April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and alcoholism is a problem that has plagued the United States for decades. Unfortunately, so many people don’t realize the negative effects alcohol can have on their lives. They often think that they’re only having fun. In reality, they’re participating in behaviors that can change the course of their lives forever. Alcohol Awareness Month is so important because it sheds some light on this terrible addiction. It is an addiction that needs to be taken seriously, and in order to do that, education vital.
What is Alcohol Awareness Month?
Alcohol Awareness Month began in 1987 by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD). The goal was to reduce the stigma that often surrounds alcoholism. It is an opportunity to increase awareness and understanding of alcohol addiction. The ultimate goal is to make alcoholics everywhere aware that alcohol treatment is available for those who need it. To begin Alcohol Awareness Month, Alcohol-Free Weekend is established during the first weekend of the month of April. This works to raise awareness of how dangerous alcohol is for individuals, families, communities and businesses. Americans are invited to participate in three alcohol-free days. Usually, some people find this 72-hour period to be difficult and uncomfortable. If this is the case, options for alcohol treatment are made available to them.
Alcoholism Facts and Statistics in the United States
Alcoholism is a progressive, chronic disease. It can be fatal if it is left untreated. Also, it only ever gets worse if proper treatment is not sought. In the United States, alcoholism is on the rise. In fact, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that:
- 86.4% of people ages 18 and older claim that they had drank alcohol at least once.
- 70.1% stated that they had drunk alcohol at some point during the last year.
- 56% reported that they had drunk alcohol during the last month.
- Almost 27% of people ages 18 and older participated in binge drinking during the last month.
- 7% stated that they had drunk heavily in the last month.
- In 2015, 15.1 million people in the United States suffered from Alcohol Use Disorder.
- Of that number, 623,00 of them were between the ages of 12 and 17.
- Only 37,000 young people went to any type of alcohol treatment program.
- In 2010, alcohol abuse cost the U.S. close to $250 billion.
- Alcohol misuse is responsible for the deaths of one in every ten people between the ages of 20 and 64.
It is clear that this is a problem that is not being adequately addressed. Alcohol Awareness Month aims to shed light on this problem in a practical way. The real issue may be that most people don’t know if they’re alcoholics. They may recognize when their drinking has gotten out of hand, but they wouldn’t call it a problem. Getting the right information is so important, and it may even save countless lives in the future.
What Causes Alcoholism, and are You at Risk?
Specifically, someone becomes an alcoholic when he or she continues to drink too much for too long. There is no real time frame for alcoholism, because everyone is different. As someone continues to drink alcohol, the brain and body become accustomed to having it. Dopamine and serotonin levels in the body become dependent upon the alcohol use. After some time has gone by, an alcoholic doesn’t feel right without alcohol. There are certain risk factors that can make someone more susceptible to alcohol addiction. These include:
- Family History and Genetics: Alcoholism is genetic, and this has been proven time and time again. However, that does not mean that everyone with a family history of alcoholism is destined to be an alcoholic. It does mean that these individuals are at a greater risk.
- Having a Mental Health Problem: People will often self-medicate mental illnesses with alcohol. They may even do this instead of getting mental health treatment. Alcohol can lessen the severity of their symptoms, but it doesn’t last for very long.
- Experiencing Great Amounts of Stress: Stress can be a tremendous contributor to instances of alcoholism. People often turn to alcohol as a way to ease their mental pain and anguish.
- Peer Pressure: For young people, peer pressure can have a direct effect on whether or not they drink alcohol. Many young people easily give in to peer pressure.
- Various Environmental Factors: There are a number of environmental factors that can lead to alcoholism. One example would be living in a culture where excessive alcohol use is the norm.
Are You an Alcoholic? An Alcohol Addiction Quiz Can Tell You
Am I an alcoholic? That is the question that many people want to know the answer to. They often assume that their alcohol use might be problematic, but they don’t believe they’re addicted. Maybe you are feeling the same way. Taking an alcoholism addiction quiz can help you tremendously. It can give you a lot of insight on your relationship with alcohol, and whether it’s a problem for you. You can also ask yourself a few simple questions, such as:
- Do I frequently feel the need to drink alone?
- Am I keeping my alcohol use hidden from the people who love me?
- Have I tried to stop drinking in the past, without success?
- Have others tried to tell me I have a drinking problem?
- Do I feel the need to drink alcohol when I wake up in the morning?
- Do I find it very difficult to have fun without alcohol?
- Do I turn to alcohol as a way to feel more at ease and relaxed?
- Do I use alcohol as a way to relieve stress?
If you answered any of the above questions with a yes, then you might be an alcoholic. It’s not always easy to differentiate between alcohol abuse and alcoholism. If you’re confused, you’re certainly not alone. Talking with a professional about your alcohol use can help.
Know Your Options for Alcohol Treatment Centers
If you do have an alcohol addiction, it’s important to recognize it so that you can get help. There are several different options available to you for alcohol treatment. Alcohol Rehab Alcohol rehab offers you the chance to completely focus on your alcoholism. Many alcohol treatment programs are offered on an inpatient basis. This is the method that is often preferred for a number of reasons. It gives you time away from those who might be contributing to your addiction. It also allows you to become fully educated about the power alcohol has over your life. Alcohol Detox Alcohol detox is recommended for everyone who is an alcoholic. It works by removing toxins from the body that contribute to alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol detox makes the process of stopping the use of alcohol much safer. Alcoholics Anonymous Alcoholics Anonymous is an organization that has been around for decades. Their focus is on helping people recover from alcoholism. They operate within a support group setting, which has proven to be very successful.
How to Avoid Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous. People often believe that they can simply stop drinking alcohol just as abruptly as they started. This could have devastating consequences, and is highly discouraged. The best way to avoid alcohol withdrawal symptoms is by opting for professional alcoholism treatment. This will allow for the removal of toxins from the body through alcohol detox. Withdrawal symptoms can be controlled, either through medications, or with holistic treatments. Once alcohol detox has been completed, alcohol rehab is highly recommended. This allows for recovery from the psychological component of the addiction.
Alcoholism Prevention and What You Can do to Make a Difference
As you consider Alcohol Awareness Month, you may be wondering what you can do to help. Anyone can work to raise awareness about alcoholism, and there are many things you can do to contribute.
- Share articles on social media sites about the dangers of alcohol abuse and alcoholism.
- Talk with friends and family members about making small changes to how much they drink.
- Discuss alcohol treatment options with the people you love who might have an alcohol problem.
- Talk with those in the medical health field about sharing the benefits of drinking less with their patients.
- Look carefully at your own alcohol use habits, and make adjustments to consume alcohol safely.
Most of all, if you do have an alcohol addiction, it’s important for you to get the help you need. As an alcoholic, you may be going through a lot in your life right now. Alcohol may be serving as a way for you to cope with the stress of everyday life. You don’t have to continue down this road. Help is available for you to stop drinking successfully. Are you interested in alcoholism recovery? Contact us today.