Approximately 14.5 million Americans at the ages of 12 years and older and more than 300 million people worldwide have an alcohol use disorder (AUD) as of 2019. Worldwide, alcohol is responsible for about 3 million deaths each year. Unfortunately, less than 10% of individuals who have an AUD receive any kind of treatment. AUD is defined as a chronic, relapsing disease that occurs when one cannot control their use of alcohol. Besides AUD, alcohol consumption is associated with more than 200 diseases, injuries and other health conditions. This month is Alcohol Awareness Month, dedicated to reducing the stigma surrounding alcoholism and substance abuse and helping organizations reach individuals who may be uncomfortable or in denial of their addiction.
Signs of alcohol abuse may include a combination of physical, behavioral and psychological. Examples of warning signs include the following:
- Having trouble concentrating, loss of coordination and mood swings
- Raised blood pressure, passing out and vomiting
- Being anxious or stressed in social gatherings that do not include alcohol
- Drinking alone
- Making excuses to drink
- Spending a lot of time thinking about drinking
- Excessive amount of time needed to recover from the effects of alcohol consumption
- Needing larger amounts of alcohol to have the desired effects to function “normally”
It can be challenging to be close to a loved one who struggles with alcohol addiction since they may hide it and be dishonest about their consumption which makes it difficult to help them. However, learning about alcohol addiction, researching rehab programs and finding the right to talk about it can help a loved one with alcohol addiction.
If you or someone you love is struggling with alcoholism, there are numerous ways to seek help.
- Call SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration) available 24/7: 800-662-HELP (4357)
- Visit findtreatment.gov or text your zip code to 435748 to find a treatment facility near you
- Call the American Addiction Centers helpline at 866-484-1712