Why is Alcohol Abuse Increasing?
During a time when discussions regarding the legalization of marijuana and the misuse of opioid drugs often take center stage, another problem is increasing throughout America. Recent statistics indicate that alcohol abuse is on the rise in the United States. What demographics are most affected by this increase and what can be done to curb this growing problem? Why are more people gravitating toward the misuse of alcohol?
How Do I Know if I’m Abusing Alcohol?
The abuse of alcohol is generally described as a pattern of drinking that involves consuming alcohol too frequently. Individuals who abuse alcohol may not be physically dependent on the substance, but they consume it frequently even when it affects their life in a negative manner. Many people who abuse alcohol find that their jobs, family relationships, and social life begin to suffer due to their frequent drinking patterns. When a person consumes alcohol regularly in spite of these detrimental effects in various areas of their life, it is safe to say they have a drinking problem.
According to recent surveys, overall alcohol use increased over 72% between 2012 and 2013. Additionally, studies have shown that alcohol use disorder has increased by almost 50%, affecting over 17 million Americans at this time. This clearly shows that the abuse of alcohol is growing at an alarming rate and confirms that the issue needs to be addressed promptly.
Populations Affected by Alcohol Misuse
Alcohol abuse is on the rise in the United States and minority groups and women especially seem to be vulnerable to the development of a problem with abusing alcohol. Researchers have tracked alcohol use in the United States over a recent eleven year period. They discovered that the rates of those abusing alcohol have increased across all demographic groups throughout the country. However, the biggest increase was seen in older adults, females, those of lower socio-economic status, and minorities.
Unfortunately, the scope of the issue with the abuse of alcohol remains largely unnoticed in many cases. Due to the seriousness of the misuse of both prescription and illegal substances, the abuse of alcohol seems to get swept under the rug. It may seem like a much lesser problem due to the severity of these other substances, but alcohol is much more readily accessible to most people and is available legally. It is important that the continued trend toward abusing alcohol is acknowledged and dealt with as a serious issue affecting over 30 million Americans today.
Why are the Numbers of Those Abusing Alcohol Increasing?
The increase in the misuse of alcohol is thought to be due in part to the economic recession that began in 2008. Many people use alcohol as a means of coping with stress. Job loss and economic strain caused by the recession most certainly resulted in a great deal of stress for many Americans. Individuals may also resort to alcohol use due to the fact that it is readily available, legal and fairly inexpensive.
What Can be Done to Curb this Growing Trend?
The abuse of alcohol creates many serious problems for the millions of those affected by it. It can result in difficulties maintaining employment, problems with relationships, and economic strain. The only way to see a reversal in this devastating trend to educate the public on the topic. Society as a whole must be aware of the existence of the problem. Additionally, those affected need to know that proper treatment options for alcohol addiction or misuse are available to help them overcome their problem.
Although the abuse of alcohol is a growing trend in the United States at this time, hope is not lost. We can begin to unravel this problem by addressing it head-on and beginning a widespread educational campaign to help those affected deal with it properly.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/health-strategies/substance-misuse/index.html
- Harvard Health Publishing: https://www.health.harvard.edu/addiction/alcohol-abuse
- WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/what-is-alcohol-abuse#1
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/understanding-alcohol-use-disorder
- New York Post: https://nypost.com/2021/02/18/alarming-alcohol-abuse-rising-under-covid-19-lockdown-study/
- familydoctor.org: https://familydoctor.org/condition/alcohol-abuse/
- National Institute on Drug Abuse: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/misuse-prescription-drugs/overview#:~:text=Misuse%20of%20prescription%20drugs%20means,i.e.%2C%20to%20get%20high).
- National Institute on Alc0hol Abuse and Alcoholism: https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/AA85/AA85.htm#:~:text=One%20way%20that%20people%20may,its%20effects%20by%20drinking%20alcohol.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm