Alcohol is everywhere in today’s culture. But many Americans struggle when it comes to their relationship with alcohol. April is National Alcohol Awareness Month, an important health holiday. Here is what you need to know about alcohol use disorder (AUD), the signs of alcoholism, and how to get help.
What Is Alcohol Use Disorder?
When you see an alcohol advertisement, what comes to mind? Some people may think nothing of it. Others may feel a strong urge to drink or worry about their own alcohol abuse. If alcohol use seems to cause you distress or harm, you may have an alcohol use disorder (AUD). Some people with AUD find that alcohol controls their emotions. Others may avoid situations with alcohol because they know they will not be able to stop drinking once they start. Alcohol use disorder can harm both your health and your relationships. The first step to treating an alcohol use disorder is recognizing it in your own life.
What Is National Alcohol Awareness Month?
National Alcohol Awareness Month happens every April in the United States. This month draws attention to the problem of alcohol abuse. This health condition affects millions of Americans. Alcohol Awareness Month helps provide support and resources. This is important if you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol use disorder. One important aspect of Alcohol Awareness Month is the practice of an alcohol-free period. During this month, you can choose a period of time (like a long weekend, for example) to stop drinking alcohol. After being dry for three or more days, you can judge how the absence of alcohol affects your body. If you have withdrawal symptoms, it may mean that you have a dependence on alcohol. Alcohol dependence is one of the signs of AUD.
The Signs of Alcoholism
The signs of alcoholism may be obvious. If you black out every time you drink alcohol, you may already realize that you have a drinking problem. However, sometimes the signs of alcoholism are not as obvious. If the people around you drink a lot, you may not see your drinking as problematic or dangerous to your health. But knowing the signs of alcoholism can help you stay safe.
You may have alcohol use disorder if you have experienced any of the following signs:
- Alcohol cravings.
- An urge to quit drinking.
- Guilt about drinking.
- Drinking in the morning upon waking.
- Drinking to help prevent withdrawal symptoms.
- Needing to drink more alcohol to have the same effect.
- Drinking more alcohol than you planned.
- Thinking about alcohol a lot.
You may also have alcohol use disorder if you feel certain symptoms once you stop drinking. These include sweating, shaking, problems sleeping, or feeling irritable. These are signs of alcohol withdrawal.
How to Get Help
Alcohol use disorder can take a large toll on your quality of life and your health. But many resources are available to help. To start, call the National Helpline at 1-800-622-HELP (4357). The National Helpline is from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and is free and confidential.
If you worry you may have an alcohol use disorder, don’t suffer alone. Contact us today, so that we may connect you with the resources you need for help.