Alcoholism persists as one of the largest issues nationwide, and Florida is no exception. Though the rate of alcohol abuse has fluctuated in the past decade, the state’s addiction community still sees alcohol treatment as one of its most prevalent responsibilities and the trend shows no sign of ceasing anytime soon. Alcoholism in Florida has become a growing issue in recent years.

Picture this: In 2014, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, estimates that there are 16 million American adults that have a disorder that leads them to abuse alcohol. This probably underestimates the number of people struggling with addiction that abuse alcohol with other substances, so we can see that alcohol abuse is a major problem, in the United States.

According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), in the United States, 6.2% of people aged 18 or older (15.2 million people) suffer from alcoholism, otherwise known as alcohol use disorder (AUD). Alcoholics in that age group are twice as likely to be men than women. Furthermore, among youths aged 12-17, roughly 2.5% are estimated to suffer from AUD, with females slightly outnumbering males.

What these numbers mean is quite simple. Roughly 1 in 16 adults suffer from AUD and roughly 1 in 40 teenage youth suffer from AUD. This is almost double the rate of people who suffer from depression, which is one of the most common mental disorders. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), it is also roughly 6 times the roughly 2.5 million Americans that abuse either prescription opioids or heroin, an impressive number given that opioid abuse is considered to have reached a crisis level in the U.S.

If you or a loved one find yourself struggling with alcohol abuse, getting help can save your life. Call Lumiere Detox Center today for more information about how our professional staff can help you on a path to recovery and lifelong sobriety. 855-535-8501

Alcoholism in Florida: Getting the Full Picture

Because alcohol, unlike other commonly abused substances, is legal and sales aren’t tracked by any oversight, it can be difficult to truly realize the impact of alcoholism in Florida. At any rate, the above SAMHSA report shows some alarming results about addiction in the U.S: out of those 16 million adults estimated to be suffering from alcohol abuse issues, only 1.5 million are seeking treatment. This stat is believed to be roughly proportional in Florida, illustrating a growing need for dedicated addiction treatment facilities in the state.

Alcoholism in Colleges in Florida

Alcohol use is a familiar, yet dangerous occurrence on college campuses, especially in Florida’s universities. As of 2017, the Princeton Review ranked the University of Florida in Gainesville and Florida State University in Tallahassee as the 18th and 20th (respectively) schools in the nation for partying, in which alcohol and recreational drug use is a large part of their ranking equation.

Additionally, a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) survey found that college students in America are over 10% more likely to binge drink when they consume alcohol than their non-college peers.

Florida’s Drinking Problem By County

Not all counties in Florida are created equal when it comes to alcoholism in Florida. For example, according to the County Health Report and Roadmap from 2006-12, the following counties were over 20% in alcohol abuse:

  • Bay (home of the popular spring break destination Panama City)
  • Wakulla
  • St. John’s
  • Seminole
  • Brevard
  • Indian River
  • Monroe
  • Pascoe

The most populous counties in the state also showed high percentages of alcoholism in Florida, although not as severe:

  • Broward (Ft. Lauderdale) – 15%
  • Dade (Miami) – 12%
  • Palm Beach – 15%
  • Duval (Jacksonville) – 16%
  • Alachua (Gainesville) – 14%
  • Collier (Naples) – 18%
  • Hillsborough (Tampa) – 19%
  • Leon (Tallahassee) – 19%

Statewide, 17% of Floridians report habitually engaging in heavy drinking.

Alcohol-Related Deaths in Florida

According to the Report on Patterns and Trends in Substance Abuse, revised in 2017, there were almost 2,500 deaths in which alcohol was found in the deceased’s system by coroners in only the first half of 2016. Of these deaths, 405 were found to be directly caused by alcohol abuse.

DUI and Alcohol Arrests in Florida

Another way we can use data to view the severity of alcoholism in Florida is by looking at occurrences of DUIs in the state. According to the same revised report:

In 2015, there were slightly over 31,000 DUIs in Florida and in the first half of 2016, projections showed a 9% increase in 2016.

