The United States has been battling an ongoing drug crisis for more than a decade. While some people mistakenly assume that this issue is only prevalent in urban areas and major cities, this is simply not the case. Densely populated areas are some of the most heavily affected areas, but every community across the country has experienced some effect from the ongoing drug epidemic and the Nampa, Idaho, region is no exception.
Opioids may be making headlines, but one of the most long-standing substance abuse trends in the nation is alcoholism. Alcohol abuse is one of the most destructive types of addictions and can have disastrous consequences. It can be difficult to decide how to approach the subject and encourage treatment when a family member, especially a parent, develops alcoholism.
How Has Alcoholism Affected Nampa?
Idaho has a relatively small population for the geographical size of the state, and Idaho does not receive the same amount of federal funding as more densely populated areas of the country. The addiction crisis is just as bad in Idaho, and the Treasure Valley is the epicenter of the problem. The Treasure Valley covers Boise, Nampa, Caldwell, and Meridian, and accounts for most of the state’s population.
Effects Of Alcohol Abuse In Nampa
Research from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reported that about 86.5% of American adults consumed alcohol at some point in their lives, and 71% reported drinking within the past year. In Idaho, about 15 percent of adults reported experiencing some level of alcoholism during their lifetimes and 16 percent of teenagers admitted illegal alcohol use within the past month.
Alcohol abuse in the Nampa region takes a measurable toll on the community. Between 2003 and 2012, more than 700 people died on Idaho roads because of drunk driving. About 1.2 percent of adults surveyed in Idaho self-reported driving after consuming alcohol, but the actual rate is likely much higher. In 2016, more than 30 percent of all Idaho fatal vehicle accidents involved a drunk driver. DUI charge rates in Canyon County reached 5.5 per 100,000 residents in 2013.
The Widespread Impact Of Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol abuse not only leads to higher rates of DUI accidents and traffic deaths, but also to significant medical issues and other costs that affect communities in various ways. One of the best things any Nampa resident can do to help fight the ongoing addiction crisis is to learn how to identify the signs of addiction and alcoholism in loved ones. It can be incredibly challenging to confront a loved one about an addiction, especially when that loved one is a parent.
Alcohol Abuse Isn’t A Big-City Issue
Alcoholism impacts every community in Idaho. It’s important to recognize the signs of alcohol abuse and pay attention to loved ones who show concern. An intervention is an opportunity to let a loved one know how his or her addiction has hurt others, and to set a supportive foundation for the recovery process. It’s necessary to determine the roots of the addiction and identify the signs of dependency before an intervention can happen.
Signs And Patterns Of Alcohol Abuse
Some of the early signs of alcoholism an adult may notice in a parent or other relative may include:
- Drinking at inappropriate times, such as during the early morning or afternoon or before work.
- Drinking to the point of blacking out on a regular basis.
- Withdrawal symptoms after only a short period of sobriety. Severe alcoholism may cause intense shaking and even seizures.
- Anger or irritation after confrontations about alcohol use. For example, if you suggest that your father seems to be drinking too much and he becomes defensive or agitated, this is a good indication he recognizes the problem on some level.
- Neglecting obligations due to alcohol use.
- Neglecting basic household chores and everyday obligations, such as paying bills on time.
Older adults generally perceive alcohol as less dangerous than younger generations simply because alcohol is legal and very deeply ingrained in American life. They may also not realize they have problems because they do not feel any acute effects from their behavior or it may not meet their perception of a “drinking problem.” Starting an honest conversation about alcoholism is the first step in overcoming the problem.
Men Face Increased Risks From Work
Stress from work is one of the most commonly cited reasons behind high-functioning alcoholism. Rural states such as Idaho typically have more production-oriented workforces, whereas most employees in urban areas are primarily corporate, professional, and service-oriented. The industries with the highest rates of workplace fatalities, such as construction and transportation, have male-dominated workforces, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If men are statistically more likely to work in high-stress, dangerous jobs, it’s reasonable to assume many Idaho fathers struggling with alcoholism may be doing so because of work.
Over time, social drinking can progress to high-functioning alcoholism. Other people may develop high-functioning alcoholism as a way to cope with stress. For example, a person who works a high-stress job may come home and decompress with a single drink every day. The person may not drink to excess every night, but always having that one drink creates a cycle of dependency. Eventually, one drink will not be enough, and during times when having that drink isn’t possible, the person may experience frustration and start showing signs of dependency.
It’s important for children to approach this subject honestly and start a meaningful conversation about the value of treatment. Family First Intervention helps families all over the country connect with addiction-treatment resources and stage professionally guided interventions. We encourage people struggling with alcoholism and other addictions to seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent more damage than they have already experienced.