Binge Drinking in California
Rebekah, a college student in California, eagerly anticipated celebrating her 21st birthday with her friends at a local bar. Unfortunately, Rebekah’s first experience with binge drinking would be her last. Her friends egged her on to quickly down 21 shots for her 21st, which made Rebekah pass out, choke on her own vomit and stop breathing.
Rebekah, merely one casualty of the 1 in 6 American adults who binge drink regularly, became a victim of alcohol poisoning.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, binge drinking – the excessive and rapid consumption of alcohol resulting in a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher – is the most common, costly and deadly type of excessive alcohol use in America.
Over the past four years, alcohol-consumption trends have been rising in California: At least 16.5 percent of adults self-reported binge drinking at least once a month in 2016.
Alcoholism and binge drinking are affecting California communities in many other ways as well. Here are a few of the most common, according to Mayo Clinic:
- Unintentional injuries, such as falls, motor vehicle accidents
- Violence, sexual assault, homicide and suicide
- Pregnancy problems, unintended pregnancies, miscarriage and stillbirth
- Serious chronic diseases, such as liver disease, stroke, heart disease and cancer
Alcoholism Rates in California
College students are far from the only age group pervious to excessive alcohol use.
According to a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry, alcoholism (alcohol use disorder) increased by 50 percent over the past decade. As in the rest of the country, the number of Californians dependent on alcohol has increased dramatically.
In fact, the most significant increase in drinking problems by age categories in the U.S. and in California is among those who are 65 years old or older – and California is 1.3 percentage points higher than the overall U.S. rate.
The number of older adult alcoholics in America increased 106 percent during the last 10 years. Other groups that saw increased cases of alcoholism are women, by 84 percent, and African-Americans, by 93 percent.
Some may speculate that it is now more socially acceptable for women to appear intoxicated in public than it was in the past. A young woman like Rebekah celebrating her birthday by getting tipsy (and beyond that point) is more and more commonplace.
Here are some other groups in California who, according to United Health Foundation, are binge drinking at a higher rate than the national average for people with the same background:
- White individuals
- American Indian/Alaskan Native individuals
- People who live in rural areas (4.4 percentage points higher)
- Those with less than a high school education
- Those with “some college” as their highest level of education
- People who earn between $25,000 and $49,999 each year
So many more Americans are drinking higher amounts of alcohol now that researchers say we have reached a public health crisis. They recommend more effort to be spent addressing the individual, environmental and societal contributing factors of alcohol abuse.
The Path Toward Recovering from Alcoholism
Holistic alcohol recovery is now highly sought after in alcohol addiction treatment. Holistic treatment consists of addressing the contributing factors during alcohol addiction recovery. It focuses on the whole person – mind, body and spirit – and involves modalities that help clients heal mentally and physically.
With as many as 1 in 8 Americans dealing with alcohol use disorder, alcohol addiction programs that focus on healing the individual through customized treatment plans will provide real help in mending this public health crisis. The experts at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism believe the current national opioid epidemic and the legalization of marijuana are overshadowing the alcohol crisis.
Additionally, because alcohol is a legal addictive substance, we are not as attuned to her dangers. But with 17.2 percent of the population of California reportedly drinking at high-risk or hazardous levels, it is an equally significant health crisis that needs more attention.
In addition to the ensuing health problems, alcoholism and binge drinking cause:
- Employment problems
- Difficulties in relationships
- More likelihood of engaging in risky sexual behaviors
- More likelihood of experiencing violence
- Future health care costs
Undergoing Alcohol Detox In California
The first step in any effective alcohol rehab program will include detox. This can be one of the toughest parts of rehab, and the time a person needs support and guidance the most. Elevate Addiction Services has helped thousands of people successfully complete the detoxification process, often affording each patient at least a full month to fully detox.
Medical professionals across the country encourage people who cannot reduce their alcohol intake alone to seek professional treatment as soon as possible. If you or someone you love is struggling with alcoholism in California, don’t hesitate to contact Elevate Addiction Services right away.