By Devon Tolliver, Manager, Marketing and Member Communications
The relationship between humans and alcohol is a complicated one. From prohibition to MTV’s spring break, American society has reached extremes on the alcohol-related spectrum. This has led to countless studies and an entire month dedicated to the awareness of issues concerning alcohol. Though moderate alcohol use may reduce the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and other health issues, excessive alcohol consumption, both in the form of heavy drinking or binge drinking, can lead to numerous health problems. This month is Alcohol Awareness Month, and we have compiled general information to help inform you, friends and loved ones on responsible consumption.
What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism is a disease. Four symptoms of alcoholism are craving (having a strong need, or urge, to drink), loss of control (not being able to stop drinking once it has begun), physical dependence (withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety after stopping drinking), and tolerance (the need to drink greater amounts of alcohol to get “high”).
Alcoholism in the U.S.:
- Excessive alcohol use led to approximately 88,000 deaths and 2.5 million years of potential life lost (YPLL) each year in the United States from 2006 – 2010.
- Excessive drinking was responsible for 1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults aged 20-64 years.
- The economic costs of excessive alcohol consumption in 2006 were estimated at $223.5 billion, or $1.90 a drink.
Short-Term and Long-Term Health Risks of Excessive Alcohol Consumption:
- Injuries, violence, alcohol poisoning, miscarriage.
- High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, digestive problems, cancer.
- Learning and memory problems, including dementia and poor school performance.
- Mental health problems, including depression and anxiety.
- Social problems, including lost productivity, family problems, and unemployment.
- Alcohol dependence, or alcoholism.
Ways to Stay Safe:
If you choose to drink, do so in moderation; no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men. Do not drink if you: are pregnant or trying to become pregnant; have been diagnosed with alcoholism or alcohol abuse; have liver or pancreatic disease; have heart failure or told you have a weak heart; take medications that can interact with alcohol; had a hemorrhagic stroke. Never drink and drive.
Connected Health Resources:
- Stop Drinking Alcohol App by Oristats (Google Play). This app helps those who are looking to quit drinking with motivational quotes and tracks the number of days sober.
- AlcoDroid Alcohol Tracker by Myrecek (Google Play). This app helps you get a better handle of what you drink and change your drinking habits.
- Stop Drinking with Andrew Johnson by Michael Schneider (Apple, Google Play). English hypnotist and stress-management coach Andrew Johnson brings relaxation techniques and visualization tools to alcohol addiction recovery.
- 12 Steps AA Companion By Dean Huff (Apple, Google Play). This app is a sobriety tool available for members of Alcoholics Anonymous.
- Breeze by Breathometer. This device transforms your smartphone wirelessly into a breathalyzer providing dependable blood alcohol concentration levels.
- Am I Alcoholic? Test – This self-test by the NCADD (National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence) can help you determine if you or someone you know needs to find out more about alcoholism.