Health and Alcohol
Millions of Americans need help. SEE
President Bush, "Gets it" so do we!
Economic Report-Problem Drinkers, Underage
consumption---Good customers for the Alcohol Industry
High Risk for Alcohol
Family History &
The development of alcohol use problems, including alcoholism, is
influenced by multiple genes (i.e., what we inherit), the environment
(i.e., where and how we live), and interactions between the two.
Alcohol Alert NO.48, 7/2000
AMA's policy statement on labeling of Alcohol
Underage Drinking, seeding
the public health crisis related to alcohol consumption.
Alcoholism (Alcohol Dependence)
The World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledged
Alcoholism as a serious medical
American Medical Association
declared alcoholism as a treatable illness in 1956.
Children of Addicted
Q&A on Addiction
Women and Alcoholism/Addiction
Alcoholism is a chronic, progressive disease
that manifests itself with symptoms that affect one physically, mentally,
emotionally, spiritually and socially.
Denial is its number one symptom, and the
alcoholic is usually the last one to believe he or she has it. Alcoholism has a ripple effect and affects at least
four to five other people, including family, friends, co-workers, neighbors,
In 1956, the American Medical
Association (AMA) stated alcoholism was a disease, as it met the five criteria
needed in order to be considered a disease: pattern of symptoms, chronic,
progression, subject to relapse, and treatability. One could learn about the
disease concept through community lectures, articles in the paper, alcoholism
hotlines and, of course, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings.
Alcohol is the drug most frequently used by American teenagers.
It is consumed more frequently than all other illicit
drugs combined and is the drug most likely to be associated with
injury or death.
Alcohol is a drug that can affect judgment, coordination and
long-term health. It is involved in teen automobile crashes,
homicides, and suicides--the three leading causes of teen
Alcoholism, also known as “alcohol dependence,” is a disease
that includes four symptoms:
- Craving: A strong need, or compulsion, to drink.
- Loss of control: The inability to limit one’s drinking on
any given occasion.
- Physical dependence: Withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea,
sweating, shakiness, and anxiety, occur when alcohol use is
stopped after a period of heavy drinking.
- Tolerance: The need to drink greater amounts of alcohol in
order to “get high.”
People who are not alcoholic sometimes do not understand why
an alcoholic can’t just “use a little willpower” to stop
drinking. However, alcoholism has little to do with willpower.
Alcoholics are in the grip of a powerful “craving,” or
uncontrollable need, for alcohol that overrides their ability to
stop drinking. This need can be as strong as the need for food
Although some people are able to recover from alcoholism
without help, the majority of alcoholics need assistance. With
treatment and support, many individuals are able to stop
drinking and rebuild their lives.
Many people wonder why some individuals can use alcohol
without problems but others cannot. One important reason has to
do with genetics. Scientists have found that having an alcoholic
family member makes it more likely that if you choose to drink
you too may develop alcoholism. Genes, however, are not the
whole story. In fact, scientists now believe that certain
factors in a person’s environment influence whether a person
with a genetic risk for alcoholism ever develops the disease. A
person’s risk for developing alcoholism can increase based on
the person’s environment, including where and how he or she
lives; family, friends, and culture; peer pressure; and even how
easy it is to get alcohol.
Source: U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services. National Institute on Alcohol
Abuse and Alcoholism. (2001, January 1). Alcoholism: Getting
the Facts (NIH Publication No. 96–4153)[Brochure].
Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved
September 04, 2002 from the World Wide Web:http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/booklet.htm
Almost half of Americans aged 12 or older reported being
current drinkers of alcohol in the 2001 survey (48.3 percent).
This translates to an estimated 109 million people.
Both the rate of alcohol use and the number of drinkers
increased from 2000, when 104 million, or 46.6 percent, of
people aged 12 or older reported drinking in the past 30 days.
Approximately one fifth (20.5 percent) of persons aged 12 or
older participated in binge drinking at least once in the 30
days prior to the survey. Although the number of current
drinkers increased between 2000 and 2001, the number of those
reporting binge drinking did not change significantly.
Heavy drinking was reported by 5.7 percent of the population
aged 12 or older, or 12.9 million people. These 2001 estimates
are similar to the 2000 estimates.
The prevalence of current alcohol use in 2001 increased with
increasing age for youths, from 2.6 percent at age 12 to a peak
of 67.5 percent for persons 21 years old. Unlike prevalence
patterns observed for cigarettes and illicit drugs, current
alcohol use remained steady among older age groups. For people
aged 21 to 25 and those aged 26 to 34, the rates of current
alcohol use in 2001 were 64.3 and 59.9 percent, respectively.
The prevalence of alcohol use was slightly lower for persons in
their 40s. Past month drinking was reported by 45.6 percent of
respondents aged 60 to 64, and 33.0 percent of persons 65 or
older (Figure 3.1).
