Are You Hurting From Someone Else’s Drinking Addiction?
Second-hand drinking can affect anyone. Whether you are the one drinking or not, you may be at risk of suffering from second-hand drinking. This article discusses the effects drinking has on the individual and those around them.
What Is Second-hand Drinking?
Generally, second-hand drinking is a term people don’t hear often, but it has likely impacted them at some point. Second-hand drinking is when a person, or people, are affected by someone else’s drinking habits, e.g., a child with an alcoholic parent or getting struck by a drunk driver.
Second-hand drinking can impact someone in the wrong place at the wrong time. Intoxicated drivers put everyone around them at risk of being injured or killed.
Who Is at Risk of Second-hand Drinking?
Students frequently fall prey to second-hand drinking, both children and young adults. In college, high school, and elementary school, students can experience adverse effects from the drinking behaviors of those around them.
Family and friends of alcoholics are at risk of harm due to the unpredictability of alcohol’s effects. In addition, because alcohol is tolerated differently among people, those under the care of an alcoholic are especially at risk of physical and emotional harm.
We Can Help
Alcohol is notorious for causing impaired judgment, vision, and decisions, but some may feel the effects more intensely. If you or someone you love struggles with alcohol addiction, call us at 385-327-7418 today. We want to help people get started with their journey to sobriety.
Alcohol can hurt not only someone’s health but also the people around them. By entering treatment, people will get help to overcome addiction and receive education on healing and staying healthy.
The Hidden Dangers of Second-hand Drinking
When mentioning the term second-hand, many people likely think of second-hand smoking. However, regarding alcoholic consumption, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) defines it as:
“…negative experiences directly resulting from someone else’s drinking.”
Like second-hand smoking, others in the vicinity become exposed to someone’s personal choices without consent. For instance, children of alcoholics become exposed to either the substance or the emotional effect it has on their parents. Others, furthermore, are subject to chance of those around them.
Studying Second-hand Drinking
It is common for people to excuse the effects of second-hand drinking as a part of the college experience. However, the NLM found that college students in New Zealand have a high rate of dangerous alcohol use. They used their experiences to research second-hand drinking.
Criminal Activity While Under the Influence (Trigger Warning: Assault)
Out of 1,910 University of Otago students, 1,564 responded, stating that they had been affected by second-hand drinking. The primary harm that occurred was sexual assault.
The data collected found that a tenth of women and a fifth of men suffer sexual assault from an individual under the influence of alcohol. Furthermore, they also found that college students from 16 to 24 years old were most likely to experience some second-hand effects of drinking.
There are several kinds of harm that are associated with second-hand drinking. Adults, children, and unborn babies are also at risk of being affected.
The Risks of Second-hand Drinking
Many people who struggle with AUD are unaware of the damage they are doing to those around them. Depending on the scenario and the severity of the addiction, some injuries are severe or irreversible. Damages such as:
- Involved in a motor accident
- Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)
- Sexually transmitted diseases
These are indeed the more severe and scarring effects of second-hand drinking. Still, for individuals in college, it can be a different combination of second-hand harm.
Struggling in School
Data collected from Research Gate found that many effects of second-hand drinking included:
- Lack of sleep from noise
- Increase in failing grades
- Taking care of the individual drinking
- Being insulted or humiliated
- Major injuries
- Death from a motor accident
Furthermore, according to Research Gate, the effects of second-hand drinking on a child include:
- A decrease in finishing primary school
- Lower grades in secondary education – evidence shows individuals score 20 percent lower regularly.
- Developing an alcohol addiction
- Being left in risky, unsafe locations or situations
- Facing verbal and physical abuse
- Witnessing domestic violence against another individual
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
According to the American Public Health Association (APHA), drinking while pregnant is the leading cause of preventable disabilities in children. The APHA found that several second-hand drinking risks and side effects include:
- Small, underdeveloped head size
- Below average body weight
- Hyperactive disorders and behavioral patterns
- Underdeveloped memory abilities
- Learning disabilities
- Damage to hearing and vision
- Underdeveloped reasoning skills
Fetal development is put at risk when alcoholism goes untreated during pregnancy. As a result, the physical and emotional damage that alcoholism can do takes years to identify and heal.
