What is alcohol use disorder?
- A chronic disease characterized by uncontrolled drinking and preoccupation with alcohol.
- Symptoms include a strong need or urge to use alcohol. Those with alcohol use disorder may have problems controlling their drinking, continue to use alcohol even when it causes problems, or have withdrawal symptoms when they rapidly decrease or stop drinking.
What can be done to prevent alcohol misuse?
- Parents and guardians play an important role in giving kids a better understanding of the impact that alcohol can have on their lives. Not only are conversations important, but it is equally important for guardians to know the risk and protective factors for adolescent alcohol use and misuse. Check out the free resources on the SAMHSA website for parents. https://www.samhsa.gov/underage-drinking/parent-resources and https://www.samhsa.gov/prevention-week
- It is also important for all adults to understand safe drinking behaviors. NIAAA defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking alcohol that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 percent – or 0.08 grams of alcohol per deciliter – or higher. For a typical adult, this pattern corresponds to consuming 5 or more drinks (male), or 4 or more drinks (female), in about 2 hours. SAMHSA defines heavy alcohol use as binge drinking on 5 or more days in the past month. Knowing U.S. standard drink (or alcoholic drink-equivalent) sizes and the number of drinks per container can help you make informed decisions about your drinking. You’ll be able to: count drinks more accurately, pace yourself better, and stay within low-risk drinking levels. Check out these two websites to better understand your drinking patterns and learn all about standard drinks. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/moderate-binge-drinking https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/Tools/Calculators/drink-size-calculator.aspx
- Alcohol consumption has increased significantly since the onset of the pandemic, most notably from stress, anxiety and isolation. Research has found that binge drinking, especially among women, has increased. Initially, Covid-19 restrictions prevented people from attending counseling and 12-step meetings; however, both are now extremely prevalent via telehealth and online platforms. Most U.S. States deemed liquor stores as “essential businesses” which sent the message to Americans that drinking alcohol is an essential coping mechanism. It is important for people to know how they can relieve stress without alcohol and develop healthy coping strategies such as: going for a walk, reading a book, doing a project around the house, establishing a social support, having a spiritual practice, and developing a healthy routine of adequate sleep, eating nutritious meals and getting exercise. (source: https://www.healthline.com/health-news/more-americans-are-binge-drinking-during-pandemic-how-to-cope-without-alcohol)
If you or a loved one has alcohol use disorder, treatment is essential.
- Treatment involves counseling, such as behavioral therapy, and medications that reduce the desire to drink. Some people need medical detoxification to stop drinking safely. Mutual support groups help people stop drinking, manage relapses and cope with necessary lifestyle changes.
- To learn about best practices in substance use treatment, visit https://www.shatterproof.org/find-help/types-of-addiction-treatment
- Georgia HOPE can help and we provide HIPPA compliant online therapy. Visit our website at www.gahope.org to learn more and make a referral
HOPE is Here
If you’re struggling with alcohol use disorders or would like to refer someone you know, we’d love to speak to you further. HOPE is here. Contact us today.