Alcohol Awareness Month
April is Alcohol Awareness month, and it’s an issue we take very seriously in our office. We recognize that alcoholic beverages are consumed every day by adults. Many enjoy drinks responsibly with family or friends as part of the social experience, but there are unfortunately many adults who struggle to control their drinking. According to a study from the Center for Disease Control’s Preventing Chronic Disease, abuse due to alcohol dependence was responsible for 1 of every 10 deaths among adults ages 20 – 64 from 2006 to 2010. This study also indicated that 88,000 deaths were caused by alcohol abuse during this time frame, resulting in an average of 30 years lost in potential life.
How Does Alcohol Dependence Develop?
The statistics may surprise you, but 9 out of 10 people who drink excessively are not classified as alcohol dependent or ‘alcoholics.’ The CDC’s study found that 1 of every 3 adults drink excessively, usually happening in the form of binge drinking on multiple occasions. In contrast, 1 of every 30 adults is alcohol dependent. The chance of becoming alcohol dependent increases with the amount of alcohol a person consumes. The CDC’s data cites that approximately 10 percent of binge drinkers are dependent, and 30 percent of those who binge 10 or more times a month end up becoming dependent.
Actual alcohol dependence is a chronic illness, and those suffering from it often have a track record of alcohol abuse, frequently craving alcohol, and continually using it despite problems from their past caused by drinking. An alcohol-dependent person is unable to control his or her consumption of alcoholic beverages.
Chemical Dependency Treatment
Alcohol dependence, like any mental illnesses, is a legitimate medical problem, and treatment should be available to anyone who needs it. Because most people who drink too much aren’t classified as alcohol dependent, it’s been an important focus of communities everywhere to have strategies in place to prevent people from becoming dependent. The old saying is that “the best cure is prevention,” and tactics such as checking and validating driver’s licenses, limiting the number of drinks available to a single patron at restaurants and sporting events, and the availability of counseling free of stigma are all ways of staying on the defensive front in the battle against alcohol dependence.
At the Holiner Psychiatric Group, one of our areas of practice is chemical dependency treatment. We understand the body’s ability to crave alcohol as a coping mechanism, or self “treatment,” for other underlying mental illnesses, and that creates an attraction to use it repetitively even when you know it can harm you. We provide individualized and customized treatments that solve the problem at its core, restoring the mind and body. If you believe you have a problem, contact us today to begin seeing a doctor and receiving the treatment you deserve.