If time and research has told us anything, it’s that commonly held beliefs regarding alcohol and drug use are oftentimes untrue and damaging. For instance, many people believed that a glass of wine every day was healthy, however new research proves that a glass of wine a day is more harmful than it is beneficial. Another misconception that has proven to be false is that alcohol is less harmful than illicit street drugs. Medical professionals warn that the effects of a long term alcohol problem are extremely dangerous and can prove fatal. In the vein of debunking alcohol-related myths, one research team examined the common belief that Native Americans have a higher rate of alcohol consumption than other ethnicities, therefore leading to an increased threat of alcohol abuse.
Researchers at the University of Arizona got together and analyzed information from a survey of over 4,000 Native Americans and 170,000 Caucasians. And contrary to popular beliefs, Native Americans seem to consume alcohol at the same rates as white people, except for one instance. When it comes to which group is more likely to abstain from alcohol, Native Americans actually refrain from drinking more than white people refrain from drinking. The analysts noted that 17% of Native Americans reported binge drinking, this compares to the 17% of white people that admitted to binge drinking behaviors.
Unearthing the truth behind Native Americans drinking behaviors highlights an important point,
“…falsely stereotyping a group regrading alcohol can have its own unique consequences. For example, some employers might be reluctant to hire individuals from a group that has been stereotyped regarding alcohol. Patients from such a group, possibly wanting to avoid embarrassment, may be reluctant to discuss alcohol-related problems with their doctors,” explained James Cunningham, lead author of the study.
Perhaps the most important point to take away from this study is that there is a significant need for ongoing alcohol-related research and public education. United States residents are continuing to consume alcohol, some at alarming rates, and one way to combat against alcohol abuse problems is to educate.
Despite marketing efforts for novel products or supplements, the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology recently determined that the only real cure for a hangover is to drink less, or to not drink at all.
Binge drinking episodes and chronic heavy drinking create many problems for people, and some of the more acute symptoms include the hangover the next morning. A typical hangover includes major headaches, dehydration, aches and pains, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and more.
Researchers conducted surveys on more than 700 Canadian college students. After collecting the data, it became clear that the less a person drank the less likely they would develop a hangover the next day. The information analyzed will help researchers determine exactly why a person experiences a hangover in the first place and what goes on in their body that makes them nauseous, tired, depressed and anxious after they drink. The simple answer seems to be that any ingestion of a toxic substance can produce such symptoms.
“Research has concluded that it’s not simply dehydration – we know the immune system is involved, but before we know what causes it, it’s very unlikely we’ll find an effective cure,” explained Dr. Joris Verster of Utrecht University.
Hangovers are especially common for college students, which is the age range an population that has the highest rates of binge drinking. Hopefully the revelation that there really is no cure for a hangover might deter at least a few people from engaging in such dangerous behavior.
New research shows that parents and educators should be discussing the dangers of alcohol much earlier than many people previously expected. Explaining why children should not consume alcohol, and how doing so can harm them, needs to be done between the ages of 9 and 13. This is likely a much different approach regarding underage drinking prevention than what most parents and schools have been doing. The tendency to wait until children are older to discuss alcohol and drugs is proving to be too late.
“Surveys indicate that children start to think positively about alcohol between ages 9 and 13 years. The more young people are exposed to alcohol advertising and marketing, the more likely they are to drink, and if they are already drinking, this exposure leads them to drink more. Therefore, it is very important to start talking to children about the dangers of drinking as early as 9 years of age,” the report discussed.
Experts agree that it is not just the parent’s responsibility to begin educating their children about the dangers of alcohol. Physicians and health care providers should begin discussing the issue with children and their parents as well. Studies show that by the time children reach the age of 13, 21% have already tried more than a sip of alcohol. This number skyrockets by the time children graduate high school. Almost 80% of high school graduates have drunk more than a sip of alcohol.
Further indication that parental involvement is vital when it comes to the decision of whether or not to consume alcohol is that most children agreed that their parents were the biggest influencers on drinking. Kids whose parents discussed the dangers of alcohol abuse and experimentation were less likely to become heavy drinkers while in college. This is particularly vital because college students are more likely to engage in binge drinking. Binge drinking occurs when a person consumes large quantities of alcohol in a short amount of time. There are many dangers to binge drinking, such as alcohol poisoning, making poor decisions regarding driving and sex and the risk of developing an alcohol addiction.
Heavy alcohol consumption and binge drinking among college students is a major problem in America, including right here in Arizona. Young people fall victim to the pressures of college and their peers, have a desire to fit in and are not under the supervision of adults anymore. This is typically a recipe for disaster, as has been proven time and again in college towns all over the country.
However, ongoing research shows that there are ways to cut down on the behavior, both on campus as well as off campus. Involving the community is a big factor, as showing a common concern for students helps to reduce their frequency and level of intoxication. Multiple studies indicate that having campus officials work in tandem with community leaders and student representatives in a coalition can cut down on the drinking that occurs at parties, restaurants and bars.
Measures taken include the use of under-age people ordering drinks under-cover, resulting in warnings and fines for establishments that serve alcohol to those who aren’t yet 21. Other practices can include more DUI checkpoints and noise ordinance enforcement for parties. Many of these tactics were part of the California Safer University studies that were funded by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
The average American drinks 85 bottles of wine a year. While this is not the highest amount of yearly alcohol consumption in the world, Americans rank high on the list. The social acceptance of drinking is likely what has led to this excessive number and it is also what is leading alcohol to be the cause of tens of thousands of deaths around the world. A report released by The Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development also showed that drinking among youth throughout the world has increased and so has the risky behavior associated with underage drinking.
