Alcohol: The Great Deceiver
The Illusion of Alcohol
There are always bright spots in any beginning. Euphoric feelings and loss of inhibitions give rise to a feeling of invincibility. That is the way alcohol grabs you. But the punch line is that it never lets go. Little things, subtle at first, force you to want more and more, until you are so caught up in the game that alcohol plays with your body and your mind, that you don’t know where to turn. In the end, you always lose.
Alcohol: Still the Most Addictive Drug
The addiction capabilities of alcohol is clear. When we look at how much people are choosing to drink, it’s no wonder there are so many people falling victim to it. According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH), over the past year, 59.6% of women and 71.8% of men took at least one drink.
Here are some other statistics involving alcohol abuse: (CDC)
- Binge Drinkers
- 28.8% for women; 43.1% for men
- Average Drinks
- 48.2% for women; 28.7% for men
- Heavy Drinking
- 21.9% for women; 42.3% for men
- 22.5% for women; 11.6% for men
As we see from the above study from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the percentage of binge drinkers (people who consumed at least 4 or 5 drinks within 2 hours at least once) was 28.8% of women and 43.1% of men. When asked how many drinks they consumed on an average drinking day, 48.2% of women had 1 drink, 28.7% of men had only 1 drink. Of those consuming at least 2 drinks on a drinking day, it was 29.9% of women and 29.0% of men. The 3-drink crowd was: 21.9% of women and 42.3% of men. These statistics indicate that men are generally heavier drinkers than women, on average, choosing to have more drinks than women do, on an average day. Less women engaged in binge drinking. The average seemed to be consuming around 2 drinks on a drinking day for both genders. When we look at the heaviest drinking (those who consumed 3 or more drinks per day), men seemed to pick up the pace again.
Abstaining is Rare for Both Genders
When it comes to abstaining from alcohol completely, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reports that women lead that with 22.5% and men with 11.6%, showing a higher percentage of women than men who choose never to drink.
So it is clear that both men and women rarely abstain from drinking alcohol on a drinking day, and if they do drink, they seem to drink more than the average person should, though men beat women by several percentage points in the heavy drinking. This kind of over-indulgence in alcohol can quickly lead to a mental and physical dependence. This is how the vicious cycle begins.
Like any addiction, the dependency on alcohol begins slowly and increases in intensity over time. People in the beginning always think they can quit anytime. Then that day comes when they realize they cannot quit on their own. They are embarrassed by their problem, but don’t want to seek help, and this leads to depression. And depression sometimes leads to suicide.
Deaths Due to Alcohol
There are approximately 80,000 deaths each year, due to alcohol abuse. Among the other problems caused by overuse of alcohol, its abuse also leads to a number of physical injuries, falls, violent episodes, and other incidents due to the power it has over its abuser. About 35% of abused people from alcohol-induced acquaintances report that the person who abused or attacked them was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident. Risky sexual behaviors and other resulting behaviors from alcohol abuse top the list in things that could be avoided if the person involved had not consumed as much alcohol at the time.
Psychological Results and Suicide
Psychological problems are often the result of excessive use of alcohol, including anxiety, depression, and suicide. The tendency to want to do harm to self while under the influence of alcohol is commonplace once the drug has had time to take its toll. Of some of these, the taking of one’s own life may not always be intentional, but rather the result of alcohol poisoning, which is an intolerance for the amount of alcohol in the person’s body which sets up lethal toxins in their body and can be fatal. Others willingly take their own lives, because they realize they are addicted to alcohol and feel there is no way out.
According the The Medical Observer, almost 18% of a study group of young people who drank while they felt depressed reported a suicide attempt in the past year at the time of the study. (Medical Observer, 2009) Other studies confirm that there is a high correlation between suicide and the overuse and abuse of alcohol. The inferences we can make are that some who might already be contemplating suicide may feel more depressed while drinking, causing them to want to end it even more. Also, drinking makes people lose the inhibitions and rational thought they have when not drinking, thus making their tendency for a suicide attempt more likely.
Alcohol abuse takes its toll on so many families and individuals, resulting in loss of jobs, loss of relationships, loss of health, and loss of life each year. Chemical dependency is a real problem in the United States and in the world. More information is needed to alert people to the dangers of an overindulgence of alcohol. Alcohol is still considered the most addictive drug. It is also the most easily accessible, so it is more widely abused.
Alcohol is very addicting. It can happen when people think they have control over their drinking habits, and before they even realize what has happened. But there is help to be found. The best cure though, is prevention. Talk to everyone you know about the dangers and addictive qualities of alcohol, before they become enslaved to its power. Learn the facts. Alcohol is highly addictive. The statistics speak for themselves. Don’t become another statistic.