April is Alcohol AWARE-ness Month!

April is Alcohol AWARE-ness Month!

April is Alcohol AWARE-ness Month!

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By Sarah Allen Benton, MS, LMHC, LPC, AADC

We have all likely heard of National Alcohol Awareness Month, but how and when did it begin?
It was founded in 1987 by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD). Marty Mann founded the NCADD to help people like herself get counseled and treated for alcoholism and dedicated this group to key medical and scientific research for the community. Marty was one of the early members of Alcoholics Anonymous and the first woman to have successfully gone through a 12-Step group. NCADD marked April to bring about a nationwide change by using communication tools to cultivate awareness about problem drinking.
So how can we all utilize and honor this month in a meaningful way? Alcohol is part of the fabric of our culture and this month could be a time to examine our relationship to alcohol. We all have a relationship with alcohol- whether it is that we don’t drink it, fear it due to a loved one’s alcohol problem, drink it socially, drink it heavily, don’t drink it for health reasons, etc.
Alcohol use rates increased exponentially during the pandemic and it is possible that one’s relationship to alcohol started out one way before and ended up differently post-pandemic. There have been so many different stressors and life changes that may have impacted drinking patterns. These changes may occur slowly and subtly, but are important to take an objective look at as well as to take seriously. Alcohol Use Disorders can indicate the line that is crossed in drinking consumption that prevents individuals from returning to low risk drinking patterns.
The following are common symptoms of a potential Alcohol Use Disorder:
Being unable to limit the amount of alcohol you drink
Wanting to cut down on how much you drink or making unsuccessful attempts to do so
Spending a lot of time drinking, getting alcohol or recovering from alcohol use
Feeling a strong craving or urge to drink alcohol
Failing to fulfill major obligations at work, school or home due to repeated alcohol use
Continuing to drink alcohol even though you know it’s causing physical, social or interpersonal problems
Giving up or reducing social and work activities and hobbies
Using alcohol in situations where it’s not safe, such as when driving or swimming
Developing a tolerance to alcohol so you need more to feel its effect or you have a reduced effect from the same amount
Experiencing withdrawal symptoms — such as nausea, sweating and shaking — when you don’t drink, or drinking to avoid these symptoms
If you are questioning your drinking habits and are unsure if you have a problem, the NIAAA Rethinking Drinking website can provide a quick assessment. https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/
The Alcohol use screening questionnaire is an evidence-based screening tool that can be self-administered can let you know if you may need support: https://www.sbirt.care/pdfs/tools/AUDIT.PDF
If you are struggling with Alcohol Use Disorder, the In-Home Addiction Treatment (IHAT) model could be an option for both you and your family. This innovative and quickly expanding model of care is easily accessible, comprehensive and convenient. If you are a healthcare professional and are looking for a change in your career and to work with a different way to deliver addiction treatment, then the IHAT Institute can offer a training certification. These trainings are currently offered for those working with the IHAT model in CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VI, FL, IN and as of April 18th in OH!

 

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