18 APR 2022

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

Founded and sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (now Facing Addiction with NCADD), Alcohol Awareness Month was established in 1987 to help reduce the stigma so often associated with alcohol addiction by encouraging communities to reach out to the American public each April with information about alcohol, alcohol addiction, and recovery. Alcohol addiction is a chronic, progressive disease, genetically predisposed and fatal if untreated. However, people can and do recover. In fact, it is estimated that as many as 20 million individuals and family members are living lives in recovery from alcohol use!

The purpose of Alcohol Awareness Month is to bring people’s drinking habits to their attention. It takes a long time for many people to identify that they have an alcohol problem and are engaging in destructive behaviors, and every April we like to remind people to slow down and really pay attention to the patterns that they are in. This is especially true for young people who easily brush off drinking problems as them just being young. However, there are a couple important Alcohol Awareness Month lessons to take with you through the year, regardless of age.

Binge drinking is a lot more common than you think.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines heavy drinking as having eight or more drinks per week for women and 15 or more drinks per week for men. However, the CDC says that the most common type of drinking is binge drinking, which is defines as having four or more drink at a given time for women and five drinks for men. Sadly, this is considered a standard weekend out to most young people. That may be why a 2014 Gallup poll showed that 74 percent of Americans oppose lowering the drinking age from 21 years old to 18. This is in line with the support base for the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, which is 79 percent of Americans.

Drinking can and often does result in death.

Consuming alcohol is often painted in a fun light for college students and people of that age range, but it can and too often does lead to major health issues and death. In the U.S., nearly 2,000 college students die from alcohol-related injuries every year, 6,000 sustain alcohol-related injuries, and another 690,000 college students were assaulted by other students who had been drinking. Each year, nearly 100,000 students are sexually assaulted with alcohol involved in the situation.

For this and many other reasons, it is important to be able to identify the signs of alcohol poisoning, so that you can be of help if an emergency situation arises. Binge drinking stops your body from being able to process the alcohol that you are consuming. According to the CDC, the signs to look for are: “minimal impairment, decreased judgment and control, slurred speech, reduced muscle coordination, vomiting, and stupor (reduced level of consciousness and cognitive function).” The description goes on to include coma and death.

If these destructive habits sound familiar and you want to avoid a painful result, it is not too late to get help and turn the problem around. Trained alcohol counselors can help you determine if you have a problem and how to correct it. The sooner you start the better.