Alcohol has been a part of our society since ages; hence, it is often considered more of a recreational drink than a substance of abuse. However, alcohol abuse can lead to various problems. In addition to causing liver diseases, cardiovascular problems, gastrointestinal problems, and unintentional injuries, alcohol abuse has been linked to a range of mental health issues, varying from depression to suicide. When left untreated, alcohol use disorders (AUDs) can take a toll on the emotional and physical well-being of individuals and their family members. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), nearly 88,000 lives are lost due to alcohol-related causes each year, making alcohol the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
Alcohol in America
There is a long history related to efforts to manage alcohol abuse in the United States. In the 19th century, the Temperance Movement flourished throughout the country and culminated in 1920 with the Prohibition Era and the passage of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, which made it illegal to produce, transport or sell alcohol in the United States. Unfortunately, it had little to no effect on the amount of alcohol Americans consumed, and the effort was abandoned in 1933 with the passage of the 21st Amendment that repealed the 18th one.
The 1930s also saw the establishment of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) a self-help program. Using the 12-Steps of recovery, Alcoholics Anonymous continues to flourish even today. In 2011, Alcoholics Anonymous counted approximately 2 million members worldwide. Thankfully, the understanding of alcohol abuse and addiction and alcoholism treatment methods has also come a long way.