Alcohol’s Effects on Others
Alcohol addiction effects millions of people in the United States and is associated with severe medical and psychological complications. Alcohol’s effects on others are not isolated to the person suffering from alcohol addiction – family members, close friends, and even the public also endure the devastating impact of alcoholism in a variety of ways.
Effects of Drunk Driving
The CDC estimates that over 75 million Americans are impacted by alcoholism in some form. A person does not have to consume alcohol themselves to feel the negative impact of this mood-altering substance. Even the people who are not close to someone battling alcoholism still feel the effects of alcohol.
Research published in BMC Medicine indicated people who do not drink are affected by alcohol use via physical assaults and car accidents.
The CDC reports that in 2016 alone, more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-related crashes. They also found that 17% of the traffic deaths of children aged 0 to 14 years were caused by a driver under the influence of alcohol. Drunk driving is quite possibly the most serious way in which we can see alcohol’s effects on others. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a person dies from alcohol-related crashes every 48 minutes.
As a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) increases, their judgment becomes impaired, reaction time slows, and diminished muscle coordination occurs. These factors make it extremely dangerous to operate a motor vehicle, yet thousands of people choose to do so each year, putting the public at risk.
Effects of Drinking and Pregnancy
Another significant way we can see alcohol’s impact on others is fetal exposure during pregnancy. The BMC Medicine study revealed that Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is a significant problem. Nearly 30 percent of surveyed participants indicated that they consumed alcohol during pregnancy.
Children exposed to alcohol in utero are at an increased risk for prematurity, low birth weight, as well as heart, bone, or kidney issues at birth. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can sometimes have lifelong implications for the child, including, but not limited to, behavioral problems, developmental delays, and psychological problems.
The effects of interpersonal violence as a result of alcohol use are also profound. Multiple studies confirm that alcoholism is more than a personal issue; it is a public health issue as well. The social impact of alcohol use disorder can be difficult to measure. However, researchers at the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that interpersonal violence as a result of alcohol abuse causes more than 500,000 death annually and millions of non-fatal injuries.
Alcoholism and Family Relationships
The effects of alcoholism can be felt by everyone – even those who do not drink at all.
For family and friends who are close to a person battling alcohol addiction, dealing with the fallout is often difficult to handle. The psychological toll of alcoholism on families is enormous, and, according to research conducted by the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions, alcohol has the potential to destroy families. The study indicated that families who have dealt with alcoholism are more likely to have trouble forming and maintaining emotional bonds and are less expressive. In marriages, the impact is even more significant; in relationships where at least one partner has a problem with alcohol, couples are more likely to experience intense conflict when compared to couples where neither partner suffers from alcoholism.
In addition to strained family relationships, family members often struggle to cope with a loved one’s addictions on an individual level. Feelings of shame and guilt are common in families with at least one member who is battling alcoholism. In addition, family members of alcoholics often experience symptoms related to anxiety and depression stemming from verbal and sometimes physical outbursts.
For those dealing with alcohol’s effects on others, family relationships are further strained by those who choose to isolate themselves from loved ones. Alcoholics are more likely to separate themselves from the family to protect them, but this does little to heal strained family bonds.
Get Help From Trained Addiction and Recovery Professionals
If you or a loved one is suffering from alcoholism, and you feel your family is suffering as well, reach out to a qualified addition and recovery center for help. The professionals at SpringBoard Recovery are experienced in treating alcohol addiction with a comprehensive approach.
An award-winning treatment facility, SpringBoard Recovery, offers medically-supervised detox, complete medical and psychiatric care, behavioral therapy, and evidence-based treatment methods. The highly-trained staff at SpringBoard Recovery understand the importance of maintaining sobriety after treatment and offers ongoing aftercare. Contact SpringBoard Recovery to get started.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5114a2.htm
- The Fix: https://www.thefix.com/how-alcohol-can-harm-people-who-dont-drink
- BMC Medicine: https://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12916-019-1290-0
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/transportationsafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fmotorvehiclesafety%2Fimpaired_driving%2Fimpaired-drv_factsheet.html
- NHTSA: https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving
- KidsHealth: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/fas.html
- World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/world_report/factsheets/pb_violencealcohol.pdf
- University of Buffalo: https://www.buffalo.edu/cria/news_events/es/es12.html
- MedlinePlus: https://medlineplus.gov/alcoholusedisorderaud.html