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Alcohol Abuse Facts – Are You Abusing Alcohol?

Lisa Taylor
Lisa TaylorAddiction Counsellor

Imagine you are a judge presiding over a criminal court. One of your jobs in ensuring a fair trial is to make sure that only facts are entered as evidence. The idea is that facts must determine guilt or innocence rather than emotion, innuendo, or lies. Without reliable facts, there can be no decision that could be rendered true justice. Now let us take that example and compare it to alcohol abuse. To start with, are you abusing alcohol? If you were standing before a court having to defend your drinking habits, how would you respond? What do the facts say about how much you drink and how often?

Alcohol abuse facts compiled by various agencies clearly indicate we have a serious problem requiring serious solutions. Far too many people show signs of alcohol abuse or addiction, and many of them will never seek treatment at any point in their lives. Furthermore, alcoholism is not something that discriminates based on age, sex, economic status, ethnicity, or any other factor. A person who drinks out of habit is in danger of becoming an alcohol abuser and eventually an alcoholic.

Before we go any further in discussing your potential problem, consider these alarming alcohol abuse facts from the Alcohol Education Trust:

  • alcohol is a factor in 20-30% of all accidents
  • alcohol abuse is a factor in 30% of all suicides
  • 22% of emergency admissions in England were alcohol-related in 2009
  • 492 people died from alcohol poisoning in the UK in 2013
  • in 2013, the UK saw 5,565 alcohol-related deaths among men and 2,851 among women
  • 260 people were killed in drink-drive accidents in 2013, accounting for 15% of the total in Great Britain
  • up to 15% of 15-16 year-olds have suffered an alcohol-related injury
  • 26% of the deaths among males from 16 to 24 years old are attributable to alcohol; the number among females is 23%
  • 6% of males between the ages of 16 and 24 consume more than 50 units of alcohol per week; 3% of women the same age consume more than 35 units of alcohol per week.

If you are at all concerned about the alcohol problem in the UK, these alcohol abuse facts should disturb you. To know so many people abuse alcohol is bad enough. To know that the abuse is leading to unnecessary injuries and deaths – and particularly suicides – is even more troubling.

The most important alcohol abuse fact is this: nothing good can come out of misusing or abusing alcohol. Nothing. Our culture and society may continue living as though alcohol is not a problem we need to be concerned about, but the facts say otherwise. We have a big problem that requires a major effort among all of us to solve. And that brings us back to you and the question of whether or not you are abusing alcohol.

Honestly Look at the Signs

We have already looked at some of the facts and figures related to drinking among the general population. But there are additional alcohol abuse facts that may apply to you as an individual. For example, it is a known fact that alcohol in the bloodstream causes the brain to produce the endorphins that are responsible for creating the feelings of pleasure associated with drinking. If enough alcohol is consumed in a single session, those endorphins create the condition of intoxication.

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How often do you get drunk? Are you a person who thinks nothing of binge drinking every weekend? Or perhaps you spend several hours at the pub every night after work, drinking between 4 and 5 pints of beer with your friends. Drunkenness might be part of your routine. If so, here is another fact: you are an alcohol abuser.

There are certain signs and symptoms associated with alcohol abuse that any trained professional can identify. If you were to call us for an alcohol evaluation, we would ask you a series of questions based on something known as the Alcohol Dependence Scale. Each of those questions has a rating from 0 to 4 that is applied based on your answer. Your total score is tallied to determine how far up the scale you are. The higher you score, the more serious your problem is.

Each of the questions in the survey is directly related to one of the signs of alcoholism. For example, how many times during the last year have you consumed more than five units of alcohol in a single session if you are a male, or three units of alcohol if you are a female? Doing so on a regular basis is a sign that you are an alcohol abuser.

Another question in the survey asks how often in the last year you have forgotten events that took place while you were under the influence. Why ask that question? Because it is a known fact that people who are intoxicated tend to suffer memory lapses. If you frequently forget what happens while you are drinking, it is a sign that you may be an alcohol abuser.

Be Proactive about Your Problem

At the end of the day, alcohol abuse facts do not lie. There are thousands of people all across the UK who are injured or die every year as a result of drinking. That means there are undoubtedly tens of thousands of additional alcohol abusers who either manage to get away without hurting themselves or do not bother to report their injuries. Either way, there are far too many alcohol abusers in our midst.

We do not relate these alcohol abuse facts for the purposes of shaming or scaring you. Rather, we simply want to inject some reality into the discussion. Ignoring the truth about alcohol abuse will not solve the problem; it will only make it worse. That is not what we want for you. It is not what we want for anyone who contacts us.

We encourage you to be proactive if there is any possibility you have a drinking problem. The best thing you can do right now is to contact us to receive a comprehensive evaluation of your drinking habits. If you don't have a drinking problem, we would love the opportunity to set your mind at ease. If you do have a problem, we need to figure out whether you are an alcohol abuser or an alcoholic. What we determine will decide how you can best be treated.

For the record, we are an independent organisation offering free advice and treatment referrals. Our independence allows us to research all of the possible treatment options on your behalf, without being tied to a single rehab clinic or treatment methodology. When you contact us, you can expect trained and compassionate counsellors who are ready to help in any way they can.

Be proactive about your drinking problem. Get in touch with us so that we can connect you with the appropriate resources. Don't become the next alcohol statistic we end up reporting on our website.

Sources:

1. Alcohol Education Trust – http://www.alcoholeducationtrust.org/teacher-area/facts-figures/

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