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April is Alcohol Awareness Month; Here's What You Need to Know

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, which is sponsored by the National Council for Alcohol and Drug Dependence (NCADD). Alcohol use affects individuals, families, businesses, and communities. According to the NCADD, "alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States, with 17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffering from alcohol abuse or dependence along with several million more who engage in risky, binge drinking patterns that could lead to alcohol problems." Below are some facts you might want to know about alcohol:

  • 88,000 deaths are annually attributed to excessive alcohol use

  • Alcoholism is the 3rd leading lifestyle-related cause of death in the nation

  • Alcoholism has little to do with what kind of alcohol one drinks, how long one has been drinking, or even exactly how much alcohol one consumes; it has a great deal to do with a person's uncontrollable need for alcohol

  • Excessive alcohol use can lead to numerous health and social issues, including, but not limited to dementia, stroke, neuropathy, heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, violence, traffic accidents, unemployment, fatty liver, ulcers, sexual problems, and increased risk of many kinds of cancer

  • Recovery from alcoholism is possible, especially with support and treatment


Drinking alcohol is common, so it can be difficult to identify if there is a problem with it. Addictions are likely to worsen over time, so it's important to be aware of early warning signs in order to avoid major consequences. Warning signs may include:

  • Increased quantity or frequency of use

  • High tolerance for alcohol, or lack of “hangover” symptoms

  • Drinking at inappropriate times, such as first thing in the morning, or in places like church or work

  • Want to be where alcohol is present and avoid situations where there is none

  • Changes in friendships; someone with an alcohol addiction may choose friends who also drink heavily

  • Avoiding contact with loved ones

  • Hiding alcohol, or hiding while drinking

  • Dependence on alcohol to function in everyday life

  • Increased lethargy, depression, or other emotional issues

  • Legal or professional problems such as an arrest or loss of a job

Again, recovery from alcohol addiction is possible! Especially with support and treatment. Below are some things to consider regarding recovery:

  • A person must want to be sober and commit to the lifelong process of recovery and daily care

  • A person may attend a rehabilitation program and/or utilize support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

  • Medical treatment may involve medication therapy, e.g. for depression or anxiety

  • Counseling/therapy is helpful to teach coping skills for relapse prevention and the stress of recovery

  • Nutritionally, a healthy diet can be powerful in helping to undo some of the damage done by excessive alcohol use

If you suspect that someone you know has a drinking problem, it's best to approach them about it in a helpful, supportive way, as doing so in an accusatory, shaming way may make them more resistant to your support and to seeking help. For more information and resources, visit the NCADD's website:


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