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,
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
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
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.