April Is Alcohol Awareness Month
Alcohol is a dangerous legal substance and is the fourth leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Having a drink may not seem unsafe, but excessive amounts of alcohol can cause damage to the body. Alcohol-related liver disease is the main cause of approximately 1 in 3 liver transplants, and alcohol use may contribute to liver cirrhosis, cancer or serious injury.
Each April, people across America have the opportunity to decrease the stigma associated with alcohol use disorders and become aware of their own drinking habits. Created as a way to help reduce stigma and educate communities about alcoholism and recovery, Alcohol Awareness Month was founded in 1987 by The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.
Use this month to spread awareness about the dangers of alcohol and find ways to educate others on how to help someone with an alcohol use disorder. Long-term sobriety is possible and can be achieved with treatment and the support of loved ones.
What Is a High-Functioning Alcoholic?
There is no boilerplate description for someone with an alcohol use disorder. You may not be able to tell who battles alcohol dependence because not everyone hits rock bottom. As some struggle to hide the noticeable side effects of an alcohol use disorder, others are able to maintain their successful careers and appear to live normally while drinking in secret.
A high-functioning alcoholic may drink throughout the day or remain sober throughout the week while binge drinking on the weekends. Someone who consumes alcohol in this manner may be in denial about their drinking habits and believe their problem isn’t severe. High-functioning alcoholics don’t stay high-functioning forever.
Some signs that someone could be a high-functioning alcoholic:
• Drinks in the morning
• Uses alcohol for confidence
• Drinks too much
• Jokes about having an alcohol problem
• Drinks alone
It is important to know your limits. The amount of liquid in your glass is not a good indicator of how much alcohol is in the drink. Beer, wine, and spirits can all have different alcohol content.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines the standard drink as:
• 12 ounces of beer
• 5 ounces of wine
• 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits
If drinking causes you distress or harm, it may be time to seek help from a professional. To find out if someone is at risk for an alcohol use disorder, take this 11-question quiz.
How Can You Help Someone Who Is Struggling?
It can be difficult to confront someone who suffers from alcoholism. Remind them that there is no shame or stigma in seeking help if drinking habits are negatively impacting their life. Recovering from an alcohol use disorder is possible with continued support and dedication.
Resources such as a local Alcoholics Anonymous or Al-Anon chapter can help someone learn more about alcohol abuse and ways to recover.
Sarah is a writer and social media specialist for DrugRehab.com. She is an advocate for mental health and addiction treatment. If you would like to learn more about addiction, treatment options or want to submit a story idea, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. (2017, January) Alcohol Awareness Month. Retrieved from https://www.ncadd.org/about-ncadd/events-awards/alcohol-awareness-month
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2017, February) Alcohol Facts and Statistics. Retrieved from https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/alcoholfacts&stats/AlcoholFacts&Stats.pdf
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (n.d.). What Is A Standard Drink? Retrieved from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/what-standard-drink