The Dangers Of Alcoholism: How Alcohol Can Harm Your Health

While drinking alcohol is a common activity, the amount of alcohol a person drinks can wreak havoc on their health. In fact, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), an estimated 95,000 people die from alcohol-related causes each year. This makes alcohol the third-leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Additionally, alcohol-involved driving fatalities accounted for 28% of driving deaths in 2019.

But drinking alcohol isn’t just dangerous to drivers. Many harmful health problems start when people consume too much alcohol.

Dangers of ALCOHOL

Alcohol Effects on the Body

Drinking too much alcohol even on a single occasion has negative effects on your health. Alcohol affects many major organs, including the brain, heart, liver, immune system. It can even cause cancer.

Drinking too much alcohol even once affects many organs in the body. Prolonged alcohol use and binge drinking increases the risk of developing an alcohol use disorder and addiction.

Alcohol Use Disorders and Addiction

Alcoholism is a term generally used to describe a person with an alcohol dependence. An Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is a medically diagnosed condition that can range from mild, moderate, or severe. In fact, in 2019, about 14.5 million people aged 12 and older were reported to live with an AUD according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Those suffering from an AUD are more likely to get help from a primary care physician. To diagnose an AUD, a person must meet two or more of the criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) within a 12-month period.

  1. Drinking more or for a longer period of time than intended.
  2. Feeling incapable of cutting back on the amount of alcohol consumed.
  3. Becoming sick for an extended period of time as a result of drinking too much.
  4. Inability to concentrate due to alcohol cravings.
  5. Inability to care for a family, hold down a job, or perform in school.
  6. Continuing to drink despite problems caused with friends or family.
  7. Decreased participation in activities which were once important.
  8. Finding oneself in dangerous or harmful situations as a direct result of drinking.
  9. Continuing to drink despite adding to another health problem, feeling depressed or anxious or blacking out.
  10. Drinking more as a result of a tolerance to alcohol.
  11. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

AUD and Treatment Options

Whether a person has mild, moderate, or severe AUD depends on how many of the conditions apply to them.

There are many treatment options available for those suffering from AUD and alcoholism, including:

Alcohol-Impaired and Drunk Driving

The dangers of alcohol are not only limited to health issues. Alcohol-impaired and drunk driving plays a big role in alcohol-related deaths.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 32 people die in a drunk driving-related crash in the United States every day. In 2020, there were 11,654 alcohol-involved traffic fatalities alone—a 14% increase from 2019. With proper safety, all of these deaths could have been prevented.

Drinking and driving is a serious crime. Enforcement of drunk-driving laws and prevention help keep the roads safe for everyone. If a person is caught driving while under the influence of alcohol, they are have to submit to blood or breath alcohol testing. In most states, it is illegal to drive a vehicle with a breath alcohol (BrAC) level of 0.08 or above. Breaking this law can result in misdemeanor or felony offenses. You can also face penalties such as fines, drivers license revocation, alcohol monitoring, and even jail time.

IID Program

If someone needs alcohol monitoring, they may have to install an ignition interlock (IID)  in their car. IIDs measure breath alcohol and stop the car from starting if a driver blows above a pre-set BAC limit. Additional alcohol monitoring devices include portable breath alcohol devices and continuous alcohol monitoring bracelets. These types of alcohol monitoring technology help keep drunk drivers from behind the wheel and can support those on the road to recovery.

Heavy drinking and alcohol use has awful affects on the body. The dangers of alcoholism don’t just stop with health problems. They are also the cause of many preventable traffic fatalities. Drinking in moderation or not at all is a solution. And never getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol can keep you and others safe and healthy.

Stopping drunk driving starts with Lifesafer. For more information on our IID program call our customer support experts at 800-634-3077.

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