National Alcohol Awareness Month
Every April we celebrate Alcohol Awareness Month, an annual observance in the United States to raise awareness about the risks and consequences of alcohol misuse and addiction. The goal of Alcohol Awareness Month is to encourage individuals, families, and communities to educate themselves about the dangers of alcohol misuse, to identify signs of addiction, and to seek help and support for those who may be struggling with alcohol-related problems.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that excessive alcohol use is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in the United States, “shortening the lives of those who die by an average of 26 years."1 According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), in 2021, about 29.5 million people ages 12 and older in the United States had alcohol use disorder (AUD).2 Alcohol misuse can lead to a range of health and social problems, including liver disease, heart disease, cancer, depression, anxiety, and relationship problems. It can also increase the risk of accidents, injuries, and violence.1 Here are some signs that someone may be misusing alcohol:3
- Drinking more than intended: One of the most common signs of alcohol misuse is drinking more than the person intended or having difficulty stopping once they start drinking.
- Loss of control: People who misuse alcohol may find that they have difficulty controlling their drinking or may have frequent episodes of binge drinking.
- Neglecting responsibilities: Individuals who misuse alcohol may start to neglect their responsibilities at work, school, or home.
- Relationship problems: Alcohol misuse can lead to problems in relationships, including conflicts with family members, friends, and coworkers.
- Increased tolerance: Over time, individuals who misuse alcohol may find that they need to drink more to achieve the same effects.
- Withdrawal symptoms: People who misuse alcohol may experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop drinking, such as sweating, shaking, and nausea.
Prevention and early intervention are key to addressing alcohol misuse in the United States. Strategies include increasing public awareness about the risks of alcohol misuse, implementing policies to reduce access to alcohol, and providing education and treatment services for those who may be struggling with AUD. It is important to remember that recovery from AUD is possible with the right support and resources. “Talk. They Hear You” is one of SAMHSA's substance use prevention campaigns. The campaign aims to reduce underage drinking and substance use in youth under the age of 21.4 Information for parents, educators and community members is available to assist in addressing this issue with the adolescents in their lives. By implementing these prevention measures we can promote awareness about the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption and support those who are struggling with addiction.
Excessive Alcohol Use, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, July 11, 2022), https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/factsheets/alcohol.htm.
Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) in the United States, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services), accessed March 29, 2023, https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohols-effects-health/alcohol-topics/alcohol-facts-and-statistics/alcohol-use-disorder-aud-united-states.