The highest prevalence of both binge and heavy drinking in
2001 was for young adults aged 18 to 25, with the peak rate
occurring at age 21. The rate of binge drinking was 38.7 percent
for young adults and 48.2 percent at age 21. Heavy alcohol use
was reported by 13.6 percent of persons aged 18 to 25, and by
17.8 percent of persons aged 21. Binge and heavy alcohol use
rates decreased faster with increasing age than did rates of
past month alcohol use. While 55.2 percent of the population
aged 45 to 49 in 2001 were current drinkers, 19.1 percent of
persons within this age range binge drank and 5.4 percent drank
heavily (Figure 3.1). Binge and heavy drinking were relatively
rare among people aged 65 or older, with reported rates of 5.8
and 1.4 percent, respectively.
Among youths aged 12 to 17, an estimated 17.3 percent used
alcohol in the month prior to the survey interview. This rate
was higher than the rate of youth alcohol use reported in 2000
(16.4 percent). Of all youths, 10.6 percent were binge drinkers,
and 2.5 percent were heavy drinkers. These are roughly the same
percentages as those reported in 2000 (10.4 and 2.6 percent,
Source: U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services. Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Services Administration. (2002, September 4). Results from
the 2001 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse: Volume I.
Summary of National Findings (Office of Applied Studies,
NHSDA Series H-17 ed.) (BKD461, SMA 02-3758)Washington, DC:
U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved September 23, 2002
from the World Wide Web:http://www.samhsa.gov/oas/nhsda/2k1nhsda/vol1/Chapter3.htm
Forty-four percent of the adult U.S. population (aged 18 and
over) are current drinkers who have consumed at least 12 drinks
in the preceding year (Dawson et al. 1995). Although most people
who drink do so safely, the minority who consume alcohol heavily
produce an impact that ripples outward to encompass their
families, friends, and communities. The following statistics
give a glimpse of the magnitude of problem drinking:
- Approximately 14 million Americans—7.4 percent of the
population —meet the diagnostic criteria for alcohol abuse or
alcoholism (Gran et al. 1994).
- More than one-half of American adults have a close family
member who has or has had alcoholism ( Dawson and Grant 1998).
- Approximately one in four children younger than 18 years
old in the United States is exposed to alcohol abuse or
alcohol dependence in the family (Grant 2000).
Alcohol consumption has consequences for the health and well
- being of those who drink and, by extension, the lives of those
Source: U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services. National Institute on Alcohol
Abuse and Alcoholism. Journal: Alcohol Research & Health:
Highlights From the Tenth Special Report to Congress, Health
Risks and Benefits of Alcohol Consumption (Volume 24, Number
1, 2000 ed.) Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
Retrieved October 07, 2002 from the World Wide Web:http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh24-1/toc24-1.htm
description used in classification of Alcohol Addiction and
Alcohol Abuse used in the
Abuse Vs. Dependence
(Binging Vs. Alcoholism)
(3) 305.00 Alcohol Abuse
and job performance may suffer either from the aftereffects
of drinking or from actual intoxication on the job or at
school; child care or household responsibilities may be
neglected; and alcohol-related absences may occur from
school or job. The person may use alcohol in physically
hazardous circumstances (e.g., driving an automobile or
operating machinery while drunk). Legal difficulties may
arise because of alcohol use (e.g., arrests for intoxicated
behavior or for driving under the influence). Finally,
individuals with Alcohol Abuse may continue to consume
alcohol despite the knowledge that continued consumption
poses significant social or interpersonal problems for them
(e.g., violent arguments with spouse while intoxicated,
child abuse). When these problems are accompanied by
evidence of tolerance, withdrawal, or compulsive behavior
related to alcohol use, a diagnosis of Alcohol Dependence,
rather than Alcohol Abuse, should be considered.
Physiological dependence on alcohol is indicated by evidence
of tolerance or symptoms of withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal
is characterized by the development of withdrawal symptoms
12 hours or so after the reduction of intake following
prolonged, heavy, alcohol ingestion. Because withdrawal from
alcohol can be unpleasant and intense individuals with
Alcohol Dependence may continue to consume alcohol, despite
adverse consequences, often to avoid or to relieve the
symptoms of withdrawal. A substantial minority of
individuals who have Alcohol Dependence never experience
clinically relevant levels of alcohol withdrawal, and only
about 5% of individuals with Alcohol Dependence ever
experience severe complications of withdrawal (e.g.,
delirium, grand mal seizures). Once a pattern of compulsive
use develops, individuals with dependence may devote
substantial periods of time to obtaining and consuming
alcoholic beverages. These individuals often continue to use
alcohol despite evidence of adverse psychological or