The abuse of alcohol is one of the greatest weaknesses by majority of people around the word. The exact number of alcohol addicts varies in every country. In the US alone, a 2001 statistics shows that that almost half (48.3% or an estimated 109 million people) of all Americans aged 12 or older are being current drinkers of alcohol. It was approximate that there are 14 million Americans (4.7% of the population) meets the criteria for an alcohol abuse or alcoholism. In 2006, 40% of the nearly 1.8 million Americans admitted for treatment of alcohol and drug abuse to facilitieswere for alcohol treatment.
Experts suggest that alcohol abuse is a serious treat, but many societies seem to be very tolerant towards drunkards. In fact, alcohol drinking is a generally accepted social vice all over the world. People drink alcohol in almost every occasion – first job, promotion, wedding day, birth of a child, and among others. It is also claimed by most drinkers that alcohol is a common ‘cure’ for many social problems like family related problems, professional failures, depression, loneliness, lack of money and even failing in exams.
As an accepted social custom and tradition, there is nothing wrong with social drinking or drinking alcohol itself for any other reason. It becomes a problem when people do not know when to stop in which the consequences can be disastrous.
It is a common fact that alcohol has the ability to wreck havoc in one’s health by damaging the brain, heart, nervous system and other body’s internal organs. A scary statistics shows that 95% of alcoholics die from the alcohol illnesses and on average loses 26 years from their normal life expectancy. A scarier statistic revealed that 1 in 5 alcoholics who try to stop drinking without proper medical help die to alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
It also has the capacity to destroy or ruin family life as alcohol abuse can lead to quarrels, violence and even divorces. There is a higher possibility that a child raised from an alcoholic family can be emotionally disturbed or their physical development is retarded. It is estimated that 40% of alcoholism is passed from generation to generation through genes (the other 60% isa result of environment factors). In some cases, these children have the tendency to become heavy drinkers even before they reach the legal drinking age limit.
To make matters worse, many statistics reports indicate that alcohol abuse can be dangerous to public’s safety and order. In a recent report, a drastic increase in the number of crimes was committed under the influence of alcohol. The number of road related accidents can be directly related to drunk driving. A 20 percent car accident related to drunk driving is considered as a very low estimate. Other countries may go as high as 40% - 50%. And the worst part of this, it is difficult to estimate how many innocent people had already lost their lives or had been injured due to these accidents. Nearly 50% of people killed on the road are attributed to drunk drivers. And more than one third of pedestrians killed are drunk. And in addition, alcohol drinking is the one of the major contributor to nearly 40% of deaths in industry and 47% of injuries in the workplace.
In the past, majority of the alcohol addicts are hiding their addiction. Many people are unwilling to admit that they had undergone treatments in anti-alcohol centres. Being an alcohol addict is something very embarrassing and shameful act in which one should never mentioned nor be known in public.
But, those days are gone and this attitude had changed in today’s generation. More and more people are publicly admitting about their alcohol problem. Famous people who undergone a successful alcohol abuse therapy are now encouraging others to give up the bad habit. There now have many groups and centres established specifically catering alcoholics and anti-alcohol campaigns and education. Although many of these groups were not totally able to combat alcoholism, many are often successful in convincing alcoholics that “It is better to remain sober, than sorry!”
Sources: All facts and figures reflected on this article were taken on this site http://www.the-alcoholism-guide.org/ , particularly in these sections: