Alcohol is an intoxicating ingredient found in liquor, beer, and wine produced by fermenting starches, sugars, and yeast. Once consumed, alcohol is metabolized in the liver, and excess alcohol circulates throughout your body, affecting nearly every organ.
While alcohol can be consumed responsibly and is legal in the United States for adults 21 and older, alcohol consumption still carries certain hazards, may put you at higher risk of developing severe illnesses, and affects people differently.
Additionally, some groups of individuals should never consume alcohol, including:
- Women who are or may be pregnant
- Individuals suffering from certain medical conditions that may worsen with consumption
- Patients recovering from alcoholism and individuals unable to control the amount they drink
- Anyone younger than 21
- Patients taking medications that interact with alcohol
- Anyone planning on driving or participating in activities that require alertness, coordination, and skill
Alcohol Quick Facts and Statistics in the United States
- An estimated 219.2 million people ages 12 and older have consumed alcohol at some point in their lives.
- 16.2 million people 12 and older have reported heavy alcohol consumption in the past month.
- According to a 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) survey, 29.5 million people 12 and older had Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) in the last year.
- Alcohol-impaired drivers kill 32 people every day.
- It’s estimated that over 140,000 people die each year from alcohol-related causes.
- Alcohol is the fourth-leading preventable cause of death.
The Short and Long-Term Effects of Alcohol
Consuming alcohol produces many short and long-term effects, and each individual’s reaction to alcohol may be different. Additionally, effects and severity depend on factors such as how much alcohol has been consumed, various medical conditions, and other medication interactions.
|Short-Term Effects of Alcohol||Long-Term Effects of Alcohol|
|Decreased perception and coordination||Heart-related conditions, including high blood pressure and stroke|
|Diarrhea||Increased family and relationship difficulties|
|Distorted vision and hearing||Increased on-the-job injuries and production loss|
|Impaired judgment||Nerve damage|
|Slurred speech||Permanent brain damage|
|Vomiting||Unintentional injuries or death resulting from car crashes and falls|
Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Are you or a loved one suffering from alcohol addiction? You’re not alone. It’s estimated that 14.1 million adults in the U.S. suffer from Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD).
The risk of developing AUD depends on many factors—including how often, how much, how quickly an individual consumes alcohol, genetic components, family history of alcoholism, and co-occurring mental health conditions.
Fortunately, help is available, and there are many treatment options. At Buena Vista, we are committed to the health and safety of our patients. We use an individualized care approach because we understand no two patients are the same.
As a first step, we always recommend a medically-supervised alcohol detox because quitting drinking is very difficult, and withdrawal symptoms can be severe and even life-threatening. As part of our detox program, we assist you in navigating withdrawal symptoms, make you as comfortable as possible, provide a safer detox process, and minimize your risk of ongoing abuse or relapse. Additionally, we will help you transition into a treatment program that best fits your needs.
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact us today—day or night—for immediate support or to explore your long-term treatment options.