The effects of alcohol on society goes far beyond the individual suffering from alcoholic dependence. When a person has a problem with alcohol it can affect a wide range of people, including their spouse, family, and even their children. It can also have a large impact on their community, workplace, and society as a whole.
Approximately 14 million people in the United States meet the criteria for alcohol use disorders and alcohol is involved in more than 88,000 deaths per year. The impact of alcoholism is a large one, and it affects everyone.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the cost of excessive alcohol abuse in the United States alone exceeds over $249 billion annually. It’s also estimated that 40 percent of the costs of excessive alcohol consumption is paid for by the federal, state, and local government. These expenses include healthcare, crime and law enforcement, and motor vehicle crashes. However, many of these costs are considered to be underestimated because alcohol’s involvement in sickness, injury, and death isn’t always available or reported. These statistics did not include any of the medical and mental health conditions that can result from alcohol abuse.
Health Care Costs
Alcohol consumption is a risk factor in 25 chronic diseases and conditions. Alcohol also plays a significant role in certain cancers, psychiatric conditions, and numerous cardiovascular and digestive diseases. Alcohol consumption can also increase the risk of diabetes, stroke, and heart disease, which is the number one killer in America. An estimated $28 billion is spent each year on alcohol-related health care, this includes the treatment of both unintentional and intentional alcohol-related injuries.
Aggression And Violence
This goes hand-in-hand with unintentional injury, as alcohol plays a key role in intentional injuries that result from aggression and violence. Alcohol has been linked to physical violence by a variety of studies. On top of treating injuries caused by violence due to alcohol, the estimated criminal justice system cost is around $25 billion.
The social impact of alcohol abuse is a whole new issue set aside from the financial aspects of alcoholism. It impacts the home, extends into the community, and often affects society as a whole, similar to the financial impacts of alcohol abuse.
The effects of alcohol abuse on families show that alcohol abuse and addiction both play a direct role in intimate partner violence, stirs up financial issues in the affected family, impairs decision-making skills, and is a major contributor to child abuse and neglect cases.
The financial costs of alcohol abuse can have tremendous effects on the family too. With their decision-making skills blurred, those with a dependence on alcohol are more likely to spend money irresponsibly, engage in criminal activity, and even cause physical destruction to the property they live in. They are also more likely to become violent, which can lead to criminal charges, court fees, and split living arrangements. The impacts of alcoholism on a family can be detrimental.
People may think that they are keeping their children safe from alcoholic family members, but the truth is that children are affected by alcoholism no matter what. If a mother is pregnant and engages in excessive drinking, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) can result in their child. FAS is one of the most common direct consequences of parental alcohol abuse in the United States.
Children with FAS display a variety of symptoms that can be life-long and irreversible. These symptoms include body defects as well as brain and central nervous system problems. They’re also more likely to have social and behavioral issues including difficulty in school, issues getting along with others, poor social skills, trouble adapting or switching tasks, and behavior and impulse control.
If you are a mother who has not been able to stop drinking, even when pregnant, do not hesitate to reach out. It’s important that you are honest with yourself and your doctor. Early diagnosis may help reduce the risk of your child having any long-term problems that may have resulted from the consumption of alcohol.
Children who have grown up in homes where alcohol abuse is an issue are more likely to develop alcohol use disorders themselves. Once again, it may seem as if children are being kept out of the issues, but there are many effects that can carry over without intent from the guardians.
Growing up in a home where at least one parent has a severe alcohol use disorder can increase a child’s chances of developing psychological and emotional problems.
The effects of alcoholism on society are far-reaching. In most given years, less than a third of millions of Americans with alcohol problems will get the help required to achieve sobriety and reduce their exposure to harm. Don’t let yourself or your loved one go without that help. Socially, alcohol is a huge problem, even those who have established a lifestyle surrounding drinking can experience harm regardless of having a dependence on alcohol.
San Diego Sober Living can help you or your loved one get the help they need today. Call now!