Significance of Alcohol Awareness Month

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. This month gives people the opportunity to educate themselves on the dangers of alcohol misuse, abuse, and related disorders. Treatment centers, public health figures, and organizations bring awareness to how alcohol can ravage families and communities if misused. 

Alcohol misuse leads to a plethora of health and societal issues for people all over the world. Many don’t consider their usage of alcohol to be as severe as it is, or can’t visualize the impact it has had on their life.

The significance of alcohol misuse and abuse does not belong to one particular age group; anyone can be affected by alcohol related issues. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, around 178,000 people fall victim to alcohol related deaths each year. This is the leading cause of death in the United States.

Elevate Recovery Centers understand how critical it is to seek support and treatment for either yourself or loved ones that may be suffering from alcohol related issues. It’s imperative to understand the signs and symptoms of alcohol misuse, abuse, or disorders. In this blog, we will discuss the history of Alcohol Awareness Month, various levels of alcohol misuse and how that can affect your health, and finally how to find support for these alcohol related issues.

History of Alcohol Awareness Month

Alcohol Awareness Month began in 1987 by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. Originally, college students were the target demographic of this social movement to address their worsening drinking habits that came along with their newfound freedom. Now, Alcohol Awareness Month is utilized to draw attention to the dangers of alcohol use and misuse amongst families and communities.

Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder

According to the Alcohol Rehab Guide, alcoholism is the most severe form of alcohol abuse. When diagnosed, alcoholism is referred to as alcohol use disorder. There are three levels of alcohol use disorder: mild, moderate, and severe. All three levels should be considered serious due to their impact on the individual physically and mentally.

Those suffering from alcohol use disorder, or alcoholism, may consider alcohol essential to their functionality throughout the day. Many feel as though operating without alcohol can be debilitating. Alcoholism can impact their professional life, personal relationships, physical health, mental health, and so much more. Going undiagnosed and untreated can be detrimental, and often, fatal.

Alcohol Related Health Risks

Excessive alcohol use can cause short term and long term health risks. Short term risks are more immediate, and should be considered just as severe as long term alcohol related health risks.

Short term alcohol related health risks include, but are not limited to:

  • Falls, vehicular crashes, drownings, and burns.
  • Suicide, sexual assault, or any form of violence (including domestic violence and homicide).
  • Alcohol poisoning.
  • Unprotected sexual encounters with one or more partners, which could lead to the transmission of STIs, STDs, and HIV.
  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) or miscarriages among pregnant women.

Long term alcohol related health risks include, but are not limited to:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Liver disease
  • Cancers of various organs (liver, mouth, throat, esophagus, etc.)
  • Weakened immune system
  • Alcohol related dementia
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Alcohol use disorder or alcohol dependence

Take action: How to support a loved one in the storm

We know it can feel helpless watching someone you care for struggling; we’re here to provide you the tools to help them through their sobriety. In order to support a loved one through their alcoholism, it’s important to firstly know how to identify the signs of alcohol abuse or excessive alcohol usage. 

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5), signs of alcohol use disorder include:

  • Being unable to cut back or stop drinking
  • Using alcohol in risky situations, including driving or swimming
  • Using alcohol even when it prevents them from fulfilling responsibilities including work or school
  • Craving alcohol
  • Drinking more than intended
  • Experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms when not being able to consume alcohol

Now that you know the signs, how are you able to help prior to treatment?

  • Talk to them: Have a sensitive and compassionate conversation with your loved one (while they’re sober) about your concerns. It may be tricky to approach the conversation, however, if done with care and precision, they may feel open to treatment hearing about their actions through your eyes.
  • Research Treatment Centers: Many treatment centers have programs specific for alcohol addiction. Elevate Recovery Centers has a variety of treatment options including Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) Addiction Treatment and Outpatient Programs (which include 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous). We accept a variety of insurance coverage to help with the cost of treatment!
  • Educate yourself: A large part of being supportive is educating yourself on addiction. Socially, having an addiction comes along with harmful stigmas that prevent people from seeking treatment. Reading about addiction in books or articles, hearing others testimonies, watching videos on addiction could all be ways to educate yourself about the dangers of alcohol use disorder.

Always remember that you don’t have to walk through this journey alone, whether you’re supporting a loved one or ready to start recovery for yourself. Contact us at 443-960-4673, or visit our website to learn more about our treatment options.