According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), nearly one quarter of Americans over the age of 18 reported binge drinking in the last month. That’s more than 60 million people. However, only 2.5 million Americans get treatment each year for alcohol abuse. And, while it’s true that a monthly episode of binge drinking doesn’t equate with alcohol addiction or alcoholism, these statistics indicate that there are likely tens of millions of alcoholics in the U.S. each year that never get the treatment they so desperately need.
It’s one thing to discuss the importance of alcohol awareness and to participate in related educational activities, but it’s another to take strong, decisive, and personal action against alcoholism. NCADD has given people a chance to action by promoting this year’s Alcohol Free Weekend, a 48 hour period in which Americans of all ages can set an example by abstaining from alcoholic beverages.
One of the main reasons that so many Americans go without alcohol addiction treatment may be fact that alcohol is legal. Covering up alcohol abuse is relatively easy as long as the