In April 1987, the National Council for Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) sponsored a health awareness campaign about the dangers of alcoholism. In fact, over 100,000 annual deaths are attributed to alcohol abuse, about half of which are due to long-term use.
This year, Alcohol Awareness Month 2022 is a way to continue to spread awareness about the dangerous effects of alcohol. But what is considered alcohol abuse and how can you help? Continue reading to learn more about alcohol abuse, treatment options, and more.
What is Alcohol Abuse?
Alcohol abuse is defined as a pattern of drinking that interferes with day-to-day activities. Symptoms can include a failure to fulfill major work, school, or home responsibilities, legal or social problems, or drinking in situations that are dangerous.
Alcohol abuse can come in different forms, whether it’s every day or multiple days of binge drinking. Because alcohol is so easily accessible, it is one of the most abused substances in the United States. Let’s define two terms we hear often when it comes to alcohol abuse.
- Alcoholism: A chronic disease characterized by uncontrolled drinking and preoccupation with alcohol.
- Binge Drinking: The consumption of an excessive amount of alcohol in a short period of time.
Both of these types of alcohol abuse are dangerous and common among people of all ages. If you, or someone you know, is abusing alcohol, it’s important to find alcohol abuse treatment right away.
The Dangers of Excessive Drinking
Excessive alcohol can negatively affect your body in a variety of ways. Not only can alcoholism cause various cancers, but it can also take a toll on your immune system, as well as many other organs in your body.
Alcohol can interfere with your brain’s communication pathways and can affect the way your brain works. These disruptions can also change your mood and behavior.
Heavy drinking makes it harder to think clearly and move with coordination. This is why, when someone is intoxicated, you’ll notice they slur their words and have trouble standing upright. This disruption in your brain is the main reason why it is so crucial to never drink and drive.
Excessive alcohol use can also damage your heart. Heavy drinking can cause issues such as irregular heartbeat, stroke, high blood pressure, and more. These heart issues can also negatively affect your blood flow causing an array of other related issues.
Another organ that takes a huge toll from heavy drinking is your liver. The liver’s job is to break down alcohol. If you drink more than it can process, it can become badly damaged.
Overuse of alcohol can cause you to have liver disease and can inflame your liver causing all sorts of health issues. Fatty liver, Alcoholic Hepatitis, and Alcoholic Cirrhosis are just some of the diseases you can get from heavy drinking. These symptoms will include fatigue, yellowing of the skin, nausea, pain, fever, and more.
The severity of these diseases depends on how much you drink and how often. It’s important to remember that all of these health issues caused by alcohol abuse are 100% preventable. The less you consume alcohol, the less likely you are to have any of these problems.
Alcohol Abuse Treatment
It’s important to be able to recognize the signs of alcoholism in yourself or in your loved ones. Symptoms can include frequent blackouts or short-term memory loss, signs of irritability, and extreme mood swings. Some other symptoms can include, choosing to drink over other responsibilities, becoming isolated and distant from friends and family members, drinking alone or in secrecy, and lifestyle changes.
When it comes to seeking alcohol abuse treatment, there are many options out there. If you notice your loved one needs help but you don’t know how to help them, try interventions. Interventions are when an outside trained professional compassionately and firmly guides a family towards the process of getting their loved one help.
If you or your loved one is committed to sobriety, you may need to find help with detox. There are many programs out there dedicated to getting people through the dangerous detox phase safely.
After the detox phase, the treatment phase can begin. Treatment can vary from person to person. Options such as in-patient rehabs and outpatient support meetings are available for alcohol abuse survivors.
Alcohol Awareness Month 2022
April is Alcohol Awareness Month and is meant to spread drinking awareness to others. This observance is also a way to educate people on the dangers and effects of alcohol abuse.
This annual month-long observance also aims to showcase all of the effective treatments available. Alcohol Awareness Month 2022 can also be an opportunity for people to share their experiences with alcoholism and recovery. This will help show people suffering from alcoholism that they’re not alone.
If you’d like to support alcohol awareness, there are a number of things you can do. Plan, promote, and attend events that advocate for alcohol consumption awareness. Help digitally by spreading educational resources about alcohol abuse on social media.
You can also abstain from drinking alcohol during Alcohol-Free Weekend, from April 2nd to April 4th, or for the entire month. Most importantly, continue to advocate for those who have suffered from alcohol abuse.
Alcohol abuse is a common disease that so many people face in America and across the globe. By spreading awareness, you can educate people on how to notice the signs of alcoholism before it’s too late. Alcohol abuse is preventable but also treatable. For more information on Alcohol Awareness Month 2022 and how you can help, contact us today!