Who Alcoholism Impacts

Alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder, does not discriminate. It can affect people from all cultures, backgrounds, and beliefs. However, certain populations are more susceptible to peer pressure, stress, trauma, and mental illness—all of which can make a person more likely to abuse or become addicted to alcohol.

Underage Alcohol Abuse

Young people who abuse alcohol are far more likely to grow up and develop an alcohol use disorder than those who did not partake in underage drinking. According to the CDC, national surveys have found that 19% of young people ages 12-20 reported drinking alcohol and 11% reported binge drinking in the last 30 days. Some studies have found that, among high school students, up to 14% binge drink and 29% drink each month.[1]

Binge Drinking Among College Students

When young adults leave their parent’s nest, they enter a world of newfound freedom. Many go off to college where they live in on-campus housing among other young adults who also have the freedom to try new things. For example, some join fraternities and sororities where there is a culture of partying and binge drinking. Others get caught up in drinking as part of “college life,” to fit in with their peers, or to cope with the stress of studying and their education.

While the majority of college students binge drink at some point during their academic career, those that drink more frequently may be struggling with an alcohol use disorder. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that 53% of full-time college students ages 18 to 22 drank alcohol in the past month and 33 engaged in binge drinking. In 2019, a national survey found that 9% of full-time college students in this age group met the diagnostic criteria for an alcohol use disorder (AUD).[2]

Moving Mountains Recovery offers a range of outpatient alcohol rehab options that can help college students achieve recovery without having to pull themselves out of their classes.

Professionals with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

Work can be stressful, but certain professions carry a greater risk of alcohol abuse and alcoholism due to the nature of the job.

  • Medical professionals (doctors, nurses, CNAs, caregivers, hospice, administrative staff, veterinarians, vet techs) – These individuals work in a high-stress environment as they deal directly with the lives of others. They also encounter traumatic situations on a regular basis such as traumatic injury and terminal diagnoses. This type of environment can place medical professionals at an increased risk for alcohol abuse.
  • First responders (police, EMTs, firefighters, dispatch, search and rescue) – First responders are the brave individuals who respond to traumatic and life-threatening events each and every day on the job. They show up when there are mass shootings, natural disasters, severe illness, car accidents, homicide, suicide, and more. Daily trauma exposure puts first responders at a greater risk for alcohol abuse and co-occurring PTSD.
  • Business professionals (CEOs, executives, sales, management, lawyers) – High-stress jobs that come with a lot of responsibility often have an office culture where drinking is accepted or encouraged. Meetings, luncheons, business deals, and celebrations may be fueled by alcohol. A work culture where drinking is normalized combined with a high-stress career can make business professionals more susceptible to alcohol use disorder.
  • Tech industry workers – Studies have shown that businesses in the tech industry are the most likely to foster drinking-friendly workplaces as well as company-sponsored happy hours. Nearly 53% of the tech industry includes alcohol at team bonding events and many allow drinking in the workplace. And, nearly one in every 10 I.T. professionals are considered problem drinkers.[3,4]

While many professionals are good at hiding their alcohol abuse, struggling with alcoholism can reduce work productivity and efficiency. In certain professions, such as those that work directly with the general public, one’s alcoholism can even impact the lives of innocent people. At Moving Mountains Recovery, we can help professionals get sober discreetly without having to sacrifice their jobs.

Service Industry Workers

Service industry workers, such as:

  • Servers
  • Hosts
  • Fast-food workers
  • Kitchen staff
  • Bartenders
  • Hospitality workers
  • Shift managers

work high-stress jobs and long hours at relatively low pay. They also deal directly with the public and often have multiple customers or responsibilities at the same time.

Within many service industry jobs, it is acceptable to unwind at the end of a fast-paced shift by drinking alcohol. However, food service workers have the highest rates of heavy drinking when compared to any other occupation. Up to 80% of men and 64% of women in this industry have hazardous alcohol consumption patterns and more than 15% engage in heavy drinking on a regular basis.[5]

Service workers have busy and changing schedules, so getting treatment can prove challenging. But at Moving Mountains Recovery, we offer flexible outpatient rehab so clients can get help for alcoholism without giving up their work shifts.

High-Functioning Alcoholics

When many people picture an alcoholic, they picture a middle-aged person who has an unhygienic appearance or someone who can’t hold down a job. In reality, many alcoholics are regular people who have families, careers, and a slew of other responsibilities. Someone who struggles with alcoholism but is still able to lead a somewhat successful life may be referred to as a high-functioning alcoholic. These individuals are in denial that they have a problem and are able to drink free of short-term consequences. This overconfidence can lead to continued drinking and long-term health problems.

Alcoholism in the LGBTQ+ Community

People who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community experience a lot of stigma and judgment from others in regard to their sexuality. Many are afraid to tell their loved ones about their sexual identity because of the way some people feel about the LGBTQ+ community.

Some LGBTQ+ individuals are even rejected by their friends and family, kicked out of their homes, and discriminated against in the workplace. Each of these hardships make this group of people at an increased risk for alcohol abuse and addiction.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 12.4% of people in the LGBTQ+ community struggle with alcohol use disorder.[6]

Alcohol Abuse and People Experiencing Homelessness

Unhoused populations are more likely to struggle with alcohol use disorder due to their situation. Up to 38% of people experiencing homelessness are also dependent on alcohol.[7]

People face homelessness for a number of reasons. Some struggle with mental illness and have little family support. Others were previously living paycheck to paycheck but experienced a series of financial hardships that cost them their home. Regardless of the circumstances, experiencing homelessness isn’t easy.

Unhoused people are more likely to experience mental illness, trauma, sexual assault, and crime. They also witness the lack of resources for the unhoused as well as little willingness from the public to help fix systemic problems that lead to homelessness. Put simply, not having a home to go to isn’t easy, and many cope by abusing drugs or alcohol.

Active Duty Military and Veterans

Those who are serving or have previously served in the military have seen and experienced situations that are unthinkable. They’ve seen the tragedies of war firsthand and between STAT develop PTSD.

At the same time, alcohol abuse is often used as a form of camaraderie during war as well as a way to escape the horrors of it. This, combined with trauma and PTSD, makes active duty military and veterans at an increased risk for alcoholism. It is estimated that more than 20% of Veterans with PTSD also struggle with addiction and that 27% of soldiers who returned from a deployment to Iraq met the criteria for an alcohol use disorder.[8,9]

Find Treatment for Alcoholism Today

At Moving Mountains Recovery, we understand the seriousness of alcohol addiction, especially since it is the most common addiction that our clients struggle with. We also know that alcoholism impacts all people from all walks of life. The objective at Moving Mountains is to help clients recover in a safe and comfortable environment, with an abundance of peer and clinical support.

We have therapies available to empower clients through their own alcoholism recovery while uncovering their passion in life without the use of drugs or alcohol. Each of our therapies is flexible and adaptable, so they are customized to meet each clients’ unique needs. Our staff is equipped and ready to help with any questions or concerns. Make the life-changing phone call today.

References:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/underage-drinking.htm
  2. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/college-drinking
  3. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/report_1959/ShortReport-1959.html
  4. https://tech.co/news/tech-workplace-drinking-culture-2019-02
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2829730/
  6. https://nida.nih.gov/drug-topics/substance-use-suds-in-lgbtq-populations
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1772151/
  8. https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/related/substance_abuse_vet.asp
  9. https://www.dvs.virginia.gov/virginia-veteran-and-family-support-2/resources/substance-abuse
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