The month of April is National Alcohol Awareness Month, which was formed to create public awareness of the health risks and dangers associated with excessive alcohol consumption.
This month aims to break the stigma against people with alcohol use disorder (AUD) and those who seek help for substance use in general.
Trends in alcohol addiction and abuse show that high-intensity drinking (binge drinking) among people aged 18 and up is on the rise.
Being informed can help you or a loved one become more aware of the influence of alcohol and better prepared to handle substance use disorder if it developed.
Signs And Symptoms Of Alcohol Addiction
For many, alcohol is a normal part of their social life, and not considered a problem. But for people with an AUD, alcohol addiction is a mental health condition that requires treatment.
And others may not recognize a problem with alcohol, though they’ve become more aware of the effects of alcohol with movements such as the sober curious movement and Dry January.
It may be hard to tell the difference between someone who enjoys drinking and someone who has an alcohol addiction.
Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction:
- Using alcohol to start your day
- Trouble with work, relationships, and finances from the use of alcohol
- Hiding alcohol and lying about alcohol use
- Experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking
- Constantly binge drinking
- Being unable to have a single drink, and drinking more than you intend when you do drink
- Needing alcohol as a social lubricant, or unable to enjoy social events without alcohol
AUD is a progressive disease. If untreated, these signs and symptoms will turn into worse long-term problems or an alcohol overdose.
Here are some long-term health conditions of alcohol addiction:
- Digestive problems
- Constantly being sick from a damaged immune system
- Sexual dysfunction
- Skin changes
- Vision problems
- Weight changes
The Scope Of Alcohol Addiction In The U.S.
Alcohol consumption trends have shifted in the years since Alcohol Awareness Month started, but in general, alcohol abuse is still a very real problem in the United States.
In 2019, nearly 15 million people ages 12 and older had an AUD. Delving deeper into this number reveals the associated risks that come with drinking at different ages.
Alcohol Abuse Among Adolescents
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) estimates that 414,000 adolescents ages 12 to 17 have an AUD.
Drinking at a young age can negatively affect your present and future. Even small amounts of alcohol can be dangerous when the brain is still developing.
Problems linked to underage drinking:
- Social issues
- Unprotected sexual activity
- Disruption of normal growth and sexual development
- Increased risk of suicide
- Memory problems
- Increased chance of alcohol poisoning
Alcohol Trends Among Young Adults
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence originally started Alcohol Awareness Month to warn college students of the dangers of binge drinking. Today, the problem persists.
Binge drinking is considered a rite of passage in college dorms and fraternities. In 2019, the NIAAA reported that 33% of full-time college students participated in binge drinking.
There are many problems with excessive drinking on college campuses and among young people.
Some of these are:
- motor vehicle crashes
- developing an AUD that leads into adulthood
- low grades in school
- sexual assault
Alcohol Addiction In Adults
Alcohol-related problems are very prevalent in adults today, especially in regard to physical health.
According to the NIAAA and National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics:
- 85.6% of adults reported that they drank alcohol at some point in their lifetime
- 69.55% drank in the past year
- 25.8% of adults reported binge drinking in the last 30 days
- 6.7% of adults who participate in the overconsumption of alcohol will develop an alcohol use disorder
Many adults with AUD may experience issues such as:
- liver, mouth, throat, larynx, and esophagus cancer
- high blood pressure
- psychological disorders
- breast cancer
How To Raise Awareness About Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol Awareness Month was created to benefit public health through education about alcohol addiction.
It’s also meant to create a safe space for someone to get help, and to encourage others to help their loved ones to find treatment and resources for alcohol abuse.
If you know someone who is displaying any of the symptoms of an AUD, there are many options to get the process of recovery started.
Here’s how you can help:
- Stage an alcohol addiction intervention
- Go to educational events on alcohol abuse
- Attend a 12-step substance abuse program meeting (such as AA, Narcotics Anonymous, or Al-Anon)
- Learn more about AUD by talking to health care professionals
Treatment For Alcohol Addiction
Whether you’re an adolescent, college student, or adult, drinking can become a serious issue.
People with an AUD can find recovery through many different treatment options, such as:
- cognitive behavioral therapy
- 12-step programs such as Alcoholic Anonymous (AA)
- inpatient alcohol addiction treatment programs
- residential alcohol abuse treatment
- dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring disorders
- group addiction therapy
Recover From Alcohol Addiction At Bedrock Recovery Center
We at Bedrock Recovery Center want to help you or a loved one find recovery from alcohol addiction through one of our addiction treatment programs in Massachusetts.
Reach out to a treatment specialist today and learn more about our addiction recovery center.
Centers for Disease Control And Prevention — Underage Drinking
Department Of Mental Health And Addiction Services — April Is Alcohol Awareness Month
National Institute On Alcohol Abuse And Alcoholism — Alcohol Facts And Statistics