Alcohol Awareness Month
April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and there’s no better time than now to bring awareness to alcohol addiction and shed light on how to help those struggling.
This month is also about breaking down the barriers surrounding the stigma that is often attached to substance abuse.
What is Alcohol Awareness Month?
Alcohol Awareness Month came about in April of 1987. It began with a focus on college students who started drinking too much once they gained a sense of freedom in a college setting.
However, since the start of this movement, Alcohol Awareness Month has turned into something much bigger.
Nationally, we have started to look at this as an opportunity to take a closer look at the effects of alcoholism on the person suffering, as well as the ripple effect it has on families.
The Importance of Alcohol Awareness Month
Alcohol Awareness Month is important for more than one reason. For one, it’s important to break down any barriers that may prevent someone with alcohol addiction from seeking treatment.
There tends to be a stigma attached to substance abuse, so this month is an important one to help break down these barriers in hopes of reaching more people in need.
Bringing awareness to alcoholism is also key for health care providers, communities, and even treatment facilities to bring even more awareness than they already do to alcohol abuse.
In doing so, it may reach someone who may be in denial and not recognize that they are, in fact, struggling with alcohol addiction.
Having a month dedicated to bringing awareness to alcoholism is also another opportunity to provide support, education, and resources to families who may be dealing with alcoholism in their household.
The Prevalence of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in the US
According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2018 indicates that 14.4 million adults had alcohol use disorder.
Unfortunately, alcohol addiction doesn’t only affect adults. This same survey found that 401,000 adolescents between the ages of 12-17 had alcohol use disorder as well.
Alcohol abuse comes with numerous consequences, and it’s estimated that 88,000 people die from an alcohol-related causes each year. This number actually makes alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in our country.
Alcoholism can also lead to alcohol-related liver disease and can increase your risk of certain types of cancer.
Alcoholism also comes with an economic burden and can disrupt home life.
Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction
There is no one size fits all when it comes to alcohol addiction, and it may not be completely obvious if someone is suffering.
With that being said, here are some of the signs to watch out for, as these may indicate someone may be dealing with alcohol addiction.
- Slurred speech
- Gaps in memory
- Having the desire to stop drinking but being unable to do so
- Putting drinking before work, family, and friends
- Hiding alcohol consumption
- Being in denial
- Feeling stressed out if there is no access to alcohol
It’s important to know that there are different subtypes of alcoholism, there is not just one single type of alcohol addiction.
These subtypes include:
- Young Adult Subtype
- Functional Subtype
- Intermediate Familial Subtype
- Young Antisocial Subtype
- Chronic Severe Subtype
Getting Help For Alcohol Addiction
While alcoholism comes with widespread issues related to one’s overall wellbeing, there are alcohol addiction treatment options.
First, it’s important to understand that alcohol abuse is an addiction, and one should work with a doctor on a treatment plan, which often includes counseling.
There are also rehab facilities that can help those suffering from alcohol withdrawal in a safe place with medical professionals.
Many find Alcoholics Anonymous groups to be beneficial as it helps with accountability, and can be a great place to reach out for support, and to help prevent an alcohol relapse. These alcohol support groups have been found to be a very important part of recovering from alcohol abuse.
How to Get Support Today
If you are suffering from alcohol addiction, or know someone who is, don’t hesitate to get help.
There are hotlines like the one offered through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration that can help connect you with local support to get treatment started.
There are medication options to help with the process of alcohol withdrawal, and important blood tests can be run to look at the function of essential organs like the liver that’s often affected by excessive alcohol consumption.
PlushCare is unable to treat alcohol addiction and withdrawal. We recommend in person treatment with a physician, addiction specialist or therapist.
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