The Sobering Truth: Raising Awareness about Alcohol’s Impact
Apr 17, 2023
Facing the facts about Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a chronic and progressive disease that affects millions of people worldwide. To appreciate the scope of AUD, consider that
- Alcohol kills on average over three million people a year globally, comprising 6% of all deaths[i]
- Over 141,000 Americans die every year from alcohol-related effects[ii]
- 10% of all Americans over the age of 12 suffer from AUD[iii]
- Every day 385 Americans on average die from alcohol[iv]
- Alcohol accounts for 10% of all deaths among Americans between the ages of 15-49[v]
As striking as these statistics are, perhaps the most alarming trend of all is the unprecedented increase in alcohol abuse, problem drinking and alcohol dependence brought about during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, alcohol-related deaths skyrocketed by 25% compared to 2019. To put this staggering spike in alcohol misuse in perspective, the average annual increase in alcohol-related deaths in the decades between 1999 and 2019 was 3.6%, and in only one year between 2018 and 2019, it increased to 5%.[vi]
Faced with the prevalence of alcohol addiction, it is crucial to recognize the impact that alcohol abuse can have on individuals, families and communities. Let us take this opportunity then to increase awareness about alcoholism, to reduce the stigma surrounding the disease and to encourage those who are struggling to seek help.
Recognizing the patterns of problem drinking
AUD and alcohol misuse generally affect people from all walks of life. It is characterized by a compulsion to drink alcohol, despite the negative consequences that it may have on a person’s health, relationships and overall well-being. AUD is a complex disease that results from a combination of genetic, environmental and behavioral factors. It is a disease that can be difficult to overcome, but with the right support and treatment, recovery is possible.
Confronting the stigma of alcoholism
One of the most significant challenges in addressing AUD is the stigma that surrounds it. Many people still view it as a moral failing, rather than as a disease that requires treatment. This stigma can prevent individuals from seeking the help they need, as they may be alternately be in denial or feel ashamed and embarrassed about their struggles with alcohol. We must remember that AUD is not a choice, a lack of willpower or a moral failing, but rather a disease that requires medical treatment. It is vital to approach the issue with compassion and understanding, recognizing that those struggling with AUD need our support and encouragement.
Finding the right alcohol addiction treatment option
If you or someone you love is struggling with alcoholism, there are resources available to help. Alcoholics Anonymous, for example, is a support group that offers a twelve-step program to help individuals overcome their addiction to alcohol. There are also a variety of treatment options available, including detox, inpatient and outpatient programs, counseling and medication-assisted treatment.
One of the most effective treatments for AUD is medication-assisted treatment (MAT). The medications used in MAT help to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, making it easier for people to stop using alcohol. At the same time, behavioral health therapy helps people learn coping strategies and develop new habits to support their sobriety.
Despite its effectiveness, MAT is often misunderstood and stigmatized. Some believe that it is just trading one addiction for another, but this is not the case. The medications used in MAT are carefully prescribed and monitored by medical professionals, and they do not produce the same euphoric effects as alcohol. Instead, they help to stabilize brain chemistry and reduce the risk of relapse.
No matter how severe a person’s struggles with Alcohol Use Disorder may be, there is hope for a better future. By increasing awareness, reducing stigma, and offering support and resources to those who need it, we can help individuals overcome their addiction and reclaim their lives.
At CleanSlate, we provide a safe and non-judgmental space for individuals who may be struggling with AUD, offering tailored solutions and resources to help them regain control of their lives. You don’t have to face this challenge alone – our team of experienced professionals is here to assist you on your journey to a freer, healthier life. Take the first step towards a brighter future by reaching out to us today (833) 505-4673.