The US is 6th in alcohol consumption, behind Ireland, the UK, and Russia. The highest incidence of alcoholic related deaths occur in Eastern Europe, followed by the Far East, followed Central/South America, North America, the Middle East, Western Europe, and Africa.
Sleep Disturbance and Alcohol Use
Sleep disturbance is common among patients in recovery from alcohol and can easily trigger a relapse. Many factors influence the decision to drink or take drugs. These range from the availability of the product to more complex issues of biological, family, social, and personality struggles and stressors.
Despite the many factors contributing to addiction to alcohol, it is essentially a tranquilizer which the individual becomes dependent on. Once someone commits to recovery and sobriety they still often have cravings for a substance to relax and calm them. This means their nervous system during especially, the early stages of recovery, will be aroused in a sort of fight or flight state.
Relaxing or falling asleep or maintaining sleep is difficult. Sleep medications pose a dilemma for the recovering alcoholic because they are also addicting, can cause next day drowsiness, and may replace one addicting substance for another- eventually increasing the chances of relapse.
Alcohol as a sleep aid is tempting. It reduces the time it takes to fall asleep and increases deep sleep time. However, this effect is offset by suffering more disrupted sleep in the second half of the night. Alcohol also reduces the period of REM sleep resulting in less restful sleep and increasing the likelihood of depression and/or anxiety symptoms the next day.
Alcohol dependency and abuse is a widespread problem and affects 15million people in the US alone. Dependency is defined as having withdrawls and being unsuccessful at controlling consumption. Abuse is when alcohol interferes in fulfilling major obligations to family,work,school and use in hazardous situations.