Addiction series: alcohol

Antonia Gutierrez, Staff Writer

Alcohol addiction is one of the most infamous addictions. Alcohol itself has been around for a very long time. Alcoholism is a very serious disease that has many side effects. It can affect the brain and people’s neurochemistry to the point where they can no longer control themselves.
One reason as to why alcohol is so dangerous is because of its popularity. Another factor is the fact that it is legal, unlike other addictive drugs and substances. Although there are laws in place to help protect people, some are willing to break those laws.
Young teenagers are having an easier time accessing it and potentially developing addictions to it at a young age. People of all ages can suffer from alcoholism. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), “Approximately 14.8 million people age 12 or older had an alcohol use disorder.”
In order to be considered an alcoholic, men can have up to fourteen drinks per week and women up to seven drinks per week. Anything more can be considered alcoholism.
There are many symptoms that an alcoholic might show. Of course, all cases are different. Some of them include increased use and frequency of use, higher tolerance for alcohol, avoiding settings without alcohol, hiding alcohol, emotional issues, legal issues and the most known one is a dependency on alcohol to function in their day to day lives.
Alcohol can also lead to many health complications down the road including ulcers, diabetes, vision issues, sexual problems, bone loss, liver damage and an increased risk of getting cancer. Pregnant women are advised to not drink as it can lead to many different birth defects in babies.
One must also remember that not everyone who drinks alcohol is an addict, but alcohol on a moderate level can lead to serious accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drunk driving takes 28 lives every day in the United States.
Drinking has also been linked to a higher risk of committing suicide and homicide. Driving under the influence can get you into a lot of trouble. The average cost of a DUI is around $10,000. This can be lower or higher depending on where you live.
There are a lot of programs that are trying to help with the rising problem. Many schools around the country have an “Every 15 Minutes” program that helps raise awareness for drinking and driving. In this program, students witness a simulation of someone’s death and funeral due to a drunken driver.
The most popular support group is Alcoholics Anonymous. It was founded in 1935 and has acted as one of the largest addiction support and recovery programs for the past 85 years. It focuses on the 12 Step Program that helps addicts overcome their addictions. It is the most affordable way to help addicts since there is no fee, only the desire to help those suffering from alcoholism.
Rehab is another program that can help alcoholics. There are many facilities around the country dedicated to helping addicts overcome their addictions and build better habits for the future.
Addictions tend to worsen over time, which leads to worse actions and potentially life-altering mistakes. It is best to try to catch it early on and help and support those who may be suffering from any addiction.