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Our modern culture is inundated with alcohol, whether out at a sporting event or a night on the town with friends.
It is almost impossible to avoid the spectacle of beer and liquor hanging from signs and being sold in every direction.
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People are now beginning to drink at a younger age and consuming much more, drinking at levels never witnessed since the dawn of our modern era.
In this article, we’ll examine the breadth and reach of alcohol in our society using statistics that clearly reveal its massive impact on the world as a whole.
In the U.K., while levels of alcoholism are on the decline, they still represent a substantial portion of the youth and are at higher levels than many other nations in Europe in a study conducted by the World Health Organization’s Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children.
England, Wales, and Scotland were found to have more 15-year olds having had two or more alcoholic drinks than the total average among 42 countries, which was 22%. 
According to a study from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in the U.S., nearly a third (30.3%) of young respondents at 15-years of age indicated having at least one drink in their lives, while a whopping 7.4 million people between 12 and 20 years old had alcohol just in the last month alone, representing a full 19..7% of this age group.
These staggering numbers outline a widespread problem of substance abuse among today’s youth, and early exposure to alcohol can increase the likelihood of addiction long into adulthood.
Those living with people who drink are far more likely to turn to alcohol themselves, and studies show that as young people continue to age their likelihood of drinking rises also.
The most common source from which young people obtain alcohol is from their parents, and the most common setting where they drink it at is in the home according to a National Health Service study in the U.K.
A large number of young people reported arguments or vomiting after drinking, as well as losing money or other items and damaging clothes or belongings.
Women are increasingly finding themselves the victims of this disease, with the gap between men and women that favours male alcohol abuse quickly diminishing.
A study conducted in 2017 by the NIAAA that looked at habits from 2001 to 2002 as well as between 2012 and 2013 found that high-risk drinking, which involves consuming over three drinks in a single day or over seven in a week, is rising to the tune of 58% among women.
Although alcoholism is on the rise across nearly all age groups and demographics, the dramatic increase among women is particularly disturbing as it showcases just how commonplace alcohol has become within families and society.
Statistics are showing that women are catching up to men and the gap is shrinking between the amount of alcohol each group drinks overall.
While in the past, men born from 1891 to 1910 were twice as likely as females to drink alcohol and over three times more likely to be involved in problematic use, those numbers have since shifted dramatically in every way, reaching comparable numbers from the year 1991 through to 2000.
Because of the higher fat to water ratio in women than men, women can experience severe problems that impact reproductive health as well as child-birth.
Alcohol is a deeply ingrained part of the culture within the U.K., with the most common times to abuse alcohol during celebrations that could include weddings, anniversaries, or other types of celebratory events.
When it comes to drinking to get drunk and heavy drinking, the UK leads the world in this category, averaging nearly one time per week. Other English speaking nations weren’t far behind to help top off the list, with the U.S., Canada, and Australia just behind their U.K. counterparts.
According to Karen Tyrell of the drug and alcohol charity Addaction, four out of every five people in the U.K. with an alcohol problem are not receiving any kind of treatment or therapy for their condition.
To help spell out the situation a bit more clearly, some illuminating statistics show that:
Studies show that those in the U.K. most likely to fall victim to the use of alcohol are within higher income group, and come from urban areas. 
Also, in homes where the parents drink, the children are far more likely to take up the habit themselves, an indication of the hereditary nature of the disease.
Three in four people in the U.K. (77%) report having alcohol in 2017, while more than one in four (26%) engaged in binge drinking at least once per month.
By identifying the situations that are more likely to lead to alcoholism and diagnosing the problem at an earlier stage, people can be far more likely to receive the treatment they need before it becomes too late.
Needless to say, the societal problems attributed to alcohol aren’t limited to a single nation but span the entire global population en masse.
To illuminate this point, adults around the globe drink 5 full litres of pure alcohol annually from various drinks containing alcohol on average.
The concentrated region where alcohol consumption is the highest worldwide puts Europe in the first place, with the Americas coming in second and Africa after that.
Around the world, alcohol use is on the rise and will eclipse Europe by expectations as the leading region of alcohol consumption worldwide by 2030, according to projections.
Judging from the numbers, it doesn’t take much to see that alcohol and alcoholism are widespread realities affecting every corner of the world, from London to Hong Kong.
In nations like Georgia and Colombia, as much as a full 50% of male drinkers have been classified as “heavy drinkers” in select surveys.
The clear reality of the situation is that the wealth of nations and accessibility of alcohol is outpacing the capability of society to adequately address these problems in a responsible way, leaving many wondering where to turn to for more information on how to approach the phenomenon.
