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Millions of Americans drink alcohol at dangerously high levels, says study

Millions of Americans drink alcohol at dangerously high levels, says study

June 23 | By Rachael

Defying every social stigma and taboo, alcohol, today, has become an intrinsic part of culture in many countries. Factors like easy availability and wide acceptability have given an uninterrupted access to alcohol to millions of people, irrespective of their age, gender, race, social status, etc. This has further reduced the minimum drinking age, with more and more teens getting their hands on bottles.

A majority of Americans tend to drink alcohol at dangerously high levels, found a recent study published online in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in June 2017. According to the study conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), “Nearly 32 million adults in the United States (13 percent of the U.S. population aged 18 and older) consumed more than twice the number of drinks considered binge drinking on at least one occasion.”

Combining alcohol with other drugs increases risk of death due to overdose

In the U.S., a majority of the teens are seen to be binge drinking, where they consume large amounts of alcohol at one go to achieve high. As per the prevailing laws in the country, the legal limit of blood alcohol level for driving is 0.08 percent; however, binge drinking often produces blood alcohol levels that are greater than the permissible limits. Alarmingly, many people indulge in extreme binge drinking by gulping in more than five drinks per session.

A large number of Americans also engage in harmful behavior of mixing alcohol with other illicit drugs to achieve new levels of high, which increases the risk of injuries and overdose deaths. “The risk increases further if other sedative drugs, particularly opioids or benzodiazepines are added to the mix,” observed the study.

Dangers of binge drinking

Binge drinking is riskier than normal drinking, as it tends to raise the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to alarming levels, which makes the user drunk in a short period of time. As a result, the user becomes prone to accidents and falls. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), binge drinking leads to unintentional injuries, such as car crashes, falls, burns and alcohol poisoning. It also increases the risk of violence, like killing someone, killing oneself, child abuse, domestic violence, apart from causing innumerable health issues like high blood pressure, heart attack, inflammation of the stomach and pancreas, inflammation of the brain and the spinal cord, sexually transmitted infections and poor control of diabetes.

Excessive intake of alcohol also affects the central nervous system (CNS), slows down breathing and affects the heart rate. “It also interferes with the gag reflex, which increases the risk of choking on vomit, if the drinker passes out from too much drinking. Blood alcohol levels can continue to rise even if a person passes out,” observed the CDC.

In extreme conditions, it can also cause death due to overdose as large amount of alcohol can block the heart, stop the breathing process and cause choking hazards. Additionally, prolonged binge drinking can also affect the mood and memory of the use, leading to serious mental health problems in future.

Road to recovery

If you or a loved one is struggling to overcome alcohol abuse, it is imperative that you seek professional help. Frequent consumption of alcohol can rewire the brain and give rise to problems of memory loss, cognitive impairment and mood swings. Timely intervention is critical in dealing with addiction to any substance before it becomes unmanageable.

If you or your loved one is fighting alcohol addiction, contact the Colorado Alcohol Addiction Help for guidance on the best facilities offering addiction treatment in Colorado. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-592-9261 or chat online with our counselors to know about some of the finest alcohol addiction treatment centers in Colorado.