1 in 10 Premature Deaths in America Attributed to Excessive Alcohol Use

For Immediate Release
July 7, 2014

Lighthouse Network’s Dr. Karl BenzioSays the Effects of Even Casual Alcohol Use Aren’t Worth the Health and Addiction Risk

Philadelphia—A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, published last week in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease, found that 1 in 10 deaths among American adults aged 20-64 are attributed to excessive alcohol use.

The report went on to say that excessive alcohol use led to approximately 88,000 deaths per year from 2006 to 2010, and cut short the lives of those who died by about 30 years. Some deaths, from breast cancer, liver disease and heart disease, were due to drinking too much over time. Other deaths were attributed to consuming too much alcohol in a short period of time, with results such as violence, alcohol poisoning and automobile accidents.

Dr. Karl Benzio, founder, executive director and a psychiatrist at Lighthouse Network (www.844LifeChange.org), an addiction and mental health counseling helpline, says that even though some reports tout the benefits of alcohol on the heart, the overwhelming evidence shows that alcohol is dangerous and deadly.

“Addictions as a whole mainly involve ‘The Big Three’: alcohol, tobacco and food, and are the No. 1 killers in the country,” Benzio said. “Alcohol itself is usually listed as second or third on the list. But many of the top two causes of death—heart disease and cancer—are a direct result of or have strong ties to alcohol use.

“The medicinal or beneficial aspects people associate with having a drink after a stressful day of work, parenting or life in general are a result of the relaxation of the cardiovascular system,” he continued. “Alcohol does work as a tranquilizer or sedative to lower the heart rate and blood pressure. But research clearly shows the dangerous effects of alcohol on every system of the body. Even though it brings acute relief, alcohol accelerates the arrival of death.”

Benzio added that having a drink every day, or even several times a week, usually isn’t beneficial. Using alcohol frequently can be a dangerous sign that it has become a prominent coping mechanism. Two problems exist, he said: 1) alcohol can be addicting for many, therefore, instead of making a situation better, it actually worsens the quality of life, often leading to catastrophic physical, psychological and spiritual damage; and 2) using alcohol interferes with the ability and opportunity to engage with the Holy Spirit and to fully lean on the Bible—God’s ultimate instruction manual.

“These statistics and warnings,” Benzio said, “are not for the chronic hardcore, daily, homeless drunk. But many who use alcohol in a casual manner are putting a toxin into their bodies and dealing with the cumulative effect of that toxin on their brains and all of their systems. These cumulative effects are dangerous, but the acute effects are deadly as well. The top three killers of those under 21 are car accidents, homicides and suicides. And alcohol can play a prominent role in all three.”

In total, the report found, 2.5 million years of potential life were lost each year due to excessive alcohol use. CDC representatives also reported excessive alcohol use as a leading cause of preventable death among Americans in the prime of life, and also called the effects of alcohol abuse on American adults “shocking.”

Excessive alcohol use is defined as binge drinking, or consuming four to five or more drinks in one sitting; heavy drinking, which is eight or more drinks a week for women and 15 or more for men; or any alcohol use by those who are pregnant or under the age of 21.

Lighthouse Network works to develop a practical understanding of stress management and life skills and equip people for the daily battles of life. Benzio focuses on a bio-psycho-spiritual understanding to help people tackle life through healthy coping skills, rather than self-medicating with alcohol, tobacco, caffeine or drugs.

Alcohol abuse and its deadly effects may seem overwhelming for those who have a friend or loved one struggling with addition, but help is available. And, Benzio adds, the most effective help for long-term recovery is the bio-psycho-spiritual approach using biblically based, Christ-centered principles combined with sound medical and psychological science, so those being treated do not return to the addiction lifestyle.

Lighthouse Network offers a free, 24-hour helpline, 1-844-LIFE-CHANGE (1-844-543-3242) for those who are struggling and for their family and friends. Lighthouse Network also provides online resources for those concerned about a friend or a loved one.

Benzio shares insights on various mental health issues in the one-minute daily radio feature “Life Change with Dr. Karl,” airing on approximately 425 radio stations across the country, including 200 stations in the American Family Radio Network. The purpose of the “Life Change” program is to bring scientific expertise and biblical principles together to examine some common daily struggles and help people successfully navigate life’s obstacles and enjoy fulfilled lives. For more information on “Life Change with Dr. Karl,” visit www.844LifeChange.org/life-change-with-dr-karl/.

Lighthouse Networkworks to guide struggling people through storms to achieve peace and find answers for those who have a hard time defining their problems. Lighthouse Network also offers the free, 24-hour Lighthouse Life Change Helpline toll-free at 1-844-LIFE-CHANGE (1-844-543-3242).

Lighthouse Network’s web site, www.844LifeChange.org,provides information to those struggling to find help for their addiction problems, as well as to family members searching for help for a loved one. Topics addressed include alcohol abuse, addictions, and other mental health or life management issues.

Lighthouse Network offers several resources for those struggling with addiction and their families, such as Stepping Stones, a free daily devotional for managing life’s stressors and storms and equipping readers with healthy decision-making skills. Visit www.844LifeChange.org/stepping-stones/ to read the devotionals and sign up to receive them daily via email.

For more information on Lighthouse Network, visit www.844LifeChange.org or call the Lighthouse Life Change Helpline toll-free at 1-844-LIFE-CHANGE (1-844-543-3242).

To schedule interviews with Dr. Karl Benzio at Lighthouse Network, contact Deborah Hamilton at dhamilton@hamiltonstrategies.com, 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096.

Lighthouse Network is a Christian-based, non-profit organization that offers an addiction and mental health counseling helpline providing treatment options and resources to equip people and organizations with the skills necessary to shine God’s glory to the world, stand strong on a solid foundation in the storms of their own lives, and provide guidance and safety to others experiencing stormy times, thus impacting their lives, their families and the world.

Dr. Karl Benzio, M.D. is the founder and executive director of Lighthouse Network. With a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering, Benzio went on to medical school and then specialized in psychiatry. His experiences include teaching pastors, ministry leaders and students counseling and conflict resolution skills in Uganda and Kenya; leading a behavioral health team into post-Hussein Iraq to equip health care specialists with treatment and assessment skills and successfully testifying for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives opposing legislation for Plan B contraception administration and for President George Bush’s Council on Bioethics regarding Right of Conscience. He is currently a member of Focus on the Family’s Physicians Resource Council. His specialties include Adolescents, Addictions, Decision-Making, Infusing Spirituality into Practical Treatment Modalities and the Ramifications of Decision-Making on Social Policy.

 Source: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0626-excessive-drinking.html

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