Some of the most dangerous health risks begin at home. It is estimated that two-thirds of U.S. adults drink alcohol occasionally, and 13% are alcoholics. About one out of five recreational drinkers will become dependent on alcohol during a portion of their lives.alcohol abuse
Perhaps even more troubling are the latest figures on underage drinking. An annual study conducted by the University of Michigan, the Monitoring the Future study, found that 33% of secondary school students reported being drunk at least once in the past month. And according to a Harvard study, one in five college students are frequent binge drinkers.
Binge drinking, the consumption of a large amount of alcohol in a short period, can result in alcohol poisoning, which can be fatal. If you suspect someone has alcohol poisoning, do not leave that person alone. Lay the person on his or her side, check breathing and pulse, and seek emergency medical care.
Symptoms of alcohol poisoning are:
- Vomiting, especially while sleeping or unconscious.
- Semiconsciousness or unconsciousness.
- Cold, clammy, pale, or bluish skin.
- Slow breathing (breathes less than eight times per minute or has 10 seconds or more between breaths).
The effects of alcohol abuse are many and varied.
Chronic alcohol use damages many organ systems, leading to disorders of the liver, pancreas, heart, blood vessels, stomach, and intestines.
- Damage to the nervous system can include intellectual decline, seizures, and memory loss.
- Alcohol use has serious effects for pregnant women, and can even lead to cancer.
- But the effects are not limited to the physical body. Alcohol abuse can result in anxiety, depression, and antisocial behavior. Legal,
- employment, and family problems are common consequences.
Few people can handle a problem-drinker alone, and most alcoholics need help fighting their disease. You should seek help from a trained, supportive person or organization. A number of local and national organizations are a phone call away.
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