Dangers of Alcoholism

Because alcohol is legal to consume (at least for individuals 21 or older), many people don’t realize that it is a drug, exhibiting similar properties, side effects, and withdrawal symptoms to well-known drugs like cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines. Like many illicit drugs, it is also highly addictive, potentially causing physical addiction after just a few days of heavy use.

Once a person has become addicted, ie. become an alcoholic, there are a variety of ways that alcoholism can cause significant harm. The most common are:

  • Economic hardship – Alcoholic misuse cost Americans $249 billion in 2010
  • Physical harm – Roughly 90,000 people die each year from alcohol-related causes, with close to 10,000 due to driving under the influence (a number that represents over 30% of all driving deaths each year)
  • Abuse of loved ones – 33% of women who suffer domestic abuse cited alcohol as one of the aggravating causes
  • Cancer and liver disease – 1 in 3 liver transplants in the U.S. are a result of alcohol and alcohol use increases the risk for multiple types of cancer
  • Legal problems – According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, roughly 1/3 of all convicted offenders had been drinking alcohol when they committed the offense

Between health problems, legal problems, and the possibility of causing physical harm to self or loved ones, alcoholism has some of the direst consequences of any affliction.

Stages of Alcoholism

Few people become full-blown alcoholics overnight. Usually, there is a slow buildup that may involve some form of mental or social distress.

The earliest stage of alcoholism usually involves social drinking. At this stage, the individual is likely not drinking to get drunk. Usually, they are simply drinking to lower inhibitions and make socializing easier. In moderation, this is fine. The problem starts when this behavior becomes common because it results in an increase in tolerance.

Once tolerance has increased significantly, the next stage begins. There are a number of possible signs for this stage and a variety of ways it can go. A person may experience a blackout, or may regularly engage in binge drinking, or may just be drinking with the goal of getting drunk. Whatever the exact way it shows itself, at this point the act of drinking has become more important than the reason for drinking. Thus, by this stage, drinking alone or as a coping mechanism is quite common.

The next stage of alcoholism is usually when a person is most likely to be recognized as an alcoholic by friends, family, or co-workers. At this point drinking has become a top priority, holding more weight than things like attending important family functions, going to work, or caring for loved ones. At this stage, alcoholism can become dangerous to children due to negligence.

The final stage of alcoholism is the stage where problems start to cascade. Physical side effects like tremors, heart palpitations, ulcers, and diabetes are common. Social ramifications like lost friendships, lost jobs, and even possibly trouble with the law are also quite common. At this stage, there is often a real danger of permanent physical harm or death if medical attention isn’t received.

The Importance of Alcohol Treatment in Florida

A SAMHSA survey of Floridians seeking treatment for addiction found that 16.4% of rehab facility entrants were seeking treatment for alcohol only, but an alarming 42.2% were in treatment for alcohol combined with another substance.

Even more alarming was that a shocking 97.1% of people seeking treatment for alcoholism said that they didn’t think treatment met the demand, leaving a gap between people seeking help and the number of addicts actually being helped by the addiction treatment industry.

Here’s an issue with that: alcohol withdrawal is known to be the most potentially life-threatening of all withdrawals, especially when it’s combined with withdrawal from another substance. Notable high-profile cases detail how alcohol withdrawal can be so fatal, and when addicts don’t receive the help they need, that risk becomes higher.

Call Lumiere Detox Center Today

At Lumiere, we have a professional staff and a state-of-the-art facility, equipped to help addicts in need in Florida and across the country. Alcoholism in Florida is a pervasive issue, and the experts at Lumiere aim to offer services to stem the dangerous trends that are leading to more and more deaths and arrests each year.

If you or a loved one are struggling with alcoholism in Florida, give Lumiere Detox Center a call now at 855-535-8501.