Understanding Alcohol Awareness Month

Nearly 15 million people in the United States 12 years or older had an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) in 2019. Alcohol use causes over 200 different diseases and conditions, increases the risk of suicide, leads to risky or violent behavior, destroys families, and often harms society. April is National Alcohol Awareness Month, which gives communities an opportunity to learn more about alcohol use and alcoholism.

History of Alcohol Awareness Month

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) named April National Alcohol Awareness Month in 1987.  

Marty Mann founded the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), originally the National Committee for Education on Alcoholism (NCEA), in 1944. NCEA later became the National Council on Alcoholism (NCA) in 1950. Mann was one of the early members of Alcoholics anonymous and the first woman to successfully go through a 12 step program. She founded NCADD  to help people like her who suffered from alcohol abuse and addiction. She also dedicated this organization to key medical and scientific researc­h for the community.

Inspired by the increasing amount of people going into recovery, NCADD decided to name the month of April National Alcohol Awareness month to bring about national awareness and change about binge drinking and its long-term dangers. 

Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in America

According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), almost 86% of people ages 18 and above reported that they had consumed alcohol at least once in their lifetime. Roughly 70 percent of adults ages 18 and older reported having a drink within the last year and 55 percent reported having a drink in the past month. 

Although America is one of the lowest alcohol use rates per capita of first-world countries, the relationship with alcohol in America is far from safe. An estimated 95,000 people die from alcohol-related causes yearly, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause in the United States (tobacco being the first and poor health coming in second). 

Alcohol consumption has increased over the past few decades, but so has the rate of death due to alcohol-related causes. In fact, alcohol-related deaths have risen by more than 50 percent since 1990. This increase in mortality is largely attributed to the rise in binge drinking among young adults. Binge drinking is defined as consuming five drinks or more in a single sitting. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about 20 percent of college students report binge drinking.

Alcohol is often used for both celebratory and commiserative purposes in American culture. It’s a “social lubricant” that can help us connect with others in the moment. But it also has the potential to be harmful when consumed in excess. 

This acceptance of alcohol use leaves Americans with an extremely unhealthy and concerning relationship with alcohol. We’re taught from an early age to think of heavy drinking as something that brings us good times and bad. We’re left with several excuses for why it’s acceptable to drink in excess if we want.

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How To Support Alcohol Awareness Month

Alcohol Awareness Month will be educational in some way in April. NCADD encourages young adults and parents to participate in Alcohol Awareness Month to learn more about how alcohol use affects their lives and how they can find treatment resources for themselves and/or a loved one.

If you’re wondering how you can participate this month here are a few ideas you can follow:

  • Participate in an Alcohol-Free weekend with family and friends 
  • Spread awareness on your social media accounts with your social media community. Use the hashtag #alcoholawarenessmonth when sharing and increasing awareness. 
  • Attend events this month in your community that promote a better understanding of Alcohol Use Disorder and how alcohol use affects your community  
  • Practice being mindful of your own alcohol consumption and the quantity consumed.

Know The Signs of Alcoholism

Alcohol use disorders are more common than you might think. There are various warning signals of alcohol abuse. Some of them are easy to spot, but others may be harder to recognize. 

There is no blueprint for determining if someone is an alcoholic; however, symptoms often occur together. A single symptom can lead to a chain reaction, which can cause further problems down the road.

Some common signs of alcohol abuse include the following:

  • drinking alone or hiding one’s drinking 
  • feeling hungover when not drinking 
  • choosing alcohol over responsibilities 
  • short-term memory loss and/or experience “blackouts”
  • extreme mood swings and irritability 
  • making excuses to drink such as being stressed out, relaxing, or feeling normal 

Regardless of how small a drinking problem may appear, alcohol abuse symptoms should never be ignored. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse, we’re here to help at Riverside Recovery of Tampa.

Get Help for Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol Use Disorder

Recovering from an alcohol use disorder should be done under the supervision of medical professionals in a specialized treatment center. Self-treatment may be more harmful rather than helpful in many cases. The detox phase may involve extremely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms which need to be treated in a rehabilitation program under medical supervision. 

To learn more about Alcohol Awareness Month or our treatment options for alcohol abuse at Riverside Recovery of Tampa, contact our admissions team today.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism – Alcohol Facts and Statistics