In the United States, one in every thirteen adults is an alcoholic. That’s a staggering number—nearly eight million people. And while alcoholism affects each individual in unique ways, it also has a devastating impact on society as a whole. Alcoholism costs our economy billions of dollars each year, and it leads to crime, accidents, and family heartache.
Alcoholism and Crime
Many people think of alcoholism as an inconvenience, something that can be easily ignored, or just another problem to keep one’s eye on at the pub. However, it is much more than that. Alcoholism leads to crime and costs taxpayers millions of dollars each year.
According to the FBI’s 2011 report, 30% of all arrests for driving under the influence involved alcohol. When these crimes are combined with other alcohol-related offenses like domestic violence and public drunkenness, the cost reaches $59 billion annually.
Alcoholism and Accidents
Driving under the influence is not the only way alcoholism affects society through accidents; it also plays a role in accidental death and injury. According to the CDC, DUI accidents kill another 25-30 people each day.
These accidents have a direct impact on the economy as well through costs associated with medical treatment and incarceration. DUI lawyers can help DUI victims file a personal injury lawsuit for compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Alcoholism and Families
Alcoholism affects not only those who abuse it but also their loved ones. Alcohol abuse can destroy a family’s standing and reputation through a bitter divorce, domestic violence, and child neglect. It can cost a family financially as well as the abuser’s wages being reduced or lost due to illness or incarceration related to alcoholism.
In order to solve this pressing social issue, we must come together and build a better solution. What do you think we should do?
Alcoholism and Child Abuse
Although many alcoholics try to control their drinking, alcoholism can lead them to do things they would not normally do when sober. Alcohol has been linked directly to violent crimes such as child abuse and neglect.
In fact, half of all child abuse cases involve a parent who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the incident. This leads not only to physical injuries but long-term psychological effects as well. Alcoholism may also be a factor in fatalities caused by fire and other disasters.
Alcoholism and Health
Alcoholics often neglect their health, even when they are aware of the effects drinking has on their life. Alcoholism can lead to liver disease, heart damage, and cancer— all very serious medical conditions with potentially fatal consequences.
Alcoholism also affects unborn children through Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). FAS is caused by expectant mothers drinking alcohol while pregnant. The child is born with defects, including malformed facial features and underdeveloped organs.
Alcoholism and Employment
Although alcoholism can be a serious medical condition, many people cannot afford to miss work due to alcohol treatment. This leads many sufferers to continue drinking and lose their jobs as a result.
Alcoholism also affects the family of an alcoholic as they take on extra burdens such as childcare and household chores to accommodate for their loved one’s absence or illness.
Solutions for Combating Alcoholism in Society
Although alcoholism is an issue that needs to be addressed, there are solutions available for those who have the desire to quit.
- There are many support groups available with trained counselors and members who can help to recover alcoholics adapt to life without drinking.
- Alcoholics Anonymous (or AA) is one of the most popular programs, but it’s not the only one out there.
- Attendance at regular meetings can ensure that recovering alcoholics stay on track and avoid slipping back into old habits.
- For some people, professional help may also be necessary to overcome addiction. Addiction therapy uses a number of different techniques, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, behavior modification therapy through positive reinforcement, hypnotism/guided imagery therapy, aversion therapy, or medication.
Not all alcoholism is chronic or severe enough to require professional treatment, however. For those who are not at the point where they need help, practicing moderation and avoiding binge drinking can be a good first step towards sobriety.
Alcoholism is a serious social issue that affects individuals, families, and society as a whole. It has many negative consequences, including accidents, child abuse, health problems, and financial costs.
There are solutions available for those who want to get help, including support groups and professional treatment. However, not all alcoholism requires professional treatment; some people may be able to overcome addiction through moderation and self-control.