Alcoholism facts can help one better understand the extent of alcoholism and alcoholism warning signs. One of the alcoholism facts is that alcoholism is a type of drug addiction that can be both physical and psychological.
Facts of alcoholism include the reality that alcohol acts as a depressant on the central nervous system, resulting in a decrease of activity, tension and inhibitions. Alcohol affects other body systems as well. Gastrointestinal tract irritation can occur with erosion of the esophagus and stomach linings, causing nausea, vomiting and perhaps bleeding.
Additional alcoholism facts are that liver disease may develop and eventually become cirrhosis of the liver. The muscles of the heart may be negatively affected. Other facts of alcoholism can be related to sexual dysfunction. In men, problems with erections can occur with alcoholism. And alcoholic women can cease having their menstrual periods prematurely.
Here are more alcoholism facts:
• Alcohol and caffeine are the two most widely abused substances in the world. The facts of alcoholism are that alcohol is the more serious addiction due to alcohol-related accidents and incidents.
• The incidence of alcohol consumption and related problems is increasing. Researchers have found that about 15% of the population in the United States are problem drinkers, and about 5-10% of male drinkers and 3-5% of female drinkers can be diagnosed as alcohol dependent. This means as many as 14 million persons are affected by alcoholism in the USA alone. These facts of alcoholism numbers do not include family, friends and others additionally affected by the actions of alcoholics.
• Alcoholism can be divided into two categories – abuse and dependence. Alcohol dependence is the most severe alcohol disorder and is characterized by tolerance and withdrawal. Tolerance is the need for increased amounts of alcohol to become intoxicated. Withdrawal symptoms occur when alcohol intake is reduced or discontinued. Alcohol abusers are drinkers that may drink heavily at various times and have problems such as drinking and driving, violent episodes, or missing work or school.
• Alcohol use is mainly influenced by attitudes developed during the childhood and teen years. In addition, parent’s attitudes and behaviors toward drinking, influence from peers and family relationships can impact how one views and treats the consumption of alcohol.
• About 20% of teens are considered ‘problem drinkers’ in the U.S. What this means is that they get drunk, they may have accidents, or they have problems with the law, family members, friends, school or work due to alcohol consumption and related facts of alcoholism.
• Alcohol effects appear within 10 minutes of drinking and are the maximum in approximately 40-60 minutes. Alcohol will stay in the bloodstream until the liver metabolizes the alcohol. If a person consumes alcohol at a rate faster than the liver is able to break it down, the blood alcohol content rises.
• Each state defines alcohol intoxication which is measured by blood alcohol concentration. A breathalyzer field test is commonly used to measure blood alcohol content for drivers. And another of the alcoholism facts is that most states have a legal limit of between 0.08 and 0.10. Different levels lead to increasingly serious effects. A blood alcohol level of 0.05 reduces inhibitions, 0.10 results in slurred speech and a blood alcohol level of 0.50 can result in coma.
The above information can be considered basic facts of alcoholism. If you or someone you know may have a drinking problem and wish to learn more alcoholism facts and perhaps seek help, there are resources available in various ways. It is never too late to begin recovery from alcohol addiction. Help is available, and the sooner one begins the recovery process, the better.
Jerry Nelson is an American freelance writer and photojournalist. Busy on assignment in South America, Jerry is always interested in discussing future work opportunities. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and join the million-or-so who follow him on Twitter @ Journey_America.