While there are some studies on alcohol use, misuse, binge drinking, daily drinking, over drinking, alcohol addiction, alcohol abuse, and alcoholism, most of the research has been focused on the adult population. Alcohol is the most widely used drug among young adults between the ages of 18 to 25 though, and this demographic has not been focused on as much. Binge drinking and general alcohol abuse, (almost as a rite of passage as it would seem, especially amongst the college demographic), peaks during the late teens to the mid-twenties. The fact that the youth demographic that is affected the most are college students begs the question “are there specific characteristics associated with high-level binge drinking habits in college students?”
On another note, binge drinking is also immensely common amongst mothers of young children. Women tend not to have as high of a rate of alcohol misuse and abuse as men do, but mothers of young children are almost twice as likely to abuse alcohol as the average man. A study done by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, (NIAAA) reported that roughly one out of every eleven women who is a mother of two or more young children abuses alcohol, whereas only about one out of every twenty men in the nation abuses alcohol on a regular basis.
Then there is the matter of individuals who grew up around alcohol abuse. When a child is raised by alcohol-abusing parents, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, (NSDUH), reports that that child is more than four times as likely to develop an alcohol abuse problem later in life as his or her peers are if he or she has at least one alcohol-abusing parent. If he or she has two alcoholic parents, it becomes six times as likely that he or she will grow up to be an alcohol abuser.
While many attempts have been made by different organizations over the years to lessen alcohol consumption and general abuse effectively, it would seem that advertising and media portrayals of alcohol as safe for daily use have won out in the long run. While alcoholism is highest in other countries, such as Russia, the U.S. isn’t all that far behind either, with no less than seventeen million Americans diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder of one kind or another.
DAWN, the organization that examines the causes of ER visits, estimated that about 14.3 percent of all emergency rooms visits in the year of 2009 in the United States were due to side effects of alcohol use in conjunction with other drugs. In 2008 for example, there were 29,202 overdoses including both drugs and alcohol, making the two a deadly cocktail of substance abuse.
Unfortunately, alcohol overdose is on the rise in the nation, particularly amongst senior citizens, a demographic that had little to nothing to do with alcohol abuse before the turn of the century. Now, however, seniors are abusing alcohol like never before, and it is usually alongside prescription drugs, too. The U.S. showed a 25-percent increase between 1999 and 2008 in overdose amongst seniors. On top of those statistics, alcohol isn’t only harming the user, with 10,228 deaths in 2010 stemming from drunk-driving vehicular accidents alone, too.
What They All Have in Common
All of these different and random demographics and behavioral personalities that go along with them that all equate to alcohol abuse all have one thing in common. It would seem that there is a general acceptance of alcohol abuse that was not there before. We have the college student who, because of his or her behavior in college, is expected to drink and it is considered almost okay that he or she is drinking in excess, as that is, “just what kids do in college.” We have the mother of young children who are so stressed out from trying to raise kids that her behavior dictates that it is, “okay” that she drinks a little more than other women her age do. We have seniors who are in pain or who are suffering from depression who, because of their general behavior are, “allowed,” to drink because it “might” help them.
This is where Americans have it wrong. Alcohol abuse is never okay. There is nothing right or proper or acceptable about it in any way at all. It is bad news through and through, and that’s all there is to it. Alcohol abuse should be abstained from regardless of one’s demographic or behavior, as excessive alcohol use and abuse only lead towards addiction and an increase in overall problems, not a decrease in them. When it comes to alcohol abuse, abstinence must be pursued, and some other solution to one’s behavior and one’s life difficulties must be arrived at instead of true happiness and peace to be found.