What is alcohol addiction?
Alcohol addiction is the compulsive need for an intoxicating liquid. Some think that it is just a matter of will to stop drinking, but an alcoholic’s craving for alcohol is so great that it suppresses their ability to stop drinking. Take for example, an alcoholic arrives in the ER suffering from nausea, vomiting, sweating, and anxiety. His blood alcohol content (B.A.C.) is measured and returns a 0.12 reading. This person’s physical alcohol addiction has reached the point where his body suffers from withdrawal symptoms despite having a B.A.C. high enough to constitute a drunk driving offense.
With groups such as alcoholics anonymous enrolling over two million members, it is no question alcohol addiction is a huge problem. Some research shows that up to one half of all U.S. adults know at last one person with an alcohol addiction. It is important to participate in individual counseling for alcohol addiction because it is here that you can focus on your own individual issues. If individual counseling is not part of your alcohol addiction treatment program, you should consider seeing a counselor on your own.
Alcohol addiction also places an enormous economic burden on our country. In 2001, the estimated cost to society was an estimated $230 billion tax dollars due to highway DWI collisions.
What is substance abuse?
Substance abuse has come to refer to the overindulgence in and dependence of a drug or other chemical leading to effects that are detrimental to the individual’s physical and mental health, or the welfare of others. However, medical professionals have concluded that substance abuse is an issue that may lead to addiction and dependence which are actual physiological problems.
People abuse substances such as drugs, alcohol, and tobacco for varied and complicated reasons. The toll for this abuse is seen in hospitals across our nation. For example, one of the top risk factors for kidney cancer is cigarette smoking, by 1985 crack cocaine attracted a user base of almost 6 million Americans, and in recent times, heroin has resurfaced in suburban towns with young teens being the main consumer.
The cost of substance abuse
In fact, according to a new book “High Society – How Substance Abuse Ravages America And What To Do About It” by Joseph Califano, a former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, the cost of substance abuse has grown to approximately $1 trillion dollars per year. He points out how substance abuse is a major causative factor in America’s most wrenching problems: Poverty, violent crime, academic underachievement, soaring health care costs, family breakup, child abuse, homelessness, teen pregnancy, work problems, and AIDS.
According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), of the estimated $38 billion was spent on corrections, the branch of law enforcement that deals with incarceration, in 1996. More than $30 billion was spent incarcerating individuals who had alcohol or drug problems or alcohol/drug related crimes.
Everyday, 1,500 people die due to substance abuse or substance abuse induced ailments. It is clear that a former substance abuse has reached epidemic proportions in America. Crime, violence, divorce, cancers, cardiovascular disease, financial problems, and family problems are all consequences of alcohol and general substance abuse. All these consequences have financial costs. This means that all businesses, consumers, and taxpayers are affected. We are all affected by the negative consequences of substance abuse.
Counselor Network Writer