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What is Alcohol Use Disorder?

Affinity Health, leading providers of high-quality health cover, discuss Alcohol Use Disorder as a global health issue with substantial consequences.


With the silly season almost upon us, many will be heading off to stock fridges and bars with alcohol. Before you do, it’s important to take note of the many risks associated with alcohol Use Disorder and binge drinking.


What Causes Alcohol Use Disorder?

South Africa ranks among the worst in the world for its levels of alcohol consumption. Between 7.5% and 31.5% of South Africans have an alcohol problem or are at risk of developing one.


Alcohol Use Disorder is behind an estimated 40 percent of road traffic deaths involving pedestrians. It’s also a leading factor in SA’s high HIV rate, with thousands of new infections attributed to alcohol and risky sexual behaviour. Adding to this, Alcohol Use Disorder is responsible for many cases of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), particularly in the Western Cape.


Every year, new campaigns launch to drive home the dangers of drinking. However, the rising alcohol abuse statistics reflect that not enough is actively being done.


Alcohol Use Disorder cannot be successfully addressed in South Africa without enough funding from both public and private healthcare providers and acceptance of a medical approach to therapy.


There is no single cause for the emergence of Alcohol Use Disorder but risk factors may make addiction more likely, including:
  • Having a family member who has been diagnosed with a substance use problem
  • Pre-existing substance use disorders
  • Traumatic events and stress
  • Family relationship troubles
  • Peer pressure


Read More: What to Know About Binge Drinking; The Dangers of Binge Drinking


What Alcohol Use Disorder Does to Your Health 

Alcohol Use Disorder can wreak havoc on your body. Long-term abuse increases your risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, cancers, liver disease, and digestive problems.  Heavy drinking can also lead to mental illnesses such as depression and dementia.


Many women are unknowingly addicted to alcohol, with wine particularly popular among mothers. Many moms say wine helps them deal with daily stress and the pressure to have a perfect family. Risky drinking (defined as having four or more drinks on one occasion at least once a month) is on the rise, particularly in women above the age of 35.

Where to Get Help

Sobriety can seem unattainable when you’re battling alcoholism. However, Affinity Health reiterates that no matter how bleak your condition appears, recovery is never out of reach with the proper treatment and support.


If you or someone you know needs assistance with alcoholism, speak with your healthcare physician for a list of organisations within your area that can assist

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading provider of health insurance, offering you a range of options at affordable rates including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of having medical insurance that meets your needs, your budget, and your lifestyle. Our range of healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service at all times. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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