In the United States, alcohol continues to be the most commonly used addictive substance. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reports that one in every 12 American adults suffers from alcohol abuse or dependence. These numbers have increased throughout the years, showing an unsettling trend that doesn’t show signs of slowing. Alcoholism is a progressive disease, which can advance from heavy drinking to full-blown Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) over time. How can we protect ourselves, and our loved ones, from the harms and dangers of alcohol dependence? Alcohol Awareness Month exists to provide support, resources, and information to help steer towards healing, health, and independence from alcohol. Let’s look at 4 things we can do:

Understand Alcoholism

Many adults enjoy alcoholic beverages from time to time, without developing an addiction. It can be difficult in social settings to identify the markers of alcohol dependence in both ourselves and in our family and friends, based on just a handful of interactions. Alcoholism is both a physical and psychological dependence on alcohol. People that struggle with alcohol dependence often drink alone, hide their drinking, are unable to stop drinking once they start, and make excuses for their intake.

Set the Example

Now that we know 1 in 12 American adults struggle with some degree of alcohol dependence, we realize that many social settings probably include someone that has some degree of alcohol addiction. Encourage social outings and events that are not centered around consumption and make food rather than drinks the focal point of a night out. Invite teenagers and adults alike to enjoy life without alcohol use and set the example yourself!

Follow Dietary Guidelines for Alcohol Consumption

So, how much is too much? It’s important to know and follow the healthy limits for alcohol consumption so that we can set a healthy example for everyone who is watching – particularly young people. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking is considered to be in the moderate to low-risk range for women at no more than 3 drinks in one day and no more than 7 drinks per week. For men, the recommended maximum is 4 drinks in one day, and 14 drinks per week.

Show Compassion

If you don’t struggle with excessive drinking, there is likely someone in your life who does. It’s important to understand that addiction is caused by many things. In fact, genetic factors account for 40-60% of a person’s vulnerability to addiction – completely out of their control, in many ways. When we discuss patterns, we see in our friends and family, it is an opportunity to show compassion and support as you direct them to medical professionals that can help begin the recovery process.

Alcoholism is common and increasing in America. Together, we can stop the upward trend and start focusing on our health, wellness, and safety without dependence on drinking. Need some help? Give us a call today, and we can begin the process toward healing and happiness together!

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