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Alcohol Use Disorder

The effects of alcohol can be misleading as it’s often called, “a slow form of suicide”.

As I’ve stated in many of my posts, alcohol is much more accepted than illicit drugs, making it seem as if it is less dangerous.

Since prohibition was lifted in 1932, alcohol has caused extreme heartache and millions of deaths, despite being legalized. Not that I am a fan of prohibition, heavens NO! I’m just always surprised at how accepted it is until a drinker crosses the line of being unable to control themselves, then they are shamed as much as a drug user.

The marketing for alcohol is insane! It’s easy to see why it sometimes gets a free ride since there were 253 million in sales in 2019 alone- according to New Leaf Detox & Treatment center in California.

The video above and the next section are from – New Leaf Detox which I have no affiliation with or verification of services, but they have a lot of great information on their website.

"The industry spends a further $42 million annually lobbying state legislatures and donating to members of Congress. More than 300 professional lobbyists for the industry work in Washington DC. The result is the complicity of politicians, who otherwise oppose illicit drugs, pontificate about opioid addiction, and rave about punishing drug traffickers with the death penalty.- 


ALCOHOL USE DISORDER

The Pervasive Addiction

Alcohol Use Disorder or AUD is indiscriminate in its demographic reach, affecting people of all races, age, social and economic class, education, and gender, due to the singular reason that it, unlike other drugs, is legal. Its legal status accords tolerance to drinking and normalizes and erases the stigma of overconsumption. It is viewed as a glue for social bonding and fellowship, and as a ritual to mark celebrations including healthy, wholesome activities such as sports. Drinking is so ingrained and socially acceptable in our culture, that those who abstain from alcohol are the ones considered different and unconventional.

As alcohol manufacturers and purveyors actively market their products to persuade and convert non-drinkers to use alcohol, the number of Americans afflicted with AUD has risen. Alcoholism ranks behind nicotine as America’s leading addiction. Those most susceptible to the lures of alcohol are youth between the ages of 14 to 24.

AUD is a persistent, progressive disorder marked by an overpowering compulsion to use alcohol, an inability to control the amount consumed, and the necessity to drink to feel emotionally stable and positive. Afflicted individuals feel powerless to cease drinking despite its negative effect on their health, relationships, work, and school. Mild, moderate, or severe AUD is diagnosed when a person meets any 2 of 11 DSM-5 criteria over a 12 month period.

The general acceptance of drinking makes alcohol a highly profitable commodity for manufacturers and purveyors. In 2019, domestic alcoholic beverage sales reached $253 billion. The industry spends over $3 billion each year marketing liquor to Americans, half that amount on advertising. The rest is spent promoting the benefits of alcohol at music festivals, sports events, spring break, movie theaters, billboards, and social media. The goal of alcohol marketing is to protect market share from competitors, persuade people to switch brands, introduce new products, and most importantly, to attract new users—mostly young people.

The industry spends a further $42 million annually lobbying state legislatures and donating to members of Congress. More than 300 professional lobbyists for the industry work in Washington DC. The result is the complicity of politicians, who otherwise oppose illicit drugs, pontificate about opioid addiction, and rave about punishing drug traffickers with the death penalty.

Alcohol advertising to youth is strategically designed to persuade and groom young people to drink. The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found a pattern of alcohol advertising in magazines that had disproportionately youthful readers. Routinely, the ads glamorized drinking. The ads linked drinking to fun and good times, showed drinking near activities requiring concentration and coordination such as water sports, highlighted high alcohol content in products, equated drinking with popularity, and presented sexualized messages. Alcohol advertising in social media is also pervasive and designed to engage young people to interact with the messages through views, clicks, shares, and comments.

The Scale of Addiction

The numbers point to an urgent public health epidemic looming over the horizon. More than 18 million American adults suffer from AUD—75% men and 25% women. AUD is the leading cause of preventable death among adults, killing 75,000 men and 25,000 women each year.

