Hollywood, Florida, sits along the Atlantic Ocean in Broward County, inviting all to relax by the sea or stroll along its boardwalk and take in the spectacular views. Visitors who fill the sidewalks in the city’s downtown can enjoy a meal and drinks at its restaurants, including beverages that contain alcohol.
With beer, wine, cocktails, and liquor on the menus at establishments throughout the area, patrons can choose any of these to unwind with almost any time of the day and late into the night, which is common.
Alcohol is seemingly everywhere, and it’s a reminder of how much drinking it is a staple of social life in the U.S. Most people know that drinking alcohol requires care and responsibility, and many abide by their personal limits and drink in moderation. But some people who enjoy alcohol may not be able to stop at one or two glasses because they are in a fight to keep their drinking under control. It is easy to dismiss this downward spiral into alcoholism, but it’s worth noting that being unable to drink with care is the start of a serious problem.
Hollywood offers a good, relaxing time, but some of its communities also face substance addiction and mental health disorders. It is definitely not unique in that way, as these issues affect communities throughout the nation.
The 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health offers an idea of how serious alcohol use disorder is in the U.S. It reports that 14.8 million people aged 12 or older in the U.S. had an alcohol use disorder in 2018.
In Miami, another bustling place for sun and fun that’s just a half-hour drive from Hollywood, patrons spend heartily on their adult beverages. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “spending on alcoholic beverages in Miami averaged $375 per household over 2013–14, compared with $362 in the South and $454 in the United States.”
All of this data shows that drinking culture is alive and well in South Florida, and some will get too caught up in the fun before realizing they will need rehab to cut down on their drinking or leave alcohol behind for good. Fortunately, accredited facilities in the South Florida area can help them find alcohol rehab programs in their area.
Problematic drinking may not appear to be a threat at first. In many cases, alcohol abuse starts off being easy to explain away or hide. Some people may even drink alone and at unusual hours so that their use goes undetected by those who know them best.
A change in schedules or habits can make it more challenging to notice if someone is overdoing it on the alcohol, but these changes can also signal that something is wrong. Access to alcohol isn’t a problem, which also makes it hard to know when someone is using too much of it. The substance is legal in the United States and sold on the shelves at grocery stores, liquor stores, convenience stores, gas stations, and wholesale clubs, among other places.
Having too much to drink or even getting drunk makes few people blink because it happens so often. However, regularly getting “wasted” and consuming too much alcohol is a sign of trouble on the horizon.
The United Way Broward’s report highlights how serious alcohol use is for many of Broward County’s residents. According to its data, more than 25 percent of the people who received addiction treatment in 2016 said that alcohol was their primary drug. Alcohol also is the substance roughly 2,000 people aged 18 and older reported they abused upon starting a recovery program that year.
Alcohol use is also an issue with people who aren’t legally old enough to drink it. The legal drinking age is 21 in the U.S. Law enforcement authorities and educators in Broward County discourage underage drinking among students in middle school and high school. The pressure to “fit in” by drinking is the start of developing alcohol use disorder (AUD) for some people who were not able to say no. This is one reason why alcohol use disorder can happen without friends and family knowing what happened.
AUD is a recognized condition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. The Mayo Clinic defines it as a “pattern of alcohol use that involves problems controlling your drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol, continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems, having to drink more to get the same effect, or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking.”
If this description fits your situation or that of someone you know, entering alcohol rehab may be the step to consider. Addiction care professionals can help guide you as you decide to end your alcohol use.
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Many people intend to keep their drinking within reasonable limits, but despite their intentions, some people just won’t heed the advice to drink responsibly. This inability to do so is a red flag that a more serious problem needs attention. Unfortunately, this problem also becomes an issue for everyone who crosses paths with people who drink too much.
Incidents involving alcohol often turn deadly. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), roughly 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes every year. Excessive alcohol use is also the third leading preventable cause of death, the organization says.
In 2016, Broward authorities arrested 1,720 motorists on offenses of driving under the influence (DUI), a problem that is also seen across Florida. Another problem in the state is polydrug use, which is when substance users add alcohol to the mix of other drugs they are using, either by accident or on purpose. Mixing two or more drugs for use at the same time can either boost someone’s high or help them come down from it. In Florida in 2016, alcohol was present in nearly one-half of all drug-related deaths statewide.
Other dangers involving alcohol is alcohol poisoning, and physical and sexual violence, as well as sexually transmitted diseases.
Harmful alcohol use doesn’t always mean being addicted to the substance for a long time. People who binge drink either on occasion or regularly, are also at risk of unfavorable outcomes.
Bingeing is the practice of drinking more alcohol than the body can process during a two-hour period.
This amount of drinking raises the blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 g/dl or higher. Men who drink five-plus drinks, and women who consume four or more drinks are binge drinking.
In addition to the risk of developing AUD, people who binge on alcohol can create unsafe situations involving deadly accidents, falls, and other problems, and die from alcohol poisoning.
Addiction is a chronic disease that changes a person’s brain, which alters their thinking and behavior. The condition is viewed as incurable but highly treatable with evidence-based approaches that target a person’s specific needs. Addiction care professionals encourage those seeking recovery to enroll in a program at an accredited facility that allows them to get to the root of their addiction and the reasons for it. The program should also teach them the strategies and tools to help them understand their substance use disorder and how to manage it to avoid relapse.
Before treatment begins, you should expect an assessment that can help the professionals determine where you should begin treatment on the continuum of care.
2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. PDF file from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/cbhsq-reports/NSDUHNationalFindingsReport2018/NSDUHNationalFindingsReport2018.pdf
Miami households earn less than the national average. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-5/eating-and-drinking-in-miami-consumer-expenditures-2010-14.htm
Gardner, A. (2014, July 10). 7 Subtle Signs You're Drinking Too Much-and What to Do About It. Retrieved from https://www.health.com/condition/alcoholism/7-subtle-signs-youre-drinking-too-much-and-what-to-do-about-it
United Way of Broward County. United Way of Broward County Commission on Substance Abuse Drug Abuse Trends In Broward County, Florida. Annual Report: June 2017. Retrieved from https://www.unitedwaybroward.org/sites/default/files/images/Commission%20on%20Behavioral%20Health%20%26%20Drug%20Prevention/Prevention%20Resource%20Center/June-2017-Broward-Substance-Abuse-Trends-Report.pdf
Underage Drinking Prevention Toolkit: Know the Facts. (2017). United Way of Broward County Commission on Substance Abuse. PDF. Retrieved from http://aidsnet.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/UnderageDrinking.pdf
Alcohol Use Disorder: A Comparison Between DSM–IV and DSM–5. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/alcohol-use-disorder-comparison-between-dsm
Mayo Clinic. Alcohol Use Disorder. Overview. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alcohol-use-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20369243
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and alcoholism. (2020, February 18). Alcohol Facts and Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/alcohol-facts-and-statistics
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2014) Harmful Interactions. Mixing Alcohol With Medicines. Retrieved from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/harmful-interactions-mixing-alcohol-with-medicines
CDC. (2018, May 10). Alcohol and Public Health. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htm
American Society of Addiction Medicine. (2015, May 13) ASAM Continuum. Knowledge Base. What are the ASAM Levels of Care? Retrieved from https://www.asamcontinuum.org/knowledgebase/what-are-the-asam-levels-of-care/