American culture casually normalizes alcohol consumption

A shelf containing alcoholic beverages.There is a wide variety of alcohol available to people over 21 in the US.

Photos by Viscious-Speed on Pixabay

A shelf containing alcoholic beverages.There is a wide variety of alcohol available to people over 21 in the US.

There are inherent issues with the way American society has weaved alcohol consumption into our culture. The pressure to drink is directed at people from a young age through media, advertisements, and community, leading to a detrimental drinking culture throughout America. This can convince teens like me to start drinking alcohol excessively, often ending up in an addiction.

Alcohol is a major component throughout the states’ social scenes. Because the normalization of excessive drinking is so deeply rooted in the United States, it is a very difficult issue to solve. 10% of Americans over 12 years old have Alcohol Use Disorder. This is a startling statistic that shows the true issue of our dependence on the substance.

These statistics aren’t disconnected from our community. According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, 15.8% of adults in NC over 18 binge drink at least once a month. The strong social acceptance of alcohol has unintentionally normalized unhealthy habits. Not only is it acceptable to binge drink, especially in college, but it is the norm. The subconscious pressure can convince more people to drink and create a cycle.

One of the worst instances of U.S. alcohol dependence is from 1920-1933 during Prohibition. Prohibition was the period of time when the government banned the manufacturing and use of beverages with alcohol. There was public outrage and ignorance of the law went up considerably. This showed that even government intervention cannot reduce the strong hold of alcohol on our society.

Although alcohol can be more normalized in other countries, like European countries, alcohol-related incidents are much more common in America. Americans are much more likely to die from alcohol-related accidents or other alcohol-related causes. This could be from the higher drinking age in America, creating terrible drinking habits in underage drinkers. Americans are substantially more irresponsible with alcohol than other countries.

Many people also are uncomfortable in social situations without alcohol, which creates a mask for some people with mental health issues. In some ways, this can be good to help people feel more comfortable but it is not good to develop this kind of dependence. Drinking alcohol can also worsen mental health issues and increase the chance of developing them.

Coming from personal and observed experiences, the culture behind alcohol is drastically damaging to mental and physical health in America. It may be very difficult to reduce the abnormal level of alcohol consumption from society, but it would be beneficial to prevent the dangers of U.S. drinking issues.