April 1st marked the start of Alcohol Awareness Month, an event started over 30 years ago by the National Center for Alcohol and Drug Dependency (NCADD) in an effort to drive awareness toward the dangers of excessive drinking, as well as reduce the stigma associated with the disease of alcoholism. This year’s theme is Changing Attitudes: It’s Not a ‘Rite of Passage’. Throughout the month of April, communities all over the country will hold events aimed educating people about the treatment and prevention of alcoholism. While opioid addiction has been receiving increasing national attention and resources, alcohol remains the country’s most urgent and fatal addiction threat.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 88,000 Americans die each year from alcohol-related events, whether long-term disease associated with alcohol use or high-risk behaviors that may accompany intoxication. A recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry reports that as many as one in eight American adults meet criteria for alcohol use disorder, representing nearly 13 percent of the United States population. Excessive alcohol consumption continues to be one of the nation’s leading public health issues.
Those who engage in prolonged and untreated excessive alcohol use can experience a wide range of long-term medical issues, including but not limited to:
A comprehensive program of recovery should include ongoing primary and psychiatric care for medical and behavioral health concerns.