April is Alcohol Awareness Month

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

It’s Alcohol Awareness Month

Plum Creek Recovery Ranch would like to recognize April as Alcohol Awareness Month. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) began this tradition in 1987 to raise awareness of alcohol addiction and its consequences. Alcohol addiction touches the lives of millions of Americans every year, with thousands entering treatment for alcohol use disorders. As much as awareness of alcohol-related issues has improved in recent years, there is always more to be done. 

In this blog, Plum Creek Recovery Ranch takes a look at alcohol use disorders, related statistics, the role stigma plays as an obstacle to treatment for alcoholism and more. 

Alcohol Awareness Month and Why It’s Important

Alcohol Awareness Month is a time to raise awareness. Statistics can help us get a grasp on the size of the challenge, but it’s important to remember that this month is not just about stats, but about the lives of real people which are affected by alcohol abuse. More than 88,000 people die every year due to alcohol-related causes in the United States alone, but the death toll only tells a small part of the story. 

These are fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles. Loved ones who are not only taken from us too soon, but suffer as a result of a treatable illness. Alcohol Awareness Month is an opportunity to learn and to educate others on the importance of alcohol awareness. Awareness can make a life or death difference for many. Whether it’s helping someone realize they or a loved one have an alcohol problem, or reducing stigma so someone feels comfortable enough to ask for help or treatment for an alcohol use disorder.

Overcoming the Stigma Around Alcohol Use Disorders

Alcohol Use Disorders (AUDs) affect millions of people in the U.S., yet there is still some stigma attached to the issue. This prevents people from admitting when they need help and from entering treatment for AUD. People living with alcohol addiction must be shown kindness and compassion. 

Consider that people who suffer from other chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, do not face similar stigma or biases as an obstacle. The bottom line is that people with alcohol use disorders should get the same consideration as anyone with any other chronic illness. It’s everyone’s responsibility to begin to change the conversation about AUD and treatment for alcoholism. Raising awareness begins at home.


Alcohol Use Disorder Stats in the US

Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) has long been a common problem in America and has devastating consequences for individuals and families. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), in 2019 over 14 million adults in the United States had symptoms of an alcohol use disorder or were abusing alcohol.

Perhaps even more worrying, over 400,000 children between the ages of 12-17 showed signs of chronic alcohol abuse. Of course statistics alone cannot fully illustrate the damage that alcohol abuse does to America and its people. It gives us empirical evidence to objectively measure the problem and to gauge progress (or regression). That is important in solving any problem. 

The Less Measurable Damage Done by Alcohol Addiction

It is impossible to quantify the emotional damage and other less tangible impacts that alcoholism has upon a person’s psyche, their relationships and the people who love them. The emotional and spiritual damages must always be taken into account in the process of raising awareness about alcohol abuse. 

Signs of and Alcohol Use Disorder

Recognizing the signs of an alcohol use disorder isn’t always easy. People often try to conceal a drinking problem and they can be quite good at it. Ironically, sometimes when it’s someone we are close to it can actually be harder to spot the signs of an AUD. This may be because of denial on our part, or the person knowing us so well that they are especially adept at hiding the signs. Often it’s a combination of both of these along with other factors. 

This is why awareness is so important. Raising awareness doesn’t just apply to changing the conversation to make others more aware. It also means paying closer attention to what’s going on at home and in those closest to you. Compassion and understanding are essential here. Recognizing and accepting that alcohol addiction is a disease that often requires professional help is also key.

Signs of an Alcohol Use Disorder May Include:

  1. Increasing tolerance of alcohol – needing to drink more to achieve the same desired effect. 
  2. Neglect of job, school and/or family responsibilities – due to drinking-related behaviors or consequences.
  3. Social isolation, preferring to spend time only with people who drink or drinking alone frequently. 
  4. Experiencing blackouts/memory loss – forgetting entire evenings or periods of hours due to drinking.
  5. Trouble moderating alcohol intake –  someone with an AUD often struggles to control how much they drink once drinking has begun. 
  6. Neglecting self-care and hygiene – due to alcohol use or related activities. 
  7. Suffering from physical or mental health problems – such as headaches, nausea, depression or anxiety when not drinking. 
  8. Cravings for alcohol. 
  9. Having financial issues due to excessive spending on alcohol and related activities.
  10. Suffering from withdrawal symptoms such as tremors, sweating, anxiety and depression when not drinking.

Getting Help for an Alcohol Use Disorder

It’s not always easy to ask for help when you need it. Most of us don’t want to feel like a burden on others. It’s very important to be able to table those insecurities, or at least push through them, when it comes to asking for help for an alcohol use disorder. 
The truth is that everyone deserves help for an addiction to alcohol or anything else. The people who care about you would much rather see you seek help than to suffer in silence out of fear of “burdening them”. Whether it’s you or someone you love who is in the grips of alcohol addiction, Plum Creek Recovery Ranch is here to listen and help. Give us a call today at: (512) 488-1128

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