Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that works by slowing down vital functions in one’s body. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism explains that “alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain looks and works.” Habitual abuse of alcohol exponentially increases one’s risk for developing alcohol addiction. Alcohol addiction, also known as alcohol use disorder (AUD) or alcoholism, is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic brain disorder. Significantly reducing one’s alcohol intake or abstaining from alcohol use entirely may prevent alcohol addiction. Harvard Medical School illuminates a variety of ways to help control your alcohol intake or stop drinking altogether, some of which include:
- Write it down: make a list of the reasons to reduce your drinking (e.g., feeling healthier, sleeping better, improving your relationships, etc.).
- Establish your drinking goal: set a limit on how much you will drink.
- Journal: for three to four weeks track and document every time you have a drink to make sure it aligns with your drinking goal.
- Don’t tempt yourself: removing the alcohol from your house can help limit your drinking.
- Select alcohol-free days: pick one or two days each week to abstain from drinking and be mindful of how you feel physically and emotionally without alcohol in your system on those days.
- Say no: avoid succumbing to peer pressure.
- Self-care: stay busy and integrate self-care practices into your daily routine (e.g., exercise, eat nutritiously, meditate, read a book, watch TV, paint, etc.).
- Lean on loved ones: cutting down on your drinking can be difficult, and the support of family and friends can help make it a bit easier.
Alcohol Awareness Month is a national public health awareness campaign that began in 1987 to combat alcohol addiction on a macro level. It takes place every April and is sponsored by the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD). As part of Alcohol Awareness Month, the NCADD says local, state, and national events will be “aimed at educating people about the treatment and prevention of alcoholism, particularly among our youth, and the important role that parents can play in giving kids a better understanding of the impact that alcohol can have on their lives.” Dedicating this month-long campaign each year is essential to reduce stigma and encourage local communities to focus on alcoholism and alcohol-related issues. An estimated 95,000 Americans die from alcohol-related causes each year. Alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
For Information and Support
If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.
Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-258-6792. You are also welcomed to contact anytime us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.