Alcohol enters the body through the mouth, finding its way into your bloodstream through blood vessels in your mouth and tongue, inside the stomach cavity, and the vast majority being taken into the body through the small intestine.
While in the stomach, alcohol can agitate fluids, causing acid buildup that leads to nausea and even ulcers after years of abuse.
These effects also have the potential to inhibit appetite and cause a lack of nutritional intake among regular alcoholics.
After entering the blood, alcohol then permeates throughout the entire body, eventually undergoing the filtration process by the liver and kidneys.
While in the blood, high to extremely high levels of alcohol can cause slowness of breath, dizziness, nausea, or loss of consciousness.
Alcohol also causes the kidneys to work harder and produce more urine than usual, while the liver is only capable of handling a single drink per hour at a healthy, normal pace.
These conditions can lead to double-vision or severe impairments that cause irregular behaviour in the person drinking.
The statistics regarding the damage alcohol can do to the body are quite alarming, and include:
The effects of alcohol can be felt almost immediately, making an impact in as little as five to ten minutes.
Common symptoms include becoming more outward socially, more easily aggravated, or a lack of judgment and compulsiveness.
Eventually, people become disoriented and simple tasks such as walking straight or driving become monumental undertakings that may pose a risk to the person under the influence.
The consequences of alcohol aren’t simply temporary and then gone, but rather follow the body both the next morning and with continued use over time.
Hangovers are caused by an overworked liver, leading to dryness of mouth, intense bouts of nausea, and throbbing headaches that can lead to disassociation and incoordination.
Because of all the agitation within the stomach caused by alcohol, the toxins and acid present make persistent vomiting a common symptom of hangovers.
Long-term effects can include an inconsistent heartbeat due to changes in body temperature that elevate blood pressure and shrinking of the brain that impairs the ability to learn, think, and remember.
A study done by investigators at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Canada and the Technische Universitat in Dresden, Germany found intriguing results showing that, when compared to three decades previously, people all over the world are consuming much more alcohol and the trend is set to continue for decades into the future.
Published by a publication known at The Lancet, which looks at alcohol use across 189 countries and several decades, projects the steady increase of alcohol use until 2030 at the least.
In the United States alone, it is estimated that 15 million people suffer from alcoholism and that 40% of all car accident deaths are associated with the use of alcohol. 
Blackouts can be extremely common, as alcohol interferes with the part of the brain responsible for memories, making it possible to have no recollection of what happened while you were drinking.
Alcohol can also be responsible for severe behaviour changes, and hallucinations that lead to erratic actions and poor decisions.
While these effects can take place suddenly in a single moment, the ramifications could have severe consequences that last a lifetime.
Dependency is common among regular and heavy drinkers, creating an emotional and physical bond to the substance that can be hard to get rid of.
After prolonged periods of addiction, cutting use can lead to devastating withdrawal symptoms that can sometimes prove fatal.
Drinking too much may also make it harder for the brain to form long-term memories, impairing regular brain functions and damaging cells.
This can make it difficult to do things that were once simple, such as speak clearly or maintain healthy reaction times.
Alcoholism is well-known for its potential to destroy jobs, ruin relationships, and impose a wide number of health problems leading to increased expenses and reduced lifespans.
The adverse effects of alcohol use are extensive, and continued use leads to an increased risk of health problems and financial stress.
Unfortunately, many alcoholics are unaware of the dangers posed by their alcoholism until it becomes too late or dependence is formed, another reason why awareness plays such a crucial role in today’s society.
Although alcoholism is on the rise and there seems to be more availability of alcoholic beverages than ever before, our society need not be left without hope.
With the proper knowledge and a heightened level of awareness, we can prepare ourselves to deal with the never-ending supply of alcoholic drinks at our restaurants, sporting events, and social gatherings.
Drinking responsibly begins with first knowing how alcohol affects us and making choices that keep us out of harm’s way. Whether you or someone you know is facing problems due to the use of alcohol, many options exist for mending the damage and starting a new path toward a brighter future.
When clear signs of alcoholism make themselves known, there’s no need to sit idly by while someone’s life spirals out of control.
If you or someone you know is combating the harmful influences of excessive alcohol, contact a licensed professional right away and reach out to your local Alcoholics Anonymous chapter to find support from those struggling with the same problems.
Alcoholics need not be alone in their fight against alcohol, and many treatment plans accept a wide range of insurance plans, as well as community organizations to reach out to for support.
With the right help and information, no one needs to remain under the inhibiting condition of alcoholism when better opportunities await.
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