While alcohol can be the life of the party, having one too many drinks can more often than not turn your memorable experience into a regretful one. Recent studies have found that alcohol dependency among Americans has risen significantly within the past five years. It’s time to take a deeper look into why this shift may be happening.
Alcohol Abuse is On The Rise
Alcohol has been established as the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States: 17.6 million people — or 1 in every 12 adults — suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence. Millions more partake in risky behavior that also carries the potential to develop into alcohol problems in the future.
Every day, nearly 29 people die in alcohol-impaired vehicle crashes in the United States — that was one person every 50 minutes in 2016.
This is where much speculation takes place. Since 2015, there’s been a 29% increase in the number of Americans who are alcohol dependent. What’s even more shocking is that 65% of those individuals are 65 years of age and older. Many worry this could be highlighting an important issue within elderly communities.
35.2% of the population affected by the rise in high-risk drinking are living below $19,999 annual income. Some behavioral researchers believe that individuals living under the poverty line are more susceptible to depending on drugs or alcohol to deal with their life stressors than Americans with higher incomes.
Binge-drinking amongst people ages 18–24 has also seen a spike in the past decade. Schools have attempted to intervene by implementing alcohol education programs into their admissions requirements but unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be making much of an impact. While it’s a step in the right direction, studies show that the college binge-drinking culture is still as prevalent as ever.
How to Know If You Someone is Alcohol Dependent
As drug and alcohol dependence has risen, it’s important to know what alcohol-dependent behavior looks like in order to be able to identify the signs. Below are common indicators of someone who may be slipping into the dangerous path of alcohol abuse.
Signs & Symptoms of alcohol dependence include:
- Drinking more alcohol to alleviate withdrawal symptoms
- Often begin drinking upon waking up
- Strong & sudden cravings for alcohol
- Feeling anxious to get alcohol if you want it & don’t have it
- Often drinking while at work or school
- Experiencing frequent “blackouts”
Alcohol & Vehicle Deaths
Alcoholism is a problem on its own but when you put a drunk person behind the wheel the results can be catastrophic. In 2017 alone there were an estimated 40,100 motor vehicle deaths (NSC) and in 2016, alcohol-impaired crash fatalities accounted for 28% of all crash fatalities in the U.S.
After the shock of a crash subsides, the feelings of anger and resentment for a preventable accident can be unbearable for everyone and can make recovery that much harder to accept. If you’ve been in an accident and one of the drivers involved was impaired, it’s important you speak with an attorney to handle the whole litigation process while you focus on your recovery.