April is Alcohol Awareness Month: Let’s not avoid it.
Let’s join together this April to raise awareness about alcohol abuse and take action to prevent it, both at home and in the community.
Alcohol Awareness Month is held every April to help increase public awareness and understanding, reduce stigma and encourage local communities to focus on alcoholism and alcohol-related issues.
Increase public awareness and understanding:
- According to the NCADD, “Alcoholism and addiction affects each and everyone one of us, either directly of indirectly. More than 23 million people, (9.2% of population over the age of 12) have an alcohol or drug problem.”
- “Alcoholism is a mental disease. It has a higher death rate than all the other mental diseases combined. It is a primary, chronic, relapsing brain disease. It has specific symptoms by which a clinician can differentiate it from other diseases.” (Betty Ford Center)
- Alcoholism and drug addiction affects the whole family. One family member addicted to alcohol and drugs means the whole family suffers.
- Various treatments may help. Depending on the circumstances, treatment may involve a brief intervention, individual or group counseling, an outpatient program, or a residential inpatient stay.
According to the Recovery Institute and Peter D. Hart Research Institute, from which this data is reported, “Most people see alcoholism as having elements of both a disease and a moral weakness. Given 100 percent to allocate in any proportion of the two models, fewer than one in four say alcoholism is 100 percent disease, and majorities of nearly every group say it is at least 25 percent due to the moral or personal weakness of the alcoholic.”
Effects of stigma in alcohol and drug addiction:
- Shame and embarrassment, causing people to try to hide the disease,
- Isolation and exclusion,
- Reluctance to seek help which makes recovery slower and more difficult,
- Insurance companies are able to refuse payment for addicts,
- National health services may only offer the cheapest treatment possible, even if it takes longer to see results,
- Even after investing time and money in a once-successful employee, companies may ignore the problem until they have to fire them,
- The families of addicted people are also stigmatized which causes shame, anger and guilt within the family. The stress of this can lead to medical and social problems for spouses and children.
Encourage local communities to focus on alcoholism and alcohol-related issues:
For information on treatment and support in your area, please contact any of the following:
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) toll-free telephone number for alcohol and drug information/treatment referral assistance. Telephone: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s online searchable directory of alcohol and drug abuse programs located around the country.
Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator
GiveForward families who have been personally touched by addiction:
Bambi has made a heroic effort to overcome a history of illness and alcoholism. In the last 2 years she as completely turned her life around and has been sober, strong, and making great choices for herself and her family. She had a rough life that included the loss of her first son, Connor, as an infant as well as having survived some significant health challenges. She staunchly refused to live life as a victim any longer and her transformation has been incredible.
“In the past three years my dad and I have lost our family. My mother, Suzanne, died in 2011 from a complication with prescription medicine. My brother, Zach, died in 2013 of a heroin overdose. My sister, Liza, died on February 25, 2015 of organ failure due to long term drug use.” – Anna Dawson-Pitts
“I’ve tried ‘meetings’ but I’m way too past what they can do for me. I can’t trust myself at all. I need to get away, I need to focus on myself and find the old, beautiful Hayley again.I am an OVERLY functional alcoholic- and I think that’s only the 4th time I’ve said (typed) out loud.”