When a person is both physically and psychologically dependent upon alcohol, he or she is diagnosed with alcoholism. Alcoholism is one disorder on a spectrum of alcohol use disorders and is a medical disease – one that is characterized by a high tolerance to the substance as well as cravings, withdrawal symptoms when without alcohol, and other issues.

While there are many negative physical effects associated with alcoholism and alcohol abuse, regular heavy drinking often takes a toll on a person’s emotional state and on his or her life in general. Almost all alcoholics will experience personal and relationship problems as a result of their drinking.

Furthermore, many will experience legal problems as well, usually related to the irresponsible behaviors that so frequently accompany alcohol abuse. One of the most common (and deadly) of these dangerous behaviors is driving while under the influence of alcohol.

Drinking and Driving: A Serious Problem

The message to avoid drinking and driving is one that is well practiced in the United States. While some might view it as no more than a trumped-up warning, it’s important to understand that operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated carries a serious risk of death or injury to the driver, pedestrians and others on the road. Consider the following statistics from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD):

  • Half of drivers who are killed in motor vehicle accidents test positive for concurrent drug and alcohol use.
  • Approximately one-third of drivers arrested for drunk driving have been convicted of the offense before.
  • In 2011, more than 1.2 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • The highest incidences of drinking and driving occur among people between the ages of 21 to 25.
  • Around 32 percent of fatal drunk driving accidents involved drivers between the ages of 21 to 24.
  • The average person can only handle around one alcoholic beverage per hour.
  • In 2011, 226 children were killed in drunk driving accidents.
  • In 2010, there were almost 300,000 cases of drunk driving per day.
  • In America, 27 people die each day from drunk driving-related accidents.
  • Almost a quarter of teen car accident fatalities involve alcohol.
  • One in three people is involved in a drunk driving accident during a lifetime.
  • In 2011, 9,878 people died in drunk driving-related accidents.
  • A person is injured in a drunk driving-related accident approximately every 90 seconds.
  • The average drunk driver will admit to having driven drunk 80 times before the first arrest.

Are All Drunk Drivers Alcoholics?

Every person who drinks and drives is not necessarily an alcoholic. However, drinking and driving does indicate irresponsible use of alcohol and can sometimes serve as a tip-off that the person in question has a problem.

If someone you love has recently been arrested for a DUI, be watchful of their behaviors surrounding alcohol. If you think they may have a problem, encourage them to get help. In some cases, getting professional help may enable the person to mitigate some of the legal consequences associated with a drinking and driving charge.

No matter what happens in the courtroom, however, getting help for alcoholism has the power to save lives. Contact us at Black Bear Lodge today to learn more about our evidence-based alcohol detox and addiction treatment program located northeast of Atlanta, GA.