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Tag Archives: alcohol abuse

Alcohol is Leading Cause of Death Internationally

Alcoholism 5Health officials are increasingly more concerned about the dangers of alcohol-related injuries. Alcohol-attributed mortality is becoming a public health concern as the death toll creeps up across the globe.

According to a Medical News Today report, data collected by the World Health Organization (WHO) attributes 2.5 million worldwide deaths each year to alcohol related causes. Injuries attributed to alcohol consumption such as vehicular accidents, falls, accidental drownings, and poisonings represent 33 percent of the disease burden caused by the drug’s use.

Despite these concerns, international government policies aimed at alcohol management receive limited attention. Meanwhile, research suggests that the rates for domestic violence, child abuse, worker absenteeism, disease, and fatal car accidents related to alcohol consumption continue to climb.

Binge drinking is rampant in countries such as Mexico, Brazil, Russia, South Africa, and Ukraine. The negative effects of the drug have led some nations to ban alcohol marketing and sponsorship of sports and other events. Health problems connected with alcohol consumption include liver disease, epilepsy, and many forms of cancer. The WHO Report maintains that countries can do more – such as impose an alcohol tax similar to that instituted by the tobacco industry – to prevent related injuries, disease, and death.

Young adults are especially at risk of negative consequences. For men between the ages of 15 and 59, alcohol is the leading cause of death worldwide. Men are at higher risk of hazardous drinking behaviors than women, and the number of men engaging in heavy, weekly drinking episodes is four times that of women.

While some people have no problem drinking responsibly, others clearly struggle. The more alcohol a person consumes, the higher the chances of becoming dependent. WHO figures estimate that 11 percent of worldwide drinkers participate in consistent, heavy drinking. Some people are able to self-manage excessive alcohol use before it evolves into addiction, but others may need additional help. The Family Guidance Center has resources for treatment for alcohol dependence or addiction. Though the factors for alcoholism are multi-faceted, help from mental health professionals and treatment plans based on a person’s goals can alter the outcome. Contact the Family Guidance Center for more information about Addiction Treatment Services.

Alcohol-Dependent Women at Twice the Risk of Early Death as Men

Alcoholism 4Research shows that biological differences may make women more susceptible to the effects of alcohol. For this reason, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines moderate drinking in women as one drink daily but can include up to two alcoholic beverages for men in a 24 hour cycle.

A Huffington Post article underscores women’s vulnerability to alcohol. Susan Foster, VP and Director of Policy Research and Analysis for CASAColumbia, states that when consuming similar amounts of alcohol as men, women experience higher instances of health problems and greater risk of addiction. Women also tend to be hospitalized more for alcohol use than men because of higher body fat compositions, which aid in alcohol retention in the bloodstream.

A German study sought to further explore the gender-based effects of alcohol’s toxicity. Researchers from the Institute of Epidemiology and Social Medicine at University Medicine Greifswald, Germany examined 149 men and women who met the criteria for alcoholism outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Health (DSM).

When compared to a control group, alcohol-dependent men had a death rate twice that of non-dependent peers, whereas women with dependency exhibited a death rate four times higher than the non-addicted group. In contrast to other members of the population, men and women with dependency were also shown to reduce their life expectancy by an average of 20 years.

During the follow-up research, dependent women were shown to be at a particularly greater risk for alcohol-related mortality. Fourteen years after the study elapsed, researchers discovered that 18 percent of men with alcoholism had died from the condition as opposed to 23 percent of women.

Oftentimes, there are underlying issues that contribute to dependency amongst women. Signs of problematic alcohol use include multiple failed attempts to stop drinking or cut back despite a desire to do so, and consuming in excess. With assistance from the Family Guidance Center, alcohol doesn’t have to dictate the course of one’s life. With a treatment strategy that’s customized and led by the inidividual’s goals,  those living with addiction can be free to experience long, healthy, and satisfying lives.

Elderly at Risk of Substance Abuse

Addiction 3For some, the golden years are anything but golden. In fact, they can be a time when many adults turn to substance abuse to deal with issues of anxiety and depression. Growing older and all the changes that come with it are not always pleasant, and without proper coping mechanisms, can lead to a higher risk for the abuse of alcohol or drugs.

The elderly deal with a range of issues that many of their younger counterparts have not yet had to experience. A number have lost their life partners and have struggled with intense loneliness. Others lack a sense of purpose upon retirement. Physical aches and pains and living on limited financial resources can also be a source of tremendous stress.

An article at Psych Central pointed out that in the five year period from 2002 to 2007, figures from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration show that the number of elderly adults engaging in illegal substance abuse has doubled. Experts are concerned about these increases as well as upsurges in the abuse of prescription drugs, which increased by nearly two percent from 2002 to 2009.

A survey originating from the Hanley Center, a rehab facility in Florida, revealed that close to 50 percent of respondents misused prescription medications and many others admitted to abusing drugs or alcohol. Dr. Barbara Krantz, the Hanley Center’s medical director, says that a number of factors come together at the same time, which pave the road for addiction.

According to the survey, 40 percent of participants said their dependency ensued as they approached the age of 50. Over 90 percent revealed that they had abused alcohol while nearly half reported misappropriation of prescription drugs.

The survey also showed that people often make the decision to get help based on the urgings of family. Because most substance abuse efforts target those who are young, many in the older generation tend to fall through the cracks. Family Guidance Center can help individuals and their families identify symptoms of underlying mental illness, such as depression or anxiety disorder, that may also coexist with substance abuse problems. For more information about services to help lead you out of dependency, including Addiction Treatment  services, contact the Family Guidance Center.