The impact that alcohol addiction can have on the affected individual is immense, but the damage this illness causes does not stop with the drinker. In fact, many other people are affected by alcohol addiction including the family members and friends of the person with the issue. Moving on from that, entire communities and society in general also suffer. Read on to find out more about how alcohol addiction impacts society and what could be done about it.
The Impact of Alcohol Addiction on Society
How alcohol addiction impacts society is a very important issue. Many people believe that illnesses such as alcoholism harm only the person abusing the alcohol when in fact this is far from the truth. Alcohol has a negative impact on almost everyone in the country but without direct experience of addiction, you might be forgiven for being oblivious to this.
One of the primary areas where alcohol addiction has a negative impact on society is in terms of the National Health Service. The NHS is under immense pressure right now due to staff shortages and an aging population.
However, alcohol-related health problems and injuries are also placing undue stress on an already under-pressure service. In 2015/2016 in England alone, there was an estimated 339,000 alcohol-related hospital admissions. This figure represented a three per cent increase on the previous year and a 22 per cent increase on the figure for 2005/2006, showing very clearly that alcohol misuse is a growing problem in this country. Across the whole of the UK, there was an estimated 1.1 million hospital admissions related to alcohol misuse in 2015/2016.
With vital resources being used up on the treatment of preventable alcohol-related illnesses and injuries, it is easy to see how society is being negatively affected. Not only is the time and expertise of medical professionals being utilised in treating preventable conditions, but the cost to the taxpayer is running into millions every single year.
But the damage does not stop there.
The Link Between Alcohol Misuse and Crime
Alcoholism has a negative impact on the health service in this country, but it is also linked to violent crime. Over half of all victims of violent crime report that the perpetrator was under the influence of a mood-altering substance such as alcohol or drugs at the time of the crime.
As you might imagine, the cost of policing and prosecuting crimes committed by those under the influence of alcohol has a negative impact on the taxpayer and, therefore, society as a whole.
Nevertheless, it is not just violent crimes that are committed by those under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol impairs judgement and can lead some individuals to take unnecessary risks. Driving while intoxicated is considered an unnecessary risk, and one that can ultimately destroy lives.
Although not as prevalent as it might have been decades ago, drink-driving continues to be a problem in many parts of the UK. In Scotland, the drink-drive limit was lowered from 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood to 50 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood in December 2014, and evidence suggests that most people in the rest of the UK would support similar measures being implemented.
Driving while under the influence of alcohol means driving while impaired; when in control of a large vehicle such as a car, the consequences are often fatal. Moreover, while the number of drink-drive deaths has remained stable since 2010, there has been an increase in the number of drink-drive injuries in recent years.
In fact, the Department of Transport reported that there were 1,170 serious drink-drive injuries in 2015, which was an increase of 100 on the previous year. The total number of accidents relating to drink-driving in 2015 was 8,470, which was a three per cent increase on the previous year.
Statistics show that the decrease in the alcohol limit in Scotland led to a 12.5 per cent drop in the number of alcohol-related motoring offences in just the first nine months. But even with these figures, there are no plans to decrease the limit in the rest of the UK.
The Negative Consequences of Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol addiction obviously has negative consequences for the individual, which then has a knock-on impact on society. The idea that alcoholics are only harming themselves is one that has been bandied about for a very long time, but it is one that is just not true.
Alcohol addiction is responsible for both mental and physical health problems, and when alcoholics suffer with such problems, they require treatment – usually from the NHS. But alcohol addiction can also have a negative impact on relationships, which too affects many people.
Alcoholism contributes to the breakdown of relationships and divorce. It can also be a leading cause of neglect for many children and can result in some kids being taken into care. This obviously has an impact on society.
Children of alcoholics are often referred to as the forgotten victims and many go through their entire childhoods living with an unpredictable parent in a chaotic home. As they get older, many of them will find themselves struggling with addiction problems too as they do the only thing they know how – solve their problems in the bottom of a bottle. And so the cycle continues and the impact to society goes on.
Can the Problem of Alcoholism be Solved?
As long as alcohol exists, there will be many who find themselves struggling with addiction. Nonetheless, the more individuals are educated about the dangers of alcoholism and the damage it can cause, the more likely it is that a greater number will be prevented from going down the same path of destruction.
For many years, alcoholism and other addictions have been surrounded by stigma and shame and countless people would spend a long time denying they had a problem rather than trying to get help. While this does still happen, things have progressed to a point where more are now willing to stand up and admit to having a problem and ask for help. Because that help is readily available.
If you are suffering because you have found yourself in a position where you no longer have control over your alcohol consumption, you do not have to continue like this. Although alcoholism cannot be cured, it can be treated. There are many fantastic programmes that can help you to overcome this illness and move on to a substance-free life.
What is Alcohol Treatment Like?
Alcohol treatment begins with a detox; the process is designed to break the physical addiction. Alcohol detox is a natural process that begins when you stop drinking. After a number of hours, your body will begin trying to get back to normal and it is likely that you will experience withdrawal symptoms.
It should be pointed out, however, that suddenly stopping alcohol after years of heavy abuse can be dangerous. As such, it is recommended that you complete a detox in a supervised facility. Detox clinics are staffed by teams who are fully trained and who have experience in helping people through this difficult process.
They have the expertise and skills to effectively manage your detox to ensure your comfort and safety at all times. If appropriate, they will administer medication to ease your symptoms and to help you get through the detox with as little discomfort as possible.
Nevertheless, detox is just the first part of the recovery process. While it helps to break the physical bond between you and alcohol, it will do nothing to address the other issues associated with your illness; such as why you started abusing alcohol in the first place. To overcome the emotional and psychological aspect of addiction, you will need to complete a programme of rehabilitation.
Rehab programmes are either inpatient or outpatient based, but both have the same goal – to help you learn how to move on and live a substance-free life. Through a variety of talking therapies, you will learn the cause of your illness and will be taught the skills you need to avoid a relapse in the future.
Accessing Help for Addiction
If you would like to learn more about how alcohol addiction impacts society, or if you want information about how you can overcome such an illness, please contact us here at Liberty House Clinic. We are a private clinic based in Bedfordshire.
We offer superior detox and rehabilitation programmes for those struggling with addiction and have a team of fully trained and dedicated staff members who work around-the-clock to help patients get well again. We offer comprehensive programmes in a state-of-the-art clinic that has been designed with your comfort and safety in mind.
Please call us today to find out more about us and how we can help you to overcome your addiction once and for all. You can get in touch with us via our free helpline or leave your contact details on this website and we will contact you as soon as possible.