Interesting Statistics Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol was discovered by accident tens of thousands of years ago, even before agriculture began. Stone beer mugs that our caveman ancestors used have been discovered, and it’s likely that it wasn’t long after alcohol was discovered that the first alcoholics appeared. We will never know how Neolithic societies deal with drunks, if they did at all, but it’s likely that the abbreviated lifespans of people of the time probably prevented any of alcohol’s long term health problems of becoming evident.

How wild grain found itself in water to become fermented will never be known, but it is rather interesting to note that grapes naturally come covered in mold, yeast, and bacteria that promote fermentation, and that without these contaminants, humans may never have begun to drink wine.

What You May or May Not Know about Alcoholism

While alcohol is often placed in a different abuse category than street drugs or misused prescription medications, the fact that it is legal for those over a certain age to use does not mean that it is not a major societal problem. Alcohol addiction is a problem found in every country of the world – even those that ostensibly forbid alcohol – and has a negative impact not only on families, but on entire communities and nations. Alcohol addiction is now often characterized as Alcohol Use Disorders, or AUDs.

  • We are a nation of drinkers – over 85% of the population has used alcohol at some time in their life, and problem alcohol addicts account for approximately 20% of us.
  • Only about 5% of alcoholics will actually avoid alcohol for the rest of their lives, even after rehab. The dropout rate for AA is 75%.
  • Vehicular accidents maim and kill tens of thousands of people a year, and drunk drivers are responsible for about one third of these tragedies.
  • Roadway accidents are not the only way that alcohol damages lives, it contributes to over 80% of murders, 70% of child abuse (particularly beatings), 82% of wife beating cases, and almost 75% of all serious crime.
  • Although it is often thought that alcohol addiction is more prevalent among the lower socioeconomic groups, the reverse is actually true – people with a respectable income and good education are more likely to become alcoholics. However, people in the upper income stratum are less likely to create public disturbances or commit crimes while inebriated.
  • Parents who are alcoholic should recognize that their children are four times more likely to also become alcoholics than are children growing up in non-alcoholic households.
  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders affect the children of alcoholic mothers. This syndrome can cause not only mental aberrations such as hyperactivity, retardation, and mood changes, but FASD also interferes with the physical development of the child, such as vision problems, joint defects, incomplete development of head and face. The cost of medical and rehabilitative care for the 40,000 babies born with this annually is over $5 billion.
  • Binge drinking involves men consuming 5 alcoholic drinks, and women 4, in less than 2 hours’ time. The object of binge drinking appears to be to get as drunk as possible in a short period of time. While teens and college students are often thought to be the worst offenders, it is actually adults, and those who have a high income level, who are actually most likely to indulge in binge drinking. That being said, about 90% of the drinking behavior of people under the age of 21 is binge drinking.
  • The cost of alcohol to the United States is profound, with alcohol putting an economic burden on the country of approximately $224 billion every year.
  • AUDs now are the third leading cause of death in America, right after heart attacks and cancer. Worldwide statistics show that nearly 4% of all the deaths that occur during the course of a year are due in some way to alcohol.
  • Alcohol use by young people is more likely to lead to the use of illegal drugs – teens who drink have a 50 times greater chance to begin using cocaine than do their peers who do not drink, and a third of heavy drinkers also use street drugs.
  • While proportionately more men than women are alcohol addicted (women are fast catching up, however), not only will women develop AUDs more quickly than will men, they will also die sooner from alcohol abuse than men will. Women who drink heavily put themselves at a greater risk of developing breast cancer.

A Glass of Wine for Your Heart?

The news that a glass of red wine daily can help prevent heart attacks certainly must have come as good news to those who are looking to justify their alcohol consumption on the basis of health. However, for those who do not drink alcoholic beverages, as well as those who are recovering alcoholics, it has been shown that purple grape juice is just as good as red wine for cardiac health. In fact, the absence of alcohol allows the most important components, the flavonoids, to remain in the body longer to do their work.

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