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Lower socio-economic groups more prone to alcohol-related illnesses: Study

Lower socio-economic groups more prone to alcohol-related illnesses: Study

Alcohol abuse and alcoholism cut across gender, race and socioeconomic status, characterized by a maladaptive pattern of drinking that results in medical, legal, educational, and/or social effects on a person’s life. According to a Gallup poll, cited by the Forbes in 2015, drinking depends heavily on socio-economic status in the United States, with college graduates and high earners having the highest rates of consumption overall.

However, the poorest 20 percent of the population suffers twice the levels of alcohol-related harm as compared with the richest 20 percent. A joint study by Bangor University, North Wales, Liverpool John Moores University, England, and Alcohol Research UK sheds light on why people with lower socio-economic status are more prone to alcohol-related illnesses – known as the alcohol harm paradox.

The study, published in the journal BMC Public Health in February 2016, found that alcohol-related deaths increase with decreasing socio-economic status, which means poor, socially excluded groups are more likely to experience higher levels of alcohol-related harm than wealthier groups with the same level of alcohol consumption.

Study outcome

Based on a survey done on 6,015 randomly selected adults aged 18 and older in England during May 2013–April 2014, researchers found that 66.9 percent of those living in non-deprived areas had at least one other health risk behavior, compared with 83.2 percent of those living in deprived areas.

Mark Bellis, a researcher at the Bangor University, said, “About 9 percent of increased risk drinkers surveyed in poorer communities also smoked, were overweight and had unhealthy lifestyles. Together these combinations can create enormous stresses on people’s bodies, overwhelming their ability to limit the health harms caused by alcohol. In affluent areas less than 1 percent of people drinking at increased risk levels also reported all three other health risks.”

However, researchers believe that a more detailed study is needed to better understand how alcohol affects those living in poverty. It may also help in global efforts to deal with this problem of health inequality.

Medical detox: Boon for alcohol abusers

Alcohol cravings are impossible to resist with psychological and social factors acting as common triggers that force an addict to start using alcohol once again. Medical detox is advisable for patients who are addicted to substances for a longer period of time or those with other significant health problems.

Engaging patients into alcohol-free, relapse prevention therapy, the detox process involves the short-term pharmacologic management of the physical symptoms of withdrawal. A therapist needs to understand an addict’s complete history of alcohol abuse before starting any treatment as most people tend to relapse even after achieving long-term abstinence.

A person addicted to excessive drinking exhibits a range of withdrawal symptoms that can be effectively managed with medical detox program – a process that provides the safest, most comfortable environment for a patient’s rapid recovery. The therapy uses medications and counseling to improve the chance of successful recovery in addicts. Drugs like buprenorphine and naltrexone can help patients stay on the road to recovery, under the care of professional medical personnel who supervise the detox process.

This process takes place in an inpatient rehab center with the help of adequate medical intervention. In contrast to the detoxification process, maintenance treatment can be carried out as long as the patient continues to benefit and has no serious side effects.

Path to recovery

According to a report in the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), alcohol addiction is the third leading lifestyle-related cause of death in the U.S. with nearly 14 million people being dependent on alcohol. More men than women are alcohol dependent and alcohol problems are highest among young adults aged 18-29 and lowest among adults aged 65 and older.

Like other deadly diseases, drinking can also get out of control gradually. That’s why it’s important to reconsider drinking habits. Treatment should be supported well by detox programs, which include both medicinal and therapeutic approach. If you know someone who wants to get rid of alcohol addiction, help is readily available. The Colorado Detox Helpline can provide necessary information and assistance on many effective treatment programs. Please feel free to call us at 866-730-5807 any time.

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