Addiction to alcohol has mild to severe consequences towards the health and well-being of the alcoholics and, to a certain extent, the individuals surrounding them. The issue is very serious such that the problem is actively monitored by concerned agencies and continually explored by health researchers.
Statistics about Alcohol Addiction
The magnitude of the drinking problem extends to about 8% of the population in the United States. The effects of alcohol addiction are not just confined with the alcoholic individual; instead, these effects ripple outward encompassing family and friend circles and even communities surrounding the individual. This rippling effect makes alcohol addiction a serious issue that needs to be addressed so that the risk of spreading the problem is minimized.
On a more specific note, about one in four children aged 18 years old and below are exposed to physical or psychological abuse related to alcohol. Alcohol dependence within the family also ends up in domestic violence which can be very challenging to track. As more individuals become alcoholic, the risk of spreading the addiction is accelerated to an alarming rate. The consequences for health and well-being of alcoholics are even more pronounced.
Health Risks Associated with Alcohol Addiction
Scientists have long documented the physical, psychological, and behavioral effects of moderate to excessive alcohol drinking. Certain organs of the body are badly affected by alcohol consumption. In addition, a long list of literature provides the proper documentation of the onset of a variety of health issues arising from this addiction.
Development of cardiovascular diseases is a particular health risk associated with alcohol consumption. Liver cirrhosis is also among the most common diseases. For pregnant women having this addiction, the risk of fetal abnormalities increases significantly.
Aside from the diseases directly associated, the use and abuse of alcohol also contribute to violent and unwieldy behaviors leading to vehicular accidents, injuries, and even fatalities. For work professionals, productivity can be influenced significantly by habitual absenteeism. Erratic behavior is also developed which complicates the working environment.
Stages of Alcoholism
Alcohol consumers are classified into low, moderate, and heavy drinkers depending on the amount consumed per day. Guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) suggest that moderate drinking is limited to two standard-size drinks per day for men and one standard-size drink per day for women.
Below these limits, the alcohol consumer is said to maintain a low drinking habit which could potentially provide health benefits. Beyond these limits, on the other hand, the alcoholic individual is said to be a heavy drinker and is more likely to experience the negative health effects with greater intensity.
As defined, a standard-size drink is measured to be 0.5 ounce. Alcohol content of this volume is measured to be 15 grams. For beer, this content is equivalent to 12 ounces (35 milliliters); for wine, this is equivalent to 5 ounces (148 milliliters). The stronger 80-proof distilled spirits, on the other hand, would only take 1.5 ounce (44 milliliter) to contain the same amount of alcohol.
Effects of Alcohol Addiction
Published in the Home and Garden Bulletin of the USDHHS, epidemiologic evidence shows that heavy drinkers of alcohol are introduced to a great number of health problems. Nonetheless, certain cases suggest rather contrasting evidence since abstaining or withdrawing from alcohol addiction could potentially increase the risk of experiencing the negative effects on health. This pattern is best described by a J-shaped curve where heavy drinkers trying to abstain from drinking have increased risks compared to low and moderate drinkers who would not experience any changes in the risk levels.
Alcohol addiction is a longstanding issue affecting the health of the individual and the welfare of the people surrounding the alcoholic. Due to the negative effects of the problem, possible solutions to alleviate the effects of addiction are better educative campaigns and imposition of heavier penalties.