Alcohol Use Disorder: A Global Problem

As National Recovery Month and Suicide Prevention Month come to a close, it only fits that the World Health Organization (WHO) should release a startling report about the most harmful substance on the planet—alcohol. Please do not take such a statement to mean that other mind-altering substances are less dangerous than alcohol; however, no other addictive compound is as pervasive or claims as many lives each year as beer, wine, or spirits. The proof is in the research, just in America alone alcohol is responsible for more illnesses and premature deaths than any other substance. Last year, all drug overdose deaths from any drug – painkiller, heroin, or otherwise – fell far short from the toll wrought by alcohol use disorder.

It makes sense, in the United States alcohol can be acquired with relative ease in all 50 states around the clock, practically. Minors, with even a modicum of “street smarts” can solicit an elder to purchase the substance for them; some parents will also supply alcohol to their kids provided their children drink safely at home. While parental provisional alcohol use is a topic for perhaps another post, it is worth highlighting the lack of seriousness many Americans attach to drinking.

During National Recovery Month it is critical that public health officials and addiction experts do their part in getting the facts to the American people. Encouraging men and women to seek treatment, and replace active substance use with active recovery, is another feature of this observance. Each year, roughly 88,000 Americans succumb to alcohol-related illness or injury. What’s more, millions of men and women in this country continue to lead a chaotic existence in the grips of alcohol use disorder and dependence. Only a small majority of such people are likely to receive treatment in the near future.

WHO Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health

While much of the conversation this month centers around opioids and the present addiction epidemic, it is paramount that we do not lose sight of the damage brought on by a legal drug like alcohol. So, and without further ado, let’s take a look at the findings of a comprehensive report courtesy of the World Health Organization or WHO.

The Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health shows that an estimated 283 million people 15 years old and above had an alcohol use disorder in 2016. In 2016, WHO found that AUD affects 237.0 million adult men and 46.0 million adult women. Worldwide, 3 million deaths every year result from the harmful use of alcohol. The organization found that 5.1% of the global burden of disease and injury is attributable to alcohol.

Hundreds of millions of lives are impacted – in some cases irrevocably – by alcohol use; countless family members have front row seats to the disease of alcohol addiction. Even moderate consumption is associated with heightened disease risk. Moreover, it is challenging to enact legislative changes that can mitigate the damage potential of alcoholic beverages. Following the report, WHO offers several evidence-based recommendations, including but not limited to:

Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment

At Pacific Shores Recovery Center, we offer services that include detox, residential treatment, IOP, and sober living for men and women who are living with alcohol use disorder and drug addiction. We invite you to reach out to learn more about our program and to begin the admission process. We will meet you where you are and guide you to where you want to be!