According to the National Survey of Drug Use and Health, about 21.5 million adult Americans battle with substance use disorder. About 80% of those who are struggling with substance abuse disorder are abusing alcohol. Most don’t even see it as a problem, as alcohol use in America has been normalized and is socially acceptable. Risky alcohol use behavior is considered anything over 14 drinks per week for men, and over 7 drinks per week for women, according to the NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism).
Those who are near or over this amount don’t see it as a problem and are in general denial of their over usage, its health implications, and their addiction or dependency onset. You see, two-thirds of the adult population in the U.S. drink alcohol regularly. Twenty-five percent of the U.S. population binge drinks (drinking more than 4 to 5 drinks in a 2-hour period). Five percent of the American population has Alcohol Use Disorder according to the Mayo Clinic.
That five percent generally does see the social consequences and the legal consequences of their alcohol use. Alcoholic behavior isn’t socially acceptable, and it does interfere with an individual’s life, social status, work, sleep, health, and often their freedom in the case of drunk driving, disorderly conduct, fighting, or abusive behavior which often is a result of too much drinking.
Why Many Alcoholics Don’t Realize They Have a Dependency Problem
Some folks may not see or even be aware of their alcohol problem, as they never really get drunk. For those who gradually increase their consumption, their bodies build up a tolerance, so they never appear to have a problem on the outside. Yet, if they don’t have a drink every day, they don’t feel good and can’t function at optimum. This is a sure sign of dependency. Now mind you, these are fully functioning people, you’d never even realize it, and often, nor do they.
Since they have a drink or two or three every day, they function fine on the outside and never have to deal with full-scale withdrawal symptoms. Of course, if they don’t get their drink, they feel like crap, become irritable, and have trouble sleeping. Take it away for a few days and things take a quick turn for the worse, as they deal with withdrawal symptoms.
Young People and Caffeinated Alcoholic Beverages
A common new trend is to mix energy drinks or coffee drinks with alcohol. This becomes a real problem because it is possible to drink large quantities of alcohol that you wouldn’t normally consume, as you would have passed out by then, but the caffeine keeps you going. For the party-going young person, this might seem like a match made in heaven, but it’s more like a match set to dried grass starting a wildfire that can’t be stopped.
Generally speaking, the caffeine will wear off long before the alcohol does, as the alcohol takes the body longer to deal with it. By this time the binge drinker has so much alcohol in their system that it overwhelms them. This is very dangerous and has led to many deaths and horrific auto accidents as well.