Alcohol Use

Celebration and alcohol use have become associated with one another in a cultural sense and a traditional sense. By the time you are a young adult, you have probably seen beer at the local professional sports arena, wine at a cousin’s wedding, liquor at the family reunion, or spiked eggnog at the annual Christmas party. So it isn’t a wonder why we might find teens drinking after their first prom or their high school graduation party. And we aren’t perplexed when there is an influx of drivers under the influence on St. Patrick’s Day weekend. The celebrations seem to ramp up in the wake of spring. What are the cost of maintaining these traditions?  And how big of a problem is it really?

            Socio Cultural Aspect of Alcohol Use

A survey produced by The Social Issues Research Center compiled sociological studies related to the cultural aspect of alcohol consumption, they summarized consistent features throughout these studies. There are two key features to point out:

  1. Alcohol has played a central role in almost all human cultures since Neolithic times (about 4000 BC). All societies, without exception, make use of intoxicating substances, alcohol being by far the most common.
  2. Alcohol-related problems are associated with specific cultural factors, relating to beliefs, attitudes, norms and expectations concerning drinking.
            National Use

According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 86.4 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they drank alcohol at some point in their lifetime; 70.1 percent reported that they drank in the past year; 56.0 percent reported that they drank in the past month.

                Associated Problems

The NIAAA (National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) reports an estimated 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. The first is tobacco, and the second is poor diet and physical inactivity.

               Drunk Driving

Incidences of harm are not limited to the death. According to MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) 800 people a day are injured in a crash involving a driver under the influence of Alcohol.

South Carolina Ranked 2nd for DUI Related Deaths:

                  Youth Use

According to the 2015 NSDUH, 58.0 percent of full-time college students ages 18–22 drank alcohol in the past month compared with 48.2 percent of other persons of the same age.  37.9 percent of college students ages 18–22 reported binge drinking in the past month compared with 32.6 percent of other persons of the same age.

Alcohol use during the teenage years could interfere with normal adolescent brain development and increase the risk of developing Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). Underage drinking also contributes to other consequences, including injuries, sexual assaults, and deaths.

NIH-funded rodent study finds molecular link between adolescent alcohol use and adult anxiety

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                 Alcohol Use Disorder

Along with teenage use, there are several sociological, psychological, environmental, and biological risk factors for developing AUD. An estimated 16 million people in the United States have AUD, according to the NIAAA.  A health professional can conduct a formal assessment of your symptoms to see if AUD is present.  Most people with AUD can benefit from treatment.

Why Shame Keeps Patients from Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment