Six Important Statistics About Alcoholism In the United States
There are several ways that someone can become addicted to alcohol. There are approximately 18 million individuals within the United States who abuse alcohol on a daily basis. In addition, many more individuals are engaged in occasional binge drinking that is also dangerous. These individuals probably wonder what causes their drinking problem, and experts have collected information to help everyone understand more about alcoholism. Here are some of the statistics concerning alcohol addiction in the United States.
Statistic 1: How Much Alcohol Consumption Is Normal?
Researchers believe that normal alcohol consumption is no more than 14 drinks a week for males and seven drinks per week for females. Women who consume more than three alcoholic beverages a day are at risk of becoming addicted to alcohol while men who drink more than four alcoholic beverages a day are at risk. The difference between males and females is based on their average body weight with men typically having a larger size. Females also assimilate alcohol differently because their hormone levels change rapidly.
Statistic 2: Genetic Tendency Toward Having an Addiction
Scientists have studied the genetic structures of the family groups that have a lot of addictions, especially to alcohol. It is common to hear that several generations in a family have suffered from alcoholism, and researchers have found abnormalities in some family group’s genetic structures. Statistically, experts believe that an individual’s genes are responsible for alcoholism 50 percent of the time, but there are often other factors that lead to substance abuse.
Statistic 3: Associating With Other Drinkers
When someone associates with other drinkers most of the time, they are more likely to become alcoholics. When an individual has friends and coworkers who drink a lot of alcohol, he may want to belong to the crowd, leading to excessive alcohol consumption. In some cases, drinking is a social behavior that begins at a young age, but it can continue into adulthood. When someone won’t drink beer or wine with her friends, she may be treated as an outcast, leading to isolation.
Statistic 4: Having a Mental Disorder
If an individual has a mental disorder such as anxiety or depression, then she is more likely to consume too much alcohol. Alcoholism combined with a mental disorder is considered a coexisting condition, making it more difficult to overcome the problem. When an individual is taking medications for her mental disorder, drinking alcohol can lead to serious complications. In addition, when this individual stops drinking, it is more difficult to withdrawal from the chemicals in alcohol.
Statistic 5: Availability Of Alcoholic Beverages
When alcoholic beverages are easily available, an individual will drink frequently. If an individual lives in a home where alcohol isn’t locked up, then he may begin to sneak small drinks throughout the day. In addition, when someone lives in a neighborhood that has several liquor stores and bars, he has fast access to alcoholic beverages at anytime of the night or day. Alternatively, if it is difficult to buy alcohol, then an individual is less likely to become a heavy drinker.
Statistic 6: Differences In Brain Structure
New medical images suggest that alcoholics may have differences in their brain structures. This can lead to changes in the brain’s chemistry, including the hormones that make someone feel soothed or happy. Some physicians have performed autopsies on the bodies of alcoholics to determine if their brains have damage. Some of the brains revealed damage in certain areas of the brain, and many alcoholics have a deficiency in thiamine, causing a mood disorder such as depression.
Scientists Want to Learn More About the Causes of Alcoholism
There are many reasons why someone becomes addicted to alcohol, and it is possible for an individual to have more than one cause for becoming an alcoholic. In the past, physicians believed that alcoholism was a choice, with many alcoholics becoming too weak to overcome their addictions. Today, researchers are trying to learn more about what causes an addiction to alcohol. With more research, it is possible that scientists will find better treatments for alcoholism that include medications or surgery to improve an alcoholic’s brain chemistry.