13867smYou may have a drink each night when you get home from work.  Or maybe you just drink on the weekends.  Over time, you find yourself drinking more and looking forward to drinking alcohol.

Didn’t that research say wine was good for you?

Not so fast.

You may be dependent, like some 17 million Americans — leading to 88,000 alcohol related deaths annually.  Drinking and driving is responsible for many of those deaths – but what about the chronic diseases caused by long-term alcohol use?

Did you know excessive alcohol use from heavy drinking or binge drinking can cause:

  • Dementia and stroke
  • Cardiovascular problems including heart attacks, and high blood pressure
  • Psychiatric problems including depression, anxiety, and suicide
  • Social problems including unemployment, lost productivity, family problems, and violence
  • Unintentional injuries such as motor-vehicle traffic crashes, falls, drowning, burns, and firearm injuries
  • Increased risk for many kinds of cancers
  • Liver diseases including fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, and cirrhosis
  • Gastrointestinal problems including pancreatitis and gastritis
  • Alcohol abuse or dependence – alcoholism.

Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in America.  In 2013, almost 100 people died because of alcohol in Arizona – that’s more than colon, breast or prostate cancer.  If you are curious about your use of alcohol, the National Institutes of Health have an online tool to help you evaluate it.

The good news is there are substance abuse programs that work.

Do you need help?  Learn more about ADHS’s substance abuse prevention work here – including how to access local services.