The Adverse Effects of Alcoholism
Alcohol consumption is like most other intoxicants; it has backlashes that can affect your life for a long time. The short and long-term effects are significant to consider with each drink. Everyone will react to alcohol differently due to experience, tolerance, and body chemistry.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), men and women need to ingest alcohol at a slower pace to reduce the short-term and long-term effects of alcohol.
Short-Term Effects of Drinking
The CDC lists short-term effects as the following:
- Injuries from falling, driving, drowning, or burns.
- Violence from homicide, sexual assault, or domestic violence.
- Immediate health problems such as alcohol poisoning and high blood alcohol levels.
- Risky sexual behaviors like unprotected sexual intercourse, unintentional pregnancy, or sexually transmitted diseases.
- Pregnant women experiencing stillbirth, miscarriage, or FASD.
Long-Term Effects of Drinking
The long-term damage that alcohol can cause is extensive, often leading to diseases. The damage to an individual’s health slowly and progressively worsens as they continue drinking. According to the CDC, long-term effects include:
- Increased blood pressure, heart and liver disease, stroke, and digestion complications.
- Cancer development in the mouth, throat, esophagus, breast, liver, or colon.
- Your immune system weakens, increasing the chance of getting sick.
- Memory problems that affect school and work performance.
- Social issues cause stress at work, school, and family.
- An official diagnosis of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD).
There Is Always Hope
Not every listed effect will apply to everyone. For example, the severity of alcohol addiction will influence a person’s direction. Additionally, the damage of second-hand drinking can cause several issues for the individuals around an already suffering alcoholic.
Preventing the Effects of Secondhand Drinking
The second-hand drinking effects will not disappear until the government takes alcohol education and alcoholism treatment seriously. The root of alcoholism is typically trauma or mental illness. Therefore, people suffering from AUD need treatment, care, and education.
Alcoholics entering treatment and becoming sober is a positive step toward reducing second-hand effects. Not everyone is willing to give up what makes them sick, but regardless, they are worth encouraging.
The Atmosphere of Alcohol Around the World
Research Gate presented some ideas that impact Sweden and other Nordic countries that American associations are also considering.
Data collected by Research Gate in Sweden found that on an individual level, people believed that alcohol was more positive than negative. In contrast, the same survey used to collect this data found that 75 percent of Swedish individuals believe that alcohol has more negative effects than positives within society.
A survey conducted in Canada found that many individuals support policy changes on alcohol. Those that responded to the survey stated they support changing the current policies because they have personally felt the impact of drinking and are concerned for others. This ranged from individuals living with someone addicted to alcohol or strangers to someone drinking who could face death or injury.
Moving Forward with Treatment
Second-hand effects of alcohol are avoidable. Therefore, the government should also discuss policy changes on a large scale to heal the source of alcoholism rather than punish it.
At the same time, it also needs to be acknowledged by everyone that adults, college students, children, and the unborn are all victims of second-hand drinking and deserve protection.
Consider Reaching Out to A Specialist
If you or someone you know is struggling with alcoholism, make smart choices for the safety of yourself and your loved one. Alcohol can behave aggressively, so note that approaching a loved one while they are intoxicated is not the right time.
Instead, approach them when they are sober, and only if you are comfortable doing so. If you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, there are rehab specialists who can set up an intervention to keep everyone involved safe. With the right help, alcohol can become a memory.
To get started, call us at 385-327-7418. We want to help people get personalized treatment programs to educate them on alcohol addiction.
The journey to sobriety has more positives than staying addicted. So call us now to get started on a brighter, alcohol-free future.
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