Alcoholism is a major health problem in the US, ranking with cancer and heart disease as a threat to health. Alcoholism is a progressive disease in which drinking increasingly affects a person's health, family life, social life and job. Untreated, alcoh olism results in physical incapacity, insanity or death.
There are an estimated 10.5 million people in the country suffering from the disease of alcoholism, nearly half a million in New Jersey alone.
One out of ten people who drink becomes an alcoholic. An alcohol-related family problem strikes one of every four American homes. Individuals who are close to an alcoholic need and deserve appropriate help to recover as well.
In the workplace, 47% of industrial injuries and 40% of industrial fatalities can be linked to alcohol consumption.
Use of alcohol and other drugs is associated with the leading causes of death and injury among teenagers and young adults (e.g. motor vehicle crashes, homicides, suicides).
Violent behavior attributed to alcohol use accounts for approximately 49% of murders, 52% of rapes, 21% of suicides, and 60% of cases of child abuse. Of all fatal accidents on the roads, over 50% involve alcohol.
Alcoholism is treatable. Effective alcoholism programs show recovery rates of 65% to 80%. Alcoholics Anonymous, for example, has an estimated world membership of more than two million, in over 93,000 groups. Approximately 80% of the people sober betwee n one and five years will remain in the A.A. fellowship.
Generally, a recovering alcoholic may never safely drink again, but can lead a normal, productive life as long as he or she maintains total abstinence.