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Friday, March 8, 2019

Dispelling Myths About Alcohol Use

alcohol use
Alcohol is the most heavily used mind-altering substance on the planet. More than 88,000 Americans lose their lives to alcohol-related causes each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC reports that over 15 million Americans struggle with an alcohol use disorder or AUD; however, less than eight percent of those people receive treatment.

Several studies conducted over the years have linked alcohol use to myriad, life-threatening health problems. Such conditions include, but are not limited to:
  • Liver Disease
  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • Breast, Mouth, Throat, Esophagus, Liver, and Colon Cancer
The above list presents the physical problems that can arise from drinking. However, the substance can wreak havoc on the brain as well. Researchers associate several mental health problems with alcohol use, including addiction, anxiety, and depression. Despite experts agreeing unequivocally that alcohol use, in any amount, carries inherent risks, myths about the substance persist. It is of the utmost importance that we work to dispel some the common misconceptions about alcohol. Particularly the idea that using alcohol moderately has health benefits.


No Safe Level of Alcohol Consumption

A systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016 found that nearly 3 million deaths globally can be attributed to alcohol each year; and, about 1 in 10 deaths is linked to alcohol use among people ages 15 to 49. The authors conclude that there's no "safe" level of alcohol consumption.

"The widely held view of the health benefits of alcohol needs revising," the researchers wrote in their paper, published in the journal The Lancet. "Our results show that the safest level of drinking is none." 

The massive study did find a slight correlation between moderate drinking and reduced risk of ischemic heart disease. However, the researchers acknowledge that the health risks of alcohol eclipse such benefits.

The authors of a new study point out that the previous studies confirming the benefit – alcohol can protect against ischemic heart disease – are faulty. Support data for the above finding usually involved people ages 50 and older; it fails to consider the people who have perished from alcohol use at younger ages, LiveScience reports. The observation is important because one-third of deaths from alcohol consumption occur among people ages 20 to 49; and, the authors write that "deceased persons cannot be enrolled in" medical studies.

The research, published last month in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, shows that only 4.5 percent of estimated deaths said to be prevented by alcohol consumption occurred among those ages 20 to 49, compared with 80 percent among those ages 65 and older. The study authors, led by Dr. Timothy Naimi of Boston Medical Center's Clinical Addiction Research and Education Unit, conclude:

“Because of premature mortality, alcohol-mortality associations based on cohort studies may underestimate negative health consequences compared with those observed among the general population.”

California Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment

Alcohol use disorder is a treatable mental health condition, and addiction recovery is possible for you or a loved one. The more extended treatment is postponed, the worse a person’s symptoms become; alcoholism is a progressive, life-threatening disease with no known cure. With professional assistance, however, men and women can learn how to manage their illness and lead a productive life in recovery.

We invite you to contact The Haven at Pismo to learn more about our sanctuary for those seeking recovery. Our dedicated team of addiction professionals can help you find physical restoration, spiritual reawakening, and freedom from chemical dependency. You are welcome to submit a confidential online request or call 805.202.3440 today to speak with a recovery counselor.