguing with family and friends who believe you are drinking too much, you also may have an issue.  It is important to take some stock of your drinking habits and be honest with yourself.  If you think you have a problem, try quitting for at least a few weeks.  See if you really miss it or if you have any physical signs of withdrawal.  If you do, it may be time to seek professional help to at minimum discuss your concerns.