Alcohol’s impact on kids is even more serious. More than 131,000 kids age 12-17 were arrested for liquor law violations in a year. More than 400,000 kids suffer from Alcohol Use Disorders—300,000 girls; 100,000 boys. Each year, nearly 5000 youth under 21 die in alcohol related deaths in car crashes, homicides, or suicides. For kids, drinking is a precursor to other problems including other drugs, risky activity, sexual activity, mental and emotional disorders, and future alcoholism.

The Scale of Addiction

The numbers point to an urgent public health epidemic looming over the horizon. More than 18 million American adults suffer from AUD—75% men and 25% women. AUD is the leading cause of preventable death among adults, killing 75,000 men and 25,000 women each year.

Binge Drinking

Binge drinking refers to excessive drinking in a short period—5+ drinks for men and 4+ drinks for women. The group most likely to indulge in binge drinking are American youth, mostly college students. Additionally, more than a third of college students nationwide engage in extreme drinking—10+ drinks for men and 8+ drinks for women.

The dangers of binge and extreme drinking go beyond progressive harm to physical health. According to a recent survey by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in addition to fatal outcomes, nearly 700,000 students age 18-24 had been assaulted by drunk students, 97,000 had been victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape, and a quarter of AUD students reported a slew of problems including academic failure and absence.

Binge and extreme drinking cause dangerous amounts of alcohol to surge through the bloodstream, forcing the shutdown of vital organs and functions. Alcohol poisoning and overdose can result in choking and vomiting, hypothermia, respiratory and heart failure, seizures, loss of consciousness, and death.

The effects of alcohol on the body accrue and contribute to a range of threats to physical health. They are a contributor to serious harms including fetal alcohol disorders, cardiovascular diseases, liver cirrhosis, cancers, hypertension, stroke, type 2 diabetes, mental health disorders, and accidental injuries.

Alcohol Use Disorder: The Pervasive Addiction

Heart

spikes blood pressure, increases risk of stroke & congestive heart failure, changes heart beat.

Alcohol Use Disorder: The Pervasive Addiction

Stomach

inflames stomach lining & causes pain.

Alcohol Use Disorder: The Pervasive Addiction

Blood

represses bone marrow, lowers white and red cell & platelet counts.

Alcohol Use Disorder: The Pervasive Addiction

Cancer

increases risk of mouth, throat, esophageal, breast, liver, and colorectal cancer

Alcohol Use Disorder: The Pervasive Addiction

Brain

Affects cognition and muscle coordination. Slurs speech, blurs vision, decreases reflex & reaction. Causes memory loss, increases risk of dementia, and fuels anxiety and depression.

Alcohol Use Disorder: The Pervasive Addiction

Immune System

lowers immunity to a host of diseases.

Alcohol Use Disorder: The Pervasive Addiction

Liver

depletes ability of the liver to rid itself of fat as it diverts attention to rid body of alcohol.

Alcohol Use Disorder: The Pervasive Addiction

Kidney

lowers hormones that enable circulation of water to the body.

Alcohol Use Disorder: The Pervasive Addiction

Central Nervous System

Wreaks havoc throughout the network including slowing and stopping breathing. Memory making portion of the brain that creates blackouts.

While the responsibility of committing to recover from alcohol addiction falls solely on those afflicted by the disorder, it is important to consider AUD in the context of contributing factors.

Your genetics, heredity, family, culture, and friends do affect your vulnerability to AUD. Parental neglect, poverty, adverse childhood experiences such as abuse or trauma, family members who drink, access to alcohol, and peer pressure all heighten the risk of AUD. Conversely, good parenting, stable family, and nurturing caregivers, relatives, teachers, and mentors can protect a person predisposed to AUD from affliction. Research has found that genes are at least half the reason why a person is susceptible to the disorder. Undiagnosed disorders such as depression, bipolar, ADHD, and anxiety may also compel people to self-medicate with alcohol.

But, AUD does not need to be a person’s inevitable fate. Despite genes and environment, or nature and nurture, learning behaviors to manage the risk can prevent a person from falling victim to this voracious addiction.

New Leaf Detox & Treatment for Drug Addiction
(I have no affiliation or verification of services)

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