AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — For many people, the holidays are a festive time, but for someone battling an addiction like alcohol use disorder, they can be a time of intense temptation and frustration.

According to a Texas Tech addiction expert, nearly 15 million people 12 years of age and older struggle with alcohol use disorder.

(Susan bergeson, ph.D, researcher, ttuhsc)
“Alcohol use disorder costs more to treat in morbidity and mortality than all of the amount of money spent on alcohol in the first place,” said Susan Bergeson, Ph.D., Researcher, TTUHSC. “It is a $250 billion a year problem.”

According to Dr. Bergeson, the very nature of the holidays alone can magnify an already tough battle.

“The holidays are hard, because in addition to having, generally more access to alcohol, people can be more likely to have social anxiety,” she said. “Men actually drink sometimes to reduce their social anxiety, women are more likely to drink to reduce depression.”

Dr. Bergeson said one of the biggest factors adding to the issue, is misconceptions surrounding the battle.

“I think another misconception is that illegal drugs are worse than legal drugs, and it simply isn’t true,” Dr. Bergeson emphasized. “Alcohol use disorder is responsible for 5 percent contribution to all morbidity and mortality.”

Dr. Bergeson advises anyone struggling with addiction to seek help because trying to fight it alone can be potentially deadly.

“I recommend anyone trying to quit, talk to their physician. It may be a difficult conversation, but if you’re ready to do that, that’s the best way,” she noted. “They’ll get you the help that you need, because people can and do die from alcohol withdrawal.”