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One in Eight Americans Are Now Alcoholics

The opioid epidemic has overshadowed another growing public health concern. According to the Daily Mail, 1 in 8 Americans is now an alcoholic. This is an increase of nearly 50 percent from a decade earlier. The disturbing trend was driven by sharp increases in drinking among the elderly, ethnic minorities and women.
 
The research team compared alcohol consumption patterns in 2001 to 2002 and 2012 to 2013. Participants provided information on the frequency of their alcohol consumption, quantity they consumed and whether they had been diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder (AUD). 

Those who did not report an AUD diagnosis could still be classified in this category based on the data collected. Respondents were classified as having an AUD if they met the alcohol abuse and dependence criteria laid out in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV). The results of this study were alarming. Alcohol use disorders in women spiked 83.7 percent, and a 106.7 percent increase was found in individuals over the age of 65. 

There is a large percentage of the population who feels that occasional alcohol consumption can benefit their health. Regardless the merits of this view, too much alcohol is a recipe for disaster and the results of this study remind us alcoholism remains a serious public health concern. 

Alcohol abuse can take a terrible toll on your health. It has the potential to catastrophically impair decision-making abilities and motor skills. It is frequently a factor in vehicular accidents, violent behaviors, unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. 

The impact of alcohol is not limited to acute incidents and disastrous downward spirals. Alcohol can alter your brain chemistry and lower the levels of serotonin, a mood-regulating chemical in your brain, increasing your anxiety and stress instead of reducing it. I advise against drinking when you are feeling down or depressed.

Alcohol acts as a depressant to your central nervous system, which means when you drink it your brain cells communicate at a slower rate than normal. The limbic system of your brain, which controls emotions such as anxiety and fear, is also affected. As the function of your limbic system decreases, your inhibitions may disappear and you may become more outgoing and social.
The functioning of your prefrontal cortex, a brain region associated with reasoning and judgment, also slows when you drink alcohol, leading to more impulsive behavior and (combined) sometimes-poor judgment.

At lower doses your body can still function under the influence of alcohol, but as the dose increases, so too do its effects. As you drink more, your behavior and judgment will become increasingly uninhibited, and your cerebellum, which plays a role in muscle activity, will also be impacted. This is why, as you become more inebriated, you may lose your balance, feel dizzy and definitely shouldn't attempt to drive.

At high doses, the neurons in your brain that control your heart rate and breathing may slow down their communication to the point that your breathing stops completely, leading to death.

Rather than falling into the vicious cycle of alcohol abuse, I recommend addressing your emotional health as soon as possible. Try Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), which is one of the most effective energy psychology tools for me. 

Whether or not moderate alcohol consumption can be safe and even healthy is controversial, with studies showing a mixed bag of results. Some studies have shown that alcohol consumption may be associated with an increased risk of cancer, even at moderate levels of intake.
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