The Dangers of Alcohol Use Disorder

A new study conducted by the University of Queensland found that Tandospirone, an antidepressant, can help to reverse the effects of drinking. According to the study, researchers believe this antidepressant will work by preventing depression and anxiety, which are both common withdrawal symptoms that cause many individuals to give into their carvings and ultimately, drink. The study also found that Tandospirone is able to reverse some of the damage that long-term and excessive drinking causes on neuron generation.1 This new finding, along with other research that is being conducted, can prove to being beneficial to helping individuals overcome alcohol use disorder.

Alcohol use disorder can be hard to spot due to the fact that consumption of excess amounts of alcohol has been normalized in many aspects. Unlike many other substances, drinking has less of a taboo around it, and it has become a staple in many social situations. In addition, alcohol is seemingly everywhere – on billboards, television screens, the local happy hour get together, etc. Alcohol’s prevalence is not questioned today, which makes it hard to pick out who has an alcohol use disorder. It is estimated two-thirds of Americans consume alcohol yearly; however, half of all of the alcohol that is consumed in the United States each year is consumed by only 10 percent of those who drink.2

With nearly 15.1 million adults with alcohol use disorder in the United States, alcohol directly or indirectly affects the lives of almost everyone.3 Just in the United States, 53 percent of people have one or more relatives who have an alcohol use disorder. Currently, an estimated 6.6 million children are living with a parent that has an alcohol use disorder.

The effects of alcohol and the development of alcohol use disorder are not regarded as being as harmful as other substance use disorders. Yet, alcohol has proven to be deadly and extremely harmful. There are approximately 79,000 deaths in the United States each year due to alcohol, making alcohol the third leading cause of preventable deaths.2 Each day there are 30 deaths as a result of alcohol-related car accidents, and 6 deaths from alcohol poisoning.4

Alcohol has also been linked to higher violent crimes rates and domestic violence. Over one-third of the annual violent crimes committed involve an offender who was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crime. In addition, two-thirds of domestic or partner violence victims reported the involvement of alcohol during the offense. In these instances, three out of four spousal violence incidents involved an offender who had been under the influence of alcohol.2

Excessive alcohol consumption actually the brain as it sensitizes certain brain circuits and affects the neurotransmitters levels. Use of alcohol also affects the part of the brain that is involved in decision-making, which makes it harder for a person to stop drinking.5 Withdrawals from alcohol can be deadly, which makes seeking out professional help absolutely crucial to one’s livelihood. This makes the finding that less than 8 percent of individuals with alcohol use disorder seeking out professional help all the more alarming. Research shows in-patient treatment program is more likely to result in safe and long-term recovery.6

Quitting drinking can be very tough to navigate, and even with the new research that is being conducted, the preferred and safest method to recovery is through seeking out professional help.


1. 3 Things Research Learned About A New Alcohol Treatment Drug That Counters Brain
2. Drug Addiction Statistics – Alcoholism Statistics and Data Sources
3. Alcohol Facts and Statistics
4. 2018 Alcoholism Statistics You Need to Know
5. Brad Pitt Goes Sober: Why It’s So Tough to Quit Alcohol
6. Can Heroin, Benzo or Alcohol Withdrawal Cause Death?

About Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers
Every year Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment helps thousands of adults and teens get their life back on track and gives renewed hope to those who care about them. With 50 years of treatment experience, our specialists take the time to understand of the specific needs of each individual. We then develop a customized treatment plan with recommendations for the most appropriate care based on an individual's substance abuse and mental health history. As the largest provider of alcohol and drug abuse treatment in Illinois, Gateway has 11 treatment centers throughout the state. Gateway outpatient and residential substance abuse treatment programs are not one-size fits all, but unique treatment plans that give an individual the highest chance for a successful outcome. With insurance acceptance and a track record of success, Gateway Treatment Centers help thousands of individual’s successfully complete treatment each year, and find the hope they need to live again.

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