April is Alcohol Awareness Month 2022
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It’s Alcohol Awareness Month, and the best way to raise awareness is to educate yourself about alcoholism and its role in your life and the life of your loved one. There are no single causes of alcoholism, and there are several signs alluding to the fact that someone has a problem.
You’ve come to the right place if you wish to educate yourself. Find out the information you need to learn during Alcohol Awareness Month 2022 by reading our guide below.
Types of Drinking Patterns
People who suffer from an alcohol use disorder suffer from specific drinking patterns. Each pattern is different and has its own set of characteristics.
To better help your loved one, you need to know the different drinking patterns.
Binge drinking is when someone decides to consume more than the standard amount of drinkings within a reduced number of hours. Binge drinkers don’t have to drink every day, but they do so in excess when they decide to drink.
People who fall within the binge drinking category find themselves suffering from several health conditions, including:
- Liver disease
- Increased risk of alcohol poisoning
- Heart disease
- Cancer in various parts of the body
Even if a person binge drinks, it’s still a key indicator that they might have an issue with alcoholism. While it still might not be defined as a problem, chances are it’s close to evolving into one.
The best example of binge drinking is college students. They spend their time during the week attending classes and participating in various social activities. However, they spend their time partying and drinking when the weekends come.
Because it’s the only time they drink, they consume a more considerable amount of alcohol than they’d typically would, which is binge drinking.
It’s not uncommon for people that have issues with alcohol to find themselves drinking to cope with their emotions. This is known as stress drinking.
Instead of confronting their emotions head-on, they run from them and use alcohol as a method of covering it up. 77% of people state they experience physical and mental side effects that stem from extreme stress.
Although a significant number of people can manage their stress, this isn’t the case for everyone. Using alcohol to run from life’s stressors and escape reality isn’t a problem.
While it might start as having drinks during stressful occasions, it increases the chances that you’ll develop an alcohol problem in the future.
When people turn 21, it not only means more adult responsibilities, it means you’re legally able to drink. For some people drinking during social occasions is the only time they pick up alcohol.
This doesn’t mean it can’t become problematic. It might not seem bad because you’re hanging out with friends who are doing the same thing you are.
The problem begins to show when you search for reasons to go out or participate in social occasions. It’s okay to have a drink every once in a while, but you may have a problem if you have to have a drink in your hand during a social event.
Drinking multiple times throughout the week begins to add up and increases the adverse effects you experience.
You never know what someone has gone through; there are several types of trauma they might have experienced in their lifetime. Experiencing trauma can have lasting effects, especially if a person doesn’t take the time to get the help they need to move forward from this trauma.
To avoid the pain caused by the trauma, they might begin self-medicating by drinking large quantities of alcohol. Another reason people self-medicate is if they have a diagnosed mental health issue.
Most people report that consuming typical medications makes them feel like they’re a zombie or numb to everything going on around them. Because they don’t wish to continue feeling numb, they decide that self-medicating is a better alternative.
Trauma and mental health aren’t the only things that influence people to self-medicate. They might not have been realized in an environment where they were taught the skills they need to cope with things like death or heartbreak.
Therefore their idea of coping with these life events is to consume alcohol.
What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism can affect people from different cultures, no matter their age or sex. It also doesn’t affect people that come from a specific socioeconomic background.
Alcoholism can have different severity levels and symptoms that serve as signs that someone is dealing with alcohol addiction. As you’ve learned above, some people drink during specific times while others only participate in drinking during social engagements.
It doesn’t matter what form of drinking someone has taken on; the bottom line is that they will need help to stop. Before we talk about ways to help a loved one get help for their alcohol addiction, here are some of the signs and symptoms that someone has an alcohol addiction.
Problems Managing Emotions & Decision Making
As previously mentioned, the consumption of alcohol leads to a decrease in cognitive ability. Cognitive thinking allows you to make decisions that keep you and others around you safe.
A sign that someone is struggling with alcohol is the inability to make sound decisions and control their emotions. They might experience severe mood swings finding themselves happy one moment and the next depressed.
Alcohol can also make it easier for people to perceive a situation wrong. For example, if you’re with a group of friends and everyone is laughing, it’s easy to assume they’re laughing at you because alcohol makes it challenging for a person to see the situation as it really is.
