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Support Alcohol Awareness Month and Create Opportunities for Recovery

04-26-2017

In 1987, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) established Alcohol Awareness Month to help reduce the stigma associated with alcoholism. Every April, communities are encouraged to reach out to those around them and provide information on alcohol, alcoholism, and recovery. Frederick Memorial Hospital is a proud supporter of this initiative and recognizes the importance of helping others live their best lives.

This year’s theme is “Connecting the Dots: Opportunities for Recovery.” The goal is to draw attention to teen alcohol use and help to make it easier for individuals, families, and communities to prevent it. Educating children on the dangers of alcohol and alcohol abuse is vital to ensuring that our community’s youth have a healthy and happy future.

The Facts about Alcohol

Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the U.S. Alcoholism is a disease that can impact anyone, regardless of age, race, gender, or success in life. An estimated 17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffer from alcoholism. Most individuals are impacted by the disease in some way, with more than half of all adults having a family history of alcoholism, and more than 7 million children living in a household where at least one parent is alcohol dependent.

Sadly, excessive alcohol use accounts for 88,000 deaths a year. The disease is the third leading lifestyle-related cause of death in the nation. Currently, about 40 percent of all hospital beds in the U.S. are being used to treat patients who are suffering from alcoholism.

Excessive drinking over a period of time can lead to many different health problems, including chronic diseases, neurological impairments, and social problems. Alcoholism is not related to the type of alcohol a person drinks, how long they’ve been drinking, or how much they consume, but rather their uncontrollable need to drink.

Signs and Symptoms

If you believe that you or someone you love could be suffering from alcohol dependency, it’s important to get help as soon as possible. There are many different symptoms that could indicate alcoholism. Temporary blackouts, using alcohol to relax or sleep, and drinking in secret are all signs of an alcohol disorder. Neglecting activities that used to be important, taking risks to obtain alcohol or drugs, and a family history of abuse could all indicate an addiction.

The sooner these symptoms are recognized, the sooner the road to recovery can begin. The majority of those who suffer from alcoholism need support and treatment to reclaim their lives.

The Impact of Underage Drinking

According to NCAAD, excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year, and nearly 10 million young people, ages 12 to 20, report that they’ve consumed alcohol in the past 30 days. Children who begin drinking before the age of 15 are four times more likely to develop an addiction than those who begin drinking before the age of 21.

The average American is shown an excessive amount of beer commercials every year. Try watching a football game without seeing at least one every commercial break. Most children will see 100,000 beer commercials before they turn 18. Alcohol usage is lower among children who are surrounded by a supportive family, as well as kids who talk to their parents about alcohol and drugs.

If you’re a parent and you’re worried about your child being impacted by alcohol abuse, there are several warning signs that could indicate a problem. Physical signs include bloodshot eyes or pupils that are smaller or larger than normal, changes in appetite or sleep patterns, and deterioration in personal grooming or physical appearance. A drop in attendance and performance at school, sudden changes in relationships, and getting in trouble frequently are behavioral indications that something is wrong.

As a parent, you should know that progress is being made to address underage drinking. Children who learn about the dangers of alcohol from their parents are much less likely to experiment than those who don’t. Events like Alcohol Awareness Month encourage parents to have a dialogue with their kids. The most successful tool you can use as a parent to prevent underage drinking is discussing it openly and honestly with your child.

Taking Care of Yourself

If you’re worried about your own drinking habits, there are steps that you can take to get help. Talk to a healthcare professional who can provide you with the care and treatment that you need on the road to recovery. Talking to a trusted friend or loved one who can provide support and understanding during your struggle is also important.

If you believe that you might have a drinking problem, take this free test. If after taking it you feel like you need help, contact a healthcare professional.

Help Create Opportunities for Recovery

Please join Frederick Memorial Hospital this April in helping to reduce the stigma of alcoholism. Go to https://www.ncadd.org/about-addiction/alcohol/facts-about-alcohol to learn more and to help us support the millions of families each year that are impacted by alcohol abuse.

Categories: Health News, Mental Health


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