Alcohol Consumption and Treatment Around the World
It's typical to take alcohol consumption pretty much for granted. An evening at the pub in Ireland, wine with meals in France and Italy, warmed sake in Japan, a martini in an American bar, the Oktoberfest in Germany, and a cold lager in Australia - the images are woven into our cultures.
It's easy to forget that millions of people lose their lives each year due to alcohol-related causes. Approximately half the world's population consumes alcohol. For most people, it's not a problem. But for far too many, it's an obsession, an addiction and something that robs them of their health and even their lives.
Alcohol Contributes to the Deaths of 2.5 Million People Annually
Alcohol causes death through injuries including traffic accidents, falls, drowning and burns, cancers of various types, cardiovascular disease and cirrhosis of the liver. Far more men die from alcohol-related causes than women, and one in five men in the Russian Federation and adjacent countries die from these causes.
The age group at most risk from alcohol-related deaths is 15 to 29: in this age group, 9 percent of deaths are related to alcohol consumption. Police in Poland reported that one winter, half of the 270 people who froze to death were drunk.
The WHO Reports on Alcohol Consumption Trends
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports on alcohol consumption around the world. You can find average statistics on general use across an entire population of a country or you can find the typical alcohol consumption statistic based just on the portion of a population that consumes alcohol.
Based on a per capita use over an entire population, the Republic of Moldova and the Czech Republic lead all other countries, with averages of 18.22 and 16.45 liters of pure alcohol consumed per person (15 years old and older) per year. But re-examine these statistics, looking just at people who drink alcohol and how much these people drink, and you get a startlingly different picture. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the average consumption is 56 liters per drinker. This is the equivalent of 5 ounces of pure alcohol every day for every person who drinks.
Beyond Alcohol Mortality
While there are millions of people losing their lives due to alcohol, millions more are losing quality of life. Child neglect, suicide, assaults and property crimes, domestic violence, workplace and school absenteeism, business failure and divorce rates are related to alcohol consumption around the world. Alcohol consumption is also related to risky sex, contributing to unwanted pregnancies, rapes, and sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS.
The Australian government reports that alcohol use is connected with 30 percent of traffic accidents, 44 percent of fire injuries and a third of falls and drowning. Four out of ten domestic disputes involved alcohol consumption as well. It's estimated that alcohol consumption, while boosting commercial sales and taxes, also results in costs of $15.3 billion to Australian society each year.
Alcohol even harms the unborn. Alcohol consumption by a pregnant woman can result in fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), a complicated package of symptoms that can include learning disabilities, central nervous system disorders, physical deformation, perception impairment and even death.
Treatment Advice in America
The National Institutes of Health in the US advises the following components for someone in an alcohol treatment program:
- Counseling to help a person understand the problem and see the necessity to quit using alcohol
- Repairing damaged relationships with family and friends
- Starting new alcohol-free relationships
- Education about the effects of drugs and alcohol on health and lifestyles
- Life skills training in communication skills, stress management, social skills and goal setting, among others
- Drug and alcohol testing along the way to provide the additional discipline to stay with the program.
The Narconon drug and alcohol recovery program found across the US and on five other continents includes all these components and more. Experienced Narconon administrators have found that these additions to the Narconon treatment program result in improved outcomes:
- The Narconon New Life Detoxification Program: a thorough detox action that utilizes a dry-heat sauna, exercise and precisely controlled nutritional supplements to enable the body to flush out toxic residues of drugs and alcohol. These residues have been found to be involved in the triggering of cravings.
- The Way to Happiness: a non-denominational moral code used by recovering addicts to rebuild a personal sense of moral behavior.
- Personal Values and Integrity Course: a life skills training course that helps each recovering addict discover where and how they have damaged their own survival through inadequate personal integrity. This course also contains the tools to restore one's integrity.
Utilized in a long-term residential environment, these services and others add up to the ability to live clean and sober after graduation. In fact, seven out of ten Narconon graduates stay sober for a two-year monitoring period after they go home.
Narconon Drug Information Department