Increased Legal Problems
Another sign a person is struggling with alcoholism is increased legal problems. When you make bad decisions, you’ve got to face the consequences of those decisions.
An estimated 20,160 people died in 2021 alone after being hit by a drunk driver. If you’re caught driving while under the influence, not only are you going to face a DUI charge, but you could also face other charges that include vehicular homicide.
After being arrested, you’ll land in court, where a judge will decide if you should spend time behind bars, pay a fine, and in some cases, you could have your license revoked.
Loss of a Job
As adults, it’s essential that you do what it takes to care for yourself and your family. You’ve got to wake up every day and go to work to make money.
However, when you’re experiencing alcohol addiction, the last thing on your mind is working. In the beginning, you might find it manageable to go to work while under the influence, but over time it will begin to affect the quality of your work.
Employers reserve the right to fire employees they suspect of coming to work while under the influence. This is something that was written into your employment contract because when you’re under the influence, you can put yourself and others that you work with in jeopardy.
If you get injured while at work, the first thing they do is perform a drug and alcohol test kit. After the test is performed, your employer has a few options if it comes back positive.
They can choose to allow you to seek help and welcome you back to your position under certain conditions, or they could terminate your employment.
Changes in Social Groups
The change in your social groups is the next sign you might notice as you or someone you’re close to becomes more dependent on alcohol. These changes occur because people want to hang out with people who share their same hobbies.
For these reasons, you might hang around with people who drink as much as you do. When you’re with these people, you don’t have to fear being judged for your drinking choices or how often you decide to drink.
Avoiding Close Family & Friends
Family and friends know you the best. Therefore, they’ll understand when something in your life changes, including noticing an increase in your drinking habits. As alcohol becomes a more prominent presence in your life or the life of your loved one, you’ll do what it takes to stay away from your family and friends to hide your drinking from them.
Another reason people stay away from family is that they don’t want to face the judgment of having bad habits like drinking.
How to Help When You Suspect There's a Problem?
Raising drinking awareness begins with educating yourself about alcoholism and the problems that come with it. Still, it’s also about understanding how to help your loved one get the treatment they need.
Letting someone know you’re there when they need you can prove to be more powerful than you might’ve imagined.
Here are some ways you can help a person that has alcohol problems.
For family members of someone with an alcohol addiction, there could be a cycle of codependency that you’re not aware of. If this is the case for your family, the best way to begin helping and supporting someone looking for help is by getting help for yourself.
When you seek treatment for yourself, you’ll learn to set healthy boundaries to protect yourself and your loved one. You’ll also learn the different signs that you’re falling back into codependent ways and how to keep this from happening.
As you get the help you need, you might find there are times when removing yourself entirely from the situation is the only way to get your loved one the help they truly need.
Recovery is a long road for a person that wants to stay sober. Every day, it takes hard work to ensure they’re on the right path and practicing healthy habits that set them up to continue thriving in the future.
There are several ways to offer support, with one of the first being to refrain from drinking in front of them. If someone is struggling with drinking alcohol, you don’t want to set them up to fail.
Therefore you don’t have alcohol in their presence when they’re around or drink while they’re visiting you, even if it’s during a social engagement. Another way to support your loved one is by saying no.
They might ask you for a place to stay or money to fund their habit, and you’ve got to say no. No one wants to think about their loved one being out on the street, but if you don’t allow them to hit rock bottom, they’ll never get the message that the way they’re living their life isn’t okay.
Instead, they’ll call you whenever they need a backup plan to help them.
Get Help From Professionals
It’s not recommended for people to stop drinking cold turkey because it can be life-threatening. Another way to offer support is by seeking help from a professional treatment center.
These centers are equipped with staff that have been trained in addiction treatment. Professionals will also understand the steps that need to be taken before someone can begin working on their sobriety plan.
Celebrating Alcohol Awareness Month by Educating Yourself & Others
Alcohol Awareness Month is upon us, and if you have someone in your life dealing with alcoholism, this guide is precisely what you need. We’ve detailed the signs and symptoms of alcoholism and how you can show your loved one support.
Are you trying to find a facility that has the expertise to help your loved one kick alcohol addiction for good?
Contact No Matter What Recovery because we don’t stop extending the helping hand people need regardless of their circumstances.