The New York Times (NYT) recently ran a piece – “America, Can We Talk About Your Drinking?” – which brought alcohol abuse back into the spotlight. It’s been in the shadows a bit due to our current opioid crisis, but that certainly doesn’t mean that it has gone away.
In fact, according to the NYT, alcohol overuse is responsible for as many as 88,000 deaths per year – more than 64,000 American lives were lost from drug overdose in 2016 – and deaths from cirrhosis, often linked to alcohol abuse, have been on the rise since 2006.
Binge drinking is also a growing problem, particularly among women, older Americans and minorities. This is especially bad news for women, who are more at risk of alcohol’s effects and almost twice as likely as men to have anxiety disorders, which they often self-medicate with alcohol.
Excessive and binge drinking often begins in college and continues through early adulthood with after-work happy hours. And as adults age and feel overwhelmed by family and work obligations, drinking becomes an instant stress reliever, noted the article.
According to the researchers and substance use clinicians interviewed, the growing intensity in the way Americans consume alcohol is a trend in the making. “Since the attacks on 9/11, we’ve been in a state of perpetual war, and a lot of us are traumatized by that,” Andrew Tatarsky, a clinical psychologist who specializes in treating substance use disorders, told the NYT.
What’s more, stigma is stopping many individuals from getting the help they need. “Many people are afraid even to discuss the topic with their doctors for fear of being labeled,” wrote the author. And while we are doing more to shy away from the term “alcoholic” – the proper term for problem drinking is alcohol use disorder, according to the DSM-V – there’s still a long way to go to prevent alcoholism from causing a devastating toll on many American families.
Getting Help for Alcohol Use Disorder
At Family Recovery Specialists, we can help you or someone you love to break the cycle of addiction and begin the journey of recovery. The longer problematic drinking persists, the more serious it becomes in the future. To learn more about our addiction treatment programs, call today: 305-595-7378.