Alcohol Awareness Month: Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder


Welcome to April, the month when we consider the enormous influence that alcohol may have on our lives. This Alcohol Awareness Month is a perfect time to brush up on your awareness about alcohol, its disorders, and its effects on health and society. Unfortunately, individuals, families, and communities continue to bear the brunt of the consequences of alcoholism.

According to a study by single care, over 14 million U.S. adults have an alcohol use disorder. In addition, CDC reports, “One in six adults binge drinks about four times a month, consuming seven drinks per binge drinking episode, which is 17 billion binge drinks per year or 467 binge drinks per binge drinker.”

A whopping number of 95,000 deaths per year is attributable to alcohol, as excessive alcohol use is the leading risk factor of death in the United States. The primary reason for death is various alcohol-related issues like cancer, heart disease, liver failure, etc.

It becomes essential to educate ourselves about the dangers of alcohol use and the effects of alcohol dependency on our lifestyles as we mark Alcohol Awareness Month. In addition, we must be mindful of the risks associated with binge drinking on public holidays like Cinco de Mayo, New Year’s Eve, Memorial Day, and the Fourth of July, which frequently result in an upsurge in mortality and incidents involving alcohol.

We have created a mini guide for you to combat AUD. The article contains helpful advice and facts on alcoholism, its consequences, and seeking help for addiction.

This article is for anyone interested in learning about alcohol addiction, whether they are dealing with it themselves or know someone who is. Together, let’s spread the word about alcohol addiction, its effects, and how we can support people who are in need.


Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol use disorder is a chronic relapsing brain disease affecting millions in the United States.
An excessive drinking pattern that causes severe impairment or discomfort is known as AUD.
Behavioral, physiological, and emotional signs identify this disorder.
The Mayo Clinic states that signs of this illness include needing more alcohol to have the same
effects or experiencing withdrawal when drinking is abruptly reduced or stopped. A level of
consumption frequently referred to as alcoholism is a component of alcohol use disorder.

Diagnostic Criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder

Diagnosis criteria for AUD are when an individual meets two or more criteria over one year.

  • Drinking more alcohol than you expected to or for a more extended period
  • Enduring a continuous desire or making futile efforts to reduce or decrease alcohol consumption
  • Obtaining, drinking, or healing from the adverse effects of alcohol for a prolonged period
  • A strong desire or impulse to consume alcohol
  • Alcohol consumption continues despite the knowledge that it harms one’s health or mind.
  • Limiting or discontinuing significant social, professional, or leisure activities as a result of alcohol use
  • Acquiring a tolerance or requiring more alcohol to get the intended result
  • Feeling withdrawal effects after cutting back or quitting alcohol use

Signs and Symptoms of AUD


Although the indications and symptoms of AUD can differ significantly among individuals, some typical ones are as follows:

  • Excess alcohol tolerance
  • Having trouble limiting or quitting drinking
  • Pursuing dangerous activities when under the influence
  • Consuming alcohol despite the repercussions
  • Ignoring obligations in one’s personal or professional life
  • Getting agitated, worried, or depressed if you don’t drink
  • Drinking alone or covertly having memory problems or blackouts

Risk factors for AUD

A person’s likelihood of getting an alcohol use disorder increases by various risk factors. While some characteristics are inherent and unavoidable, others get influenced by an individual’s surroundings or habits and are subject to change.

1. Family History and Genetics:
Genetics is a significant factor in the emergence of AUD. According to research, those with a history of substance abuse in their relatives are more inclined to experience the disorder. In addition, it shows that genetic variables may increase a person’s predisposition to alcohol dependency.

2. Early Onset of Drinking:
A person’s chance of acquiring AUD increases with the timing of their first drink. This is because early alcohol intake can impair brain growth and raise the risk of addictive behavior in later stages of life.

3. Gender and sexual orientation:
Even though the gender difference has been closing recently, AUD is more common in men than women. Moreover, racism, environmental stresses, and societal pressures may put those at higher risk of alcohol consumption.

4. Environment and social factors:
These elements can also raise a person’s chance of acquiring AUD. For instance, those who grow up in households or cultures where binge drinking is accepted might be more prone to become heavy drinkers.

5. Trauma and stress:
Traumatic events like physical or sexual abuse can make people more likely to acquire AUD. Similarly, ongoing stress might raise one’s risk of becoming addicted to alcohol.

6. Mental Health Disorders:
Those who suffer from mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), stress, or depression are more prone to develop AUD. It’s due to the possibility that they use alcohol to treat themselves or to deal with their emotions.

By being aware of these risk factors, many can take precautions to lower their chance of getting AUD and, if needed, seek early treatment.


Prevalence of Alcohol Usage Disorder in the US

There are grounds for concern over the prevalence of AUD in the United States, and the statistics reveal a negative trend.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) estimates that in 2020, 10.2% of People aged 12 and older in the United States had alcohol use disorder (AUD). Moreover, the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) discovered that 10.6% of the population 12 and older, or 29.5 million people, had AUD in the previous year. In addition, 12.1% of all males in this age range, or 16.6 million, are males.

24.0% of adults (18 years and older) who reported binge drinking in the past 30 days had decreased by 7.0% between 2019 and 2020. Sadly, 385 Americans die daily due to excessive drinking, and people 35 and older account for 83.9% of these fatalities.

Alcohol abuse can also significantly affect society, leading to higher healthcare expenditures, criminal activity, and lower productivity. Alcoholism can cause several health issues, including liver failure, tumors, and heart disease. According to estimates, excessive alcohol intake accounts for one in ten deaths among working-age adults in the United States (ages 20 to 64).

These figures imply that problematic alcohol consumption is still a problem we face. Therefore, we must raise awareness of addiction and its adverse impacts to safeguard our dear ones and ourselves.


How are National holidays linked with Alcohol?

Many people equate national holidays with festivity and relaxation, which frequently includes indulging in alcoholic beverages. While consuming alcohol is permitted during holiday celebrations, it’s vital to be aware of the risks associated with binge drinking.

Binge drinking is commonly associated with New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day. Generally, people enjoy green beer and whiskey shots on St. Patrick’s Day, while they consume champagne on New Year’s Eve. Although there is nothing fundamentally wrong with having a few drinks over the holidays, it’s vital to be mindful of the risks of binge drinking.

Excessive alcohol use can cause damage to the body in several ways, including dehydration, poor judgment, and a higher chance of mishaps or injuries. These dangers might increase over the holidays as more individuals overindulge in alcohol or act recklessly under the influence.

One way to evaluate the dangers of binge drinking over the holiday is to compare it to driving a vehicle. Being aware and in command while driving a car is crucial since even a brief slip in judgment can result in accidents. Similarly, it’s critical to control your alcohol use and avoid overindulging because doing so might impair judgment and raise your chance of mishaps or illnesses.


Getting Help for Alcohol Addiction

By this point, you already know alcoholism is a devious and devastating disorder that has harmed countless people globally. It ranks as the third most common preventable cause of death in the U.S. Alcoholism is a progressive disorder that only worsens over time. Thus, if you or somebody you love suffers from this illness, you must get help immediately. The good news is that there are many ways to get support, like support groups, therapy, and addiction treatment programs by Augustine Recovery, which has a 75% success rate in helping people beat addiction. Let’s know about these in detail.

1. Support Groups

  • Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) can help form social connections and connect people suffering from similar situations.
  • These groups provide an open and encouraging setting where participants can talk about their issues with alcoholism and express their triumphs and setbacks.
  • Support groups offer emotional assistance, valuable guidance, and coping mechanisms for handling addictions and triggers.


2. Counseling

  • Those who are battling with alcoholism but may not need residential treatment may benefit from counseling.
  • Developing coping mechanisms, recognizing triggers, and addressing the more profound psychological problems that could be causing an individual’s addictions are all things a qualified counselor may help people with.
  • You can get counseling sessions in a group setting, one-on-one, or alongside a friend or a family member.


3. Addiction Treatment Centers

  • Those with more severe alcohol addictions can recover from intense therapy offered by residential rehab programs like Augustine Recovery.
  • These programs frequently combine behavioral counseling, medical detox, and support groups.
  • For people who have suffered from addiction or who might possess a high risk for consequences from alcohol withdrawal, residential programs can be beneficial.
  • Pro tip- Take a self-assessment for alcohol abuse, or contact the admissions staff for a free evaluation.

Why seek help for Alcohol consumption?

Alcoholism is a chronic, developing disease that can harm a person’s mental and physical wellness, interpersonal connections, and general well-being. Although seeking alcohol addiction treatment can be a challenging experience, it’s a crucial step on the road to sobriety and a
healthier life.

It’s crucial to remember that addiction is a medical condition rather than a defect in one’s character or a moral shortcoming. Also, asking for treatment is a sign of courage and inner strength.


Are you ready to break the stigma?

Sadly, addiction and getting treatment for drug usage still carry a lot of taboo. As a result, individuals may find it challenging to get help, resulting in loneliness and humiliation. Removing these obstacles by developing an understanding and compassionate perspective on
addiction therapy is critical.

There’s no reason to feel guilty in seeking help, whether you decide to do it through a support group or counseling, or a residential recovery program. It’s akin to going on a road trip with GPS and a map, but you can get there if you seek instructions and adhere to guidance. In the same way, recovery is too feasible with proper care and commitment.


You are one step closer to better health and well-being

Getting started on the road to alcohol addiction recovery might be stressful, but it’s a crucial step toward taking control of your life and finding true inner healing. You can make a significant change and enjoy the life you deserve by getting professional assistance and following a customized treatment plan. Never forget that asking for help is a brave decision, and making the first move toward recovery is a tremendous gesture of self-care. You can conquer the challenges in your way and come out better, healthier, and happier than you’ve ever been with the appropriate help and direction.

The Augustine Recovery program offers a comprehensive approach to treating alcohol addiction, including detoxification, counseling, and aftercare. We’ve spent years assisting those seeking alcoholism rehabilitation. To assist you as well, our staff members are ready and waiting. Whether you require help for a loved one or yourself, you can rely on our caring professionals and evidence-based therapy approach. Get in touch with Augustine Recovery right away for further details.