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Understanding the Secondhand Effects of Alcohol

The dangers of secondhand smoke are widely recognized today, but that wasn’t always the case. In fact, there was once a time where people would smoke constantly in public and think it was perfectly safe. Today, we know better and understand the consequences smoking can have on others around you.

Now, the same can be said for drinking and the secondhand effects of alcohol. According to findings published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, the secondhand effects of alcohol can be quite devastating to your loved ones and friends. An estimated 20% of Americans are believed to suffer harm related to someone else’s drinking each year, making it a significant issue for public health, including the health and safety of your own family.

What are the Secondhand Effects of Alcohol?

It’s easy to think the decision to drink only impacts yourself. Alcohol affects your body, it can change your mood, lower your inhibitions and cause disorientation, among other things. However, all these personal effects bring about circumstances that can lead to consequences for those around you, including:

  • Physical harm
  • Automobile accidents
  • Mental or emotional distress
  • Financial trouble

Other Findings on Secondhand Effects of Drinking

In the study published by the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, they found that an estimated 53 million people in the United States had experienced harm caused by someone else’s drinking in the last 12 months. This harm included physical aggression, harassment, vandalism and financial problems.

Even though men are statistically more likely to be heavy drinkers, men and women are harmed in nearly equal measure by others who drink. Women are typically more likely to suffer these effects as the result of a family member’s issues with alcoholism, while men’s experiences often involve those outside the family. People under the age of 25 reported the highest rate of incidences.

The study also broke out the results by people who self-identified as drinkers or non-drinkers. Nearly half of the participants who identified as heavy drinkers said they had been injured by another person’s drinking, while light drinkers reported 2-3 times more instances of secondhand harm than those who didn’t drink at all.

How Does Alcoholism Affect Families?

It’s often said that alcoholism is a family disease. While there can be some genetic components to alcoholism and addiction in general, what this means is that the entire family suffers when one member struggles with alcohol addiction.

Alcohol use can increase aggression in some individuals, which can lead to threats or even physical abuse. As you become dependent on the substance, you might begin to ignore the financial consequences of overindulging—putting a strain on your family budget and making it more difficult for your spouse and children to afford everyday needs.

As your focus becomes more and more centered around getting to that next drink, your responsibilities to the household tend to be neglected, leaving your loved ones to pick up the slack. Children of an alcoholic parent oftentimes face physical or verbal abuse or neglect, which affects all aspects of their development and can lead to trauma and even addictive tendencies as they age.

Begin Your Recovery from Alcoholism at Footprints Beachside Recovery

Recovering from addiction to alcohol or other substances is challenging. The detoxification phase (typically referred to as simply “detox”) can be very uncomfortable. Depending on the length and severity of your alcoholism, it can even prove fatal if you attempt it on your own. However, it’s important to realize that continuing on your current path can be even more destructive for both you and your loved ones.

At Footprints Beachside Recovery, we understand addiction on a personal level. Our experienced and knowledgeable team is invested in helping you recover. Each of our clients is treated like an individual with a personal treatment plan tailored to meet their individual needs. Additionally, utilizing family therapy can help both you and your family deal with the issues alcoholism has brought into your home.

Located in Treasure Island, Florida, our beautiful surroundings offer a variety of healthy, fun and sober activities that can help keep your recovery on track. Contact our addiction specialists today to discover how you can begin retaking control of your life and heal your family from alcoholism.

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