Alcohol Awareness Month
Alcohol Awareness Month
Every year, the month of April is dedicated to bringing awareness to the dangers associated with alcohol consumption and alcoholism. The National Council for Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) works to educate the public on the causes and treatment of substance abuse. This month, we focus on taking steps to prevent alcoholism by understanding the causes and risk factors of the disease.
What is alcoholism?
Alcoholism occurs when alcohol abuse becomes a severe dependency, leaving the person unable to control their consumption habits. The person affected by alcoholism suffers from addiction to the substance as well as severe, life-threatening side effects. Alcoholism leaves the individual feeling as though he/she cannot perform daily tasks without the assistance of alcohol.
The effects of Alcoholism
Excessive consumption of alcohol and Alcoholism has both short-term and long-term effects on the human body. Short-term effects occur while the person is intoxicated. They can include slow reaction time, reduced brain function, blurred vision, and poor decision making. These effects clear up once the alcohol leaves the system. Unfortunately, when alcohol is abused over long periods, the toll it takes on the body is much more severe. These long term effects include:
Increased cancer risks
Alcohol abuse and Youth
When we think of alcohol abuse, we usually think of adults. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Even though the legal age to consume alcohol is 21, there is still a major underage drinking crisis in our country today. According to a study by the CDC in 2019, 29% of high school students drank alcohol within a 30 day period. 14% of students binge drank within a 30 day period. When a young person drinks alcohol, it can cause that person to experience higher truancy in school, social problems, disruption of normal growth, physical violence, and even increased risk of suicide.
Putting a stop to Alcohol Abuse
There is a relationship between alcohol consumption in youth and alcohol abuse when that person becomes an adult. Because of this relationship, it is important to intervene with preventative measures as early as possible.
One of the first measures you can take is to find out if you have become dependent on drinking alcohol – whether that is to function through daily tasks or to ensure you are enjoying your time. Plan one weekend (or consecutive 72 hours) to participate in activities where alcohol isn’t present. Some suggestions might be attending a movie, going for a hike, or volunteering in your community. If you find yourself unable to enjoy the 3 days or that you have craved alcohol, then it may be time to speak to your doctor about substance abuse.
Moderation of Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol is meant to be consumed in moderation. Whether it is for taste preference with dinner, or for enjoyment at a tailgate, alcohol is okay as long as it is being used responsibly. Additionally, if you choose to drink, ensure your intake is low and encourage others to practice moderation. The dietary guidelines for moderate consumption is two drinks or less in a day for men, and one drink in a day for women.
You should not consume alcohol if you are:
under the legal drinking age
treated for certain medical conditions or take certain medications that could react with alcohol
recovering from an alcohol use disorder
planning to drive or operate heavy machinery
Remember to always drink responsibly. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, call CCMH at (580) 250-6650 for a confidential assessment. Click https://www.ccmhhealth.com/behavioral-health-services/ to be connected with behavioral health services at CCMH
Center for Disease Control https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/moderate-drinking.htm
Alcohol Rehab Guide https://www.alcoholrehabguide.org/alcohol/
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