Unlike other illicit substances, alcohol is legal, making it harder to know when casual use crosses the line into abuse. Alcohol misuse contributes to 88,000 deaths in the United States each year, with one in 10 deaths among working adults due to alcohol misuse, according to Facing Addiction In America, the U.S. Surgeon General’s 2016 report on alcohol, drugs, and health.
Alcohol Addiction Fast Facts
- In 2015, 66.7 million people in the United States reported binge drinking in the past month.
- Alcohol misuse and alcohol use disorders cost the U.S. approximately $249 billion in lost productivity, healthcare expenses, law enforcement, and other criminal justice costs.
- Over 175 million persons 12 and older (65.7%) reported alcohol use in the past year, with over 66 million (24.9%) reporting binge drinking in the past month .
- Almost 8% of the population met the diagnostic criteria for a substance use disorder for alcohol or illicit drugs, and another 1% met diagnostic criteria for both an alcohol and illicit drug use disorder.
- Although 20.8 million people (7.8% of the population) met the diagnostic criteria for a substance use disorder in 2015, only 2.2 million individuals (10.4%) received any type of treatment.
Source: Facing Addiction In America, the U.S. Surgeon General’s 2016 report on alcohol, drugs, and health
Alcohol’s Effects on the Body
Drinking too much, whether occasionally or on a regular basis, can have a serious impact on your health. Alcohol abuse can increase your cancer risk and negatively affect your brain, heart, liver, and pancreas, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
Potential alcohol-related health risks:
- Interferes with the brain’s communication pathways
- Brain disruption can cause mood, behavior, coordination issues
- Cardiomyopathy (stretching and drooping of the heart muscle)
- Irregular heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Fatty liver
- Alcoholic hepatitis
- Pancreatitis (dangerous inflammation that prevents proper digestion)
- Multiple types of cancer
Clear patterns have emerged between alcohol consumption and the development of head and neck cancer, esophageal cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer, and colorectal cancer. The National Toxicology Program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services lists consumption of alcoholic beverages as a known human carcinogen. The research evidence indicates that the more alcohol a person drinks — particularly the more alcohol a person drinks regularly over time — the higher his or her risk of developing an alcohol-associated cancer. Based on data from 2009, an estimated 3.5 percent of all cancer deaths in the United States were alcohol-related.
Drinking too much can also weaken your immune system, making your body a much easier target for disease. Chronic drinkers are more liable to contract diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis than people who do not drink too much. Even drinking a lot on a single occasion slows your body’s ability to ward off infections — up to 24 hours after getting drunk.
Medical Detox for Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol withdrawal side effects start approximately six to 24 hours after your last drink. The severity of side effects is dependent on multiple factors, including the amount of alcohol consumed, medical history, co-occurring disorders, family history, and any past or current trauma.
Common alcohol detox symptoms:
A small percentage of patients may also experience more severe withdrawal symptoms, including hallucinations, fever, seizures, severe confusion, and agitation. Our treatment team is here to monitor and assist with these symptoms, using FDA-approved medications (including Naltrexone, Acamprosate, and Disulfiram) to help reduce alcohol-related cravings.
Malibu Alcohol Treatment: Why Seek Professional Help?
The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can occur suddenly and can intensify quickly. Quitting cold-turkey, without support, can be dangerous, and rarely results in extended success. Our professional treatment team is here to help with support and proven treatment methods.
At The Meadows Malibu, our clinical approach uses co-occurring disorder treatment to get to the root cause of substance abuse, addressing any mental health disorders along with your physical addiction to provide the best possible chance of true and lasting recovery.