“The cost to society and the economy of excessive alcohol consumption around the world is massive…Alcohol now accounts for a higher proportion of deaths worldwide than HIV, AIDS, violence and tuberculosis combined, ” explained Angel Gurria, the secretary-general of The Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development. Tax payers are also feeling the effects of the increase in alcohol consumption and health complications associated with alcohol abuse. World-wide, tax payers have had to fund legal, health and support for those suffering from alcohol addictions.
In addition to increased social acceptance of drinking, alcohol is also easier to purchase because it is in more locations and in general, alcohol is a cheaper way to celebrate and indulge. While other studies have shown that alcohol advertisements do not necessarily increase the amount of adult alcohol consumption, the study also points out that there are more alcohol advertisements, world-wide, than ever before.
Alcohol addiction is a very real problem in The United States and it is difficult to spot. Because many people drink on a daily or semi-regular basis and do not consider themselves alcoholics, it is much harder to spot alcoholic tendencies in others who may be sliding towards an addiction. One of the biggest problems associated with alcohol is binge drinking. Binge drinking, defined as multiple drinks in a short period of time, is one of the most common ways alcohol is abused. A person who engages in binge-drinking episodes is more likely to develop an alcohol addiction later in life. This is likely due to the fact that alcohol has already successfully been used as a distraction and a way to alleviate stress and anxiety.
It is no surprise that alcohol is a major problem on many college campuses throughout the country. Teenagers and young adults are away from home for the first time and thrown into an environment where drinking is not only accepted by other students, but encouraged.
Despite college administrators and campus police monitoring the nightlife, students are more likely to binge drink and experience black outs than they were when they were in high school or after they graduate. In order to provide an outlet for students that are struggling with an alcohol problem, a program was created called the Association of Recovery in Higher Education. The association works with over 135 colleges to provide support, education and counseling to students who have a drinking problem.
“We operate from a standpoint of identifying with students’ worries about consequences. We work with them in terms of where they are and what their motivation to make changes is,” explained Dan Perry, senior coordinator of the alcohol and drug program at Duke University.
In order to ensure that college students are receiving the help they need and getting back on track with their studies, many colleges are encouraging those with alcohol problems to seek out the counseling program, or a similar substitute. Meetings and counseling sessions provide an outlet for students to discuss their concerns about their drinking, their education and the impact that their choices have had on their college career. Experts agree that the sooner a person acknowledges a drinking problem the less likely they are to do irreversible damages to their life, body and relationships.
One of the biggest problems that college students who are trying to abstain from alcohol face is that nearly everyone around them is drinking. Unfortunately, part of the fabric of college life is the nightlife and socialization. When a college student has an alcohol problem they are constantly faced with watching other people do the very thing that they themselves cannot. The anxiety and frustration that can come from this type of alienation illustrates the importance of seeking professional help on campus.
Earlier in January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a study that placed Arizona fourth in the country for alcohol poisoning deaths. Adults aged 35 to 65 accounted for 76 percent of the alcohol poisoning deaths. Alcohol poisoning occurs when a person consumes a lot of alcohol in a short amount of time and the body cannot process the drinks fast enough. As the state of Arizona geared up to host the Super Bowl, many residents were planning to consume large amounts of alcohol. Researchers warn that this type of behavior is what has lead Arizona to reach the number four spot on the list. Despite Arizona being the home of Universities and colleges, young adults are not the reason for the low ranking.
Binge drinkers are most susceptible to alcohol poisoning. Surprisingly, most binge drinkers are actually adult males aged 40 and above. Most people consider that teenagers are the biggest culprits of binge drinking, however surveys prove that older males are the largest groups of binge drinkers. This may be because they work all week and spend one or two nights during the weekend drinking, it could be that because many adult males either succeed in their career or fail at their careers during this age period that alcohol is used as either a celebratory drink or a means of alleviating stress. Additionally, single men are more likely to go to the emergency room for alcohol poisoning than married men. Regardless of the reasons, Arizona reported that around 780,000 residents in Arizona reported that engaged in binge drinking behavior in 2013.
Binge drinkers are not necessarily alcoholics, however their behavior makes them more susceptible to an alcohol addiction. Generally, binge drinking is either done because a person is happy or sad, and either way it is a damaging activity physically and emotionally because of the toxic load ingested. Extreme emotions often lead a person to binge drink (defined as five or more drinks in one time span). Substituting alcohol to handle a problem or problems in life on a continual basis will never be a permanent solution.
Many teenagers do not realize the dangers of heavy alcohol consumption. Drinking alcohol almost always starts out as a social endeavor. Drinking at parties and with friends is something that many teens try at least once, which can quickly escalate. Binge drinking and heavy drinking have serious effects on the body and the brain, and now there is a program that allows teenagers to upload their picture and see how alcohol would affect their appearance over time.
This in-your-face type of campaign is important for a demographic like teenagers. Teenagers and children in the past have grown up with slogans like; “Just Say No” and have been lectured and talked to about the dangers of drugs, underage drinking and drinking and driving. Illustrating the dangers of alcohol by using their own face may be more powerful than any speech of catchy slogan.
The program shows the destruction alcohol can have on a person’s facial features. The preventative tool works by uploading a picture into the program and seeing how your face is affected after two years, five years, 10 years, 15 years and 20 years of heavy drinking. The original picture is distorted and altered to accurately portray someone who has engaged in heavy drinking. Red blotches, facial alterations and wrinkles are just some of the changes one can see in their picture after submitting it to the program.
Alcohol abuse is something that oftentimes gets overlooked in the wake of the prescription drug and heroin epidemic that is running through our society. However, alcohol still remains one of the most deadly drugs on the market and has long lasting effects on the body. Binge drinking, defined as consuming a large amount of alcohol in a short time, is common among teenagers and younger adults. Binge drinking is most often done among large groups of people, usually at a party. Experts warn that excessive binge drinking can lead to a more severe alcohol problem in the future.