It’s Not Inevitable: Four Reasons You Should Pay More Attention to Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol may be one of the most commonly abused drugs in the world, and Alcohol Awareness Month is the perfect time to delve into the nitty-gritty of alcohol abuse and the way it impacts our communities. Here are four reasons you should pay more attention to alcohol abuse among the people in your life.
- It’s not harmless. Many find ways to downplay their alcohol abuse because alcohol is not perceived to be dangerous in the same way cocaine and heroin are. Alcohol abuse can begin early when binge drinking behaviors are more socially acceptable, if not encouraged by peer groups. But as people mature and their drinking habits fail to slow down to healthier rates, incredible damage can be done. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reports that nearly six percent of all deaths worldwide are due to alcohol-related causes.
- Alcohol abuse can affect anyone. Alcohol dependence and misuse can be found across demographic categories including race, age, income and education. You’d think this prevalence would put us all on high alert, but the result seems to be the opposite; alcohol abuse is so common that to some degree it has been normalized. If you are concerned that someone you know may be abusing alcohol, talk to them and let them know that you care.
- Children learn by example. When it comes to children, what you do is more important than what you say. One of the best ways to ensure your child grows up with healthy attitudes towards drinking and alcohol use is by modeling these behaviors yourself. However, the NIAAA reports that one in ten children lives in a household with at least one parent who abuses alcohol. Parents’ own reasons for substance abuse are usually nuanced and challenging to overcome. However, setting an example of substance abuse for children sets them up for their own challenges in the future. If you need help, seek it for your children’s sake.
- Alcoholism is avoidable. The most heart breaking element of alcohol abuse is that it is completely preventable. Ultimately, utilizing alcohol to meet a physical or emotional need will only result in a greater need for treatment later on. Drinking until you pass out may mean that you get to put off thinking about a traumatic memory or the bills until tomorrow, but all of those problems will still be there when you come to, hung over, a few hours later. If you use alcohol to avoid something else, find help for those underlying problems immediately. No matter how you feel, abusing alcohol isn’t doing you any favors.
Alcohol abuse can happen to anyone with devastating effects. But alcohol dependence is not inevitable or impossible to treat. This Alcohol Awareness Month, don’t be afraid to talk with someone you love about how and why they abuse alcohol; you could save a life.