Author: Ryan Birtcher, PA-C
April is Alcohol Awareness Month, which is a time meant to educate and break through the stigma that surrounds alcoholism.
It’s no question why alcohol sales skyrocketed during the pandemic. Many people were stuck at home, possibly bored, scared, or more stressed out. The stress of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to more drinking, especially binge drinking (which means having 4–5 or more drinks on a single occasion).
A national survey found that Americans’ excessive drinking increased during the pandemic by as much as 21%. According to research published in Hepatology and reported on by the Harvard Gazette, just a one-year increase in this kind of drinking will result in “8,000 additional deaths from alcohol-related liver disease, 18,700 cases of liver failure, and 1,000 cases of liver cancer by 2040.”
The observance aims to bring an understanding of alcohol’s causes and the effective treatments available. The observance is also an opportunity for people to share their experiences with alcoholism, recovery, and offer support to others seeking the same journey.
If you feel you or someone you know may be abusing alcohol:
- Get active: Stay occupied in a productive way, such as exercising, practicing hobbies, or talking with friends and family.
- Assess your habits and symptoms: Check out the online self-assessment tools created by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to help you determine if the drinking is escalating, and causing distress or harm.
- Share your concerns: Have an honest, clear and direct conversation with your loved one. Come from a place of concern and love rather than judgment. Stick to the facts.
- Talk with a medical professional.
About 95,000 Americans die from alcohol-related causes each year. Alcohol makes the use of some medications and other substances more dangerous. Alcohol abuse and misuse can lead to health problems including liver disease, heart disease, stroke, cirrhosis, certain cancers, and hypertension.
Alcohol misuse and disorder is treatable, and there are many options. What works great for one person might not be effective for another. There are many options to explore, and you’re not alone. If you’re concerned about your own or a loved one’s drinking, learn more about addiction treatment and then start a conversation with your primary care provider or a medical professional.
The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.