According to the World Health Organization, 3.3 million people died in 2018 from alcohol-related incidents. Today it remains as a leading cause of mortality. It’s simple, but complicated – which is why April was dedicated as Alcohol Awareness Month by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence in 1987. This year, the focus is entitled “Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow”.
As the human race becomes more knowledgeable and technologically savvy, it’s easy to wonder why we, as people, continue to succumb to the path of self-destruction through alcohol abuse.
There are many reasons why some individuals may not realize that their heavy drinking has escalated into alcohol addiction. Stigma related to this diagnosis can account for some of the willful ignorance. For others, ongoing alcohol use seems easier than the pain in stopping which can manifest physically, mentally and spiritually. There are also those known as functioning alcoholics that manage to get by in their day-to-day – until they don’t.
Whether you are the person doing the drinking or are watching a loved one gradually wither away into the abyss of alcoholism, the process takes its toll. Alcohol dependency is an equal opportunity, life-altering situation affecting every gender, and every generation.
The first step in alleviating this anguish is admitting that there is a problem. This is how awareness and accountability come together to begin the culmination of a solution. As we highlight Alcohol Awareness Month today, the following serves as a quick reference on what to look for and what to do next.
Perhaps the single most revealing question you can ask yourself about assessing whether alcohol use has escalated into a condition that needs professional treatment is this:
Are you (or the person you’re concerned about) not the same anymore?
For the alcoholic, alcohol is always in control. Help requires awareness and getting the right intervention plan to present an effective option for treatment and recovery.
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