For most people, life can be stressful at times, so it is only natural for humans to seek solace from stress. Many individuals rely on alcohol as an outlet for anxiety and depression or to cope with overwhelming emotions. While some individuals do so in moderation, many find themselves struggling with alcohol abuse, which leads to an array of physical and emotional consequences. Alcoholism destroys families, relationships and careers.
Alcoholism and Crime
Every year nearly three million alcohol-related, violent crimes occur. These crimes include rape, assault and robbery. Seventy percent of these violent incidents take place within the home — many occurring late in the evening.1 While minor assaults and robbery are still tragic, it is the violence that occurs within the home that is the most disconcerting. The abrupt shift in an alcoholic’s behavior may prompt impulsive and violent actions, resulting in domestic abuse, rape and murder — oftentimes, the victims of these violent crimes are women and children.
Even a single episode of domestic violence may leave the victim feeling frightened and helpless, despite his or her unconditional love for the perpetrator. With similar fear, children of alcoholics learn to not feel comfortable in their homes or in their relationships with an alcoholic parent. In cases of domestic abuse, children are perhaps the most tragic victims in that because they innately love and trust their parents, despite their flaws, it is not uncommon for children of alcoholics to either model the behavior or develop a mental health disorder — like anxiety or depression.
Alcoholism and Careers
Not only does alcoholism tear families apart, but it also hinders professional growth. Twenty-four percent of adults say they have had a drink while working in the last year.1 Many people struggle with drinking too much but may not even know it. What discerns moderate from heavy drinking is a fine line; however, the CDC says that heavy drinking is more than 15 drinks a week for a man and eight for a woman.2 One drink is 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of liquor.3
A productive employee may celebrate a promotion with a drink or two after work, but an someone with alcoholism is unable to maintain healthy boundaries between work and drinking. As a result, those with alcoholism often have a difficult time maintaining job stability, commonly experiencing the following job-related issues:
- Decreased productivity
- High rates of absenteeism
- Fatal accidents
- Interpersonal conflicts with co-workers1
Alcoholism and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Any abuse of alcohol will inevitably cause some degree of harm; however, drinking while pregnant can cause significant harm to unborn babies. By choosing to drink during pregnancy, women put both themselves and their unborn child at risk. Women who binge drink are particularly vulnerable. There is no safe amount and no safe time in pregnancy to consume alcohol. The only true way to prevent fetal alcohol spectrum disorders is to remain abstinent from alcohol during the entire pregnancy.4
Similar to children of alcoholics, unborn children are completely vulnerable to the effects of alcohol abuse. An alcoholic mother may be deeply immersed in her destructive habits and be unwilling or incapable of modifying her behavior. Despite the grip of alcoholism, an infant born with fetal alcohol syndrome will suffer an array of consequences. Currently alcohol use in pregnancy is the leading cause of severe mental impedance, and it is completely preventable.5
Facing alcoholism is no simple feat — recovery requires hard work and the support from loved ones. Choosing to enter recovery is an investment in the future for yourself and those you love.
1 “Alcohol, Drugs and Crime.” National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. 27 June 2015.
2 “Frequently Asked Questions.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 8 June 2017.
3 “What Is A Standard Drink?” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Accessed 21 January 2018.
4 “Alcohol Use in Pregnancy.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.21 July 2016.
5 “FASD: What Everyone Should Know.” National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Accessed 21 January 2018.