During the month of April, we recognize one of our nation’s top public health problems: alcoholism. Alcohol Awareness Month is dedicated to increase the awareness and understanding of both the causes and treatments for alcohol use disorders. It also provides education on the short-and-long-term effects of someone not getting the help they need.
Drinking too much can harm your health in more ways than one. Excessive drinking can cause short-term health risks such as injuries (car accidents, falls, drownings and burns), plus increased violence, risky sexual behaviors, alcohol poisoning and/or miscarriage, stillbirth or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders in pregnant women.
Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of long-term health issues like high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and liver disease plus cancer, weakening of the immune system, mental health problems and alcohol use disorders.
While some harmful drinking behaviors can be easy to spot, others may not be as simple. Drinking is a problem if it causes trouble in your relationships, school, social activities and/or how you think and feel. If you are concerned that either you or someone you know may have a problem, consult a trusted elder, spiritual leader, family member or healthcare professional.
Treatment options for alcohol abuse range from traditional to cultural approaches. Tribal and spiritual interventions, along with music, art and wilderness therapy are great ways to reconnect with the community and others who may be struggling and need support.
Anyone can participate in Alcohol Awareness Month initiatives. The effects of alcohol and alcohol use disorders reach everyone. We can all take a step towards recognizing the problem and finding the resources to fight it.
Stay updated this week as we provide additional information on “how much is too much” Tuesday, how alcohol affects the body on Wednesday and an overall study of who participated in these interactives on Friday.