The Social Effects Of Alcoholism – Consequences and Issues

Last Updated: August 8, 2019

alocohlism social effects

Alcoholism can be considered an issue in a few regards. One of the main issues with it are the social consequences. For all the social benefits of alcohol, such as helping people to relax, there are problems too. Alcoholism generally leads to an increase in joblessness, assaults and mental health issues. But what are alcoholism’s worst effects and can the problem be combated?

Alcoholism Statistics – Social Effects

According to The National Institute On Alcohol Abuse And Alcoholism, around 27% of people in the US admitted to binge drinking in the past month, with a further 7% admitting they drank heavily. This staggering statistic often leads to unfortunate social consequences. One of which is family, with more than 10% of children in the United States, living in a household where at least one parent abuses alcohol. In addition to that, there are other social effects. For example 1 in 4 college students admits to feeling that alcohol leads to lowering their exam performance, missing class or leaving college altogether. Almost 700,000 students a year also experience assault, with nearly 100,000 of those students being victims of sexual assault. Social consequences don’t end there, however, with an estimated 88,000 people dying from consuming too much of the substance annually. These statistics highlight the dangers and social effects of alcohol abuse.

group of people clinking beer glasses

Effects of Alcoholism on Society at Large

Alcoholism effects on an individual are generally there for all to see. Although alcohol’s social effects are often less visible, the effects on society, in general, aren’t. From an increased chance of being involved in crime, to drink driving or to be sexually irresponsible, alcoholism creates dangers.

Drink Driving as the Biggest Social Concern

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse And Alcoholism, drink drivers accounted for over 31% of all driving fatalities in the US. The consequences of drink driving incidents are that on many occasions several families are affected by one person’s actions. It creates a spiral of anguish well beyond the person affected by alcoholism and effects society in general.

Increasing Crime Rates Due to Alcohol Abuse

Crime also rises with the intake of alcohol. Assault and sexual assault rise due to the substance. Alcohol and violence have a clear correlation, with many disagreements rapidly spiraling out of control and affecting many. Between 1997 and 2008, alcohol was responsible for up to 37% of crime. It is believed this is because many people do not think about the consequences when intoxicated.

Alcohol-Induced Diseases Spreading

Alcohol’s effects on society also come from the lack of inhibition people have when under the influence. A regular abuser may have no memory of who they slept with, where they went or what they did. This can easily lead to the spreading of diseases or the loss of life. According to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention, 19% of young people drink before having sex, with 46% not using a condom. This action could easily lead to the spread of STDs.

Social Effects of Alcohol on the Family

The social effect of alcohol is often felt most harshly in the home. As earlier stated, over 10% of children grow up with at least one parent in their home abusing the substance. So what effects can alcoholism have on a family?

Domestic Abuse

Having an alcoholic in the home often puts a strain on relationships. Alcohol takes away a person’s inhibitions and makes them more liable to be unpredictable. Many alcoholics become prone to violence. Alcohol-related domestic abuse may not even be physical, but often abusers look to place blame outside themselves and become psychologically abusive. This can have a negative impact on children as well as a partner.

Negative Impact On Children

Children growing up in a home where one parent is suffering from alcoholism are regularly exposed to negative behavior. It may be violent, psychological or simply a lack of parenting at all. However, there is no question that the social effects of alcoholism can lead to a number of problems, and highlight the danger of an alcohol abuse social problem.

Finance and Family Strain

Heavy drinking can also lead to money problems in the family. Many who abuse the substance struggle to maintain relationships, alcohol at work is no exception. Alcoholics often struggle to continue with their jobs to the full extent, and possibly even stop attending. Many abusers of the substance lose their jobs and create financial issues for their families. This is one of the most challenging social consequences of alcohol, as it is often difficult to regain employment and to lose a job creates a downward spiral for both the alcoholic and the family. For this reason, there are arguments for social security disability for alcohol abuse.

couple looking in the empty wallet without money

Alcohol’s Impact on Youth – the Future of Society Endangered

The social effects of alcohol use are also heavily felt by younger people. As earlier stated, college goers are regular drinkers. However, many people start drinking at a much younger age, despite the illegalities. One of the dangers of underage drinking is that teenagers may have already developed an addiction to the substance before they even reach the freedoms of college. Alcohol and social behavior go hand in hand in college, with many young adults also drinking for the first time. This is arguably just as dangerous, as they may also take the freedom one step too far, and like those who have been drinking longer, can also develop an addiction.

Those who do heavily drink and abuse the substance during youth and college tend to see their grades suffer. Many have admitted to missing classes, dropping out and losing friendships because of their drinking-related issues. They’re also more liable to getting into violent and dangerous situations or contracting STD’s. In addition to those consequences, heavy drinking can have effects on the world around young people. It often leads to antisocial behavior, such as violence and aggression.

The social effects of alcoholism on youth are some of the most prevalent. Many colleges now focus on highlighting and educating their students about the dangers of heavy drinking. Some even have their rehab programs to help guide students back on to a better path. This is the hope of avoiding social consequences, such as youth being more liable to become alcoholics later in life.

Dealing With The Social Effects Of Alcoholism

The social effect of alcoholism isn’t one that is easy for anyone to deal with. The social effects of alcohol abuse make people unpredictable and often unreliable. They are liable to lose their jobs, become violent or simply lose interest in relationships. In addition to that, the mental alcohol effects can leave even former drinkers struggling. With all that considered, can the effects of heavy drinking be a cause for treatment for mental illness? Is alcoholism a disability for social security?

Social security disability for alcoholism isn’t currently available for those simply suffering from just alcoholism. However, those who do suffer mental health issues because of the drug can get help. This, in turn, will give families and former abusers a little more support when they so desperately need it and therefore benefit society. Despite this support, there are many other, even more effective ways to deal with the social effects of alcohol abuse and curbing alcohol cravings.

Stopping driving under the influence is a hugely important factor when it comes to dealing with social effects. This can be done by offering alternate ways home to people with public transport. However, in more remote areas this can be challenging. Therefore, schemes such as introducing sober drinking buddies could be put into place.

Violent crime could also be heavily deterred by simply giving people a better wage to deal with alcoholism and rage. Community guidance programs may help this, as well as deterrents such as regular police patrols or cameras.

Disease can also be significantly lowered, even when under the influence. In countries that provide free medical care, including condoms, disease rates are much lower. If the US provided similar care, then there is the possibility that rates would similarly lower.

The treatment for alcohol addicts is available in all the US states. If you regularly abuse alcohol or know someone who does, seek immediate medical assistance from a doctor. They will guide you towards the best alcohol rehab centers in your area.


Gregory Okhifun

Dr. Gregory Okhifun

Medical Reviewer

Dr. Okhifun is a passionate medical doctor, with over five years’ experience as a general practitioner. His passion for medical education led to his journey in medical writing. He has a wealth of experience writing for hospitals and medical centers, health organizations, telemedicine platforms, wellness organizations, medical tourism publications, addiction websites, and websites focused on nutrition and nutraceuticals.
He also serves as medical coordinator and content writer for Gerocare Solutions, for which he also volunteers as a health advisor/consultant for the elderly.
Dr. Okhifun enjoys traveling, meditation, and reading.

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