April 1st marked the beginning of this year’s Alcohol Awareness Month, a 30-day effort founded and sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) to raise awareness toward alcoholism in the United States and reduce the stigma that prevents so many suffering from alcohol use disorder from getting the help they need. Data from the NCADD indicates that alcohol kills approximately 88,000 Americans per year through both direct and indirect causes. Efforts like Alcohol Awareness Month represent a prime opportunity to mobilize communities, educate the public and help those battling problematic drinking in their lives and families.
Recognizing Legitimate Alcohol Use Disorder in Others
Last year, the American Psychological Association (APA) released new guidelines on the treatment of alcohol use disorder to help more individuals recognize and understand the disease in themselves or their families. Alcohol use disorder is a pattern of problematic drinking that affects individuals’ health, quality of life, relationships and more. There are different levels of the condition, from mild to severe. Some of the more common indicators of alcohol use disorder include obsessive preoccupation with drinking, letting alcohol affect quality of life and family relations, physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms and more. It is a chronic disease that affects everyone, and is the most common type of substance use disorder.
Recognizing Alcohol Use Disorder in Ourselves
Two of the largest roadblocks that prevent alcoholics from getting treatment include denial and perception. The ubiquity of alcohol in social settings very often blurs the lines between acceptable and problematic drinking. Even in the face of declining health, damaged family relationships, job loss and other types of fallout that alcoholics often experience, denial can play a large part in preventing their recognition that they have a problem in the first place. They tell themselves that they’re in complete control of their drinking until its impact becomes absolutely impossible to ignore, and this often doesn’t occur until something catastrophic happens.
Benefits of Alcohol Awareness Month
More than anything, Alcohol Awareness Month provides ongoing conversation through which participants can gain invaluable insight regarding the recognition, diagnosis and treatment of the disease. It’s an opportunity to how to identify the disease, talk to your loved one about it and learn the best practices for treatment. CARMAhealth is committed to treating the physical and behavioral health issues associated with prolonged and untreated alcohol abuse, and we proudly observe AlcoholAwareness Month. Get informed, get educated, get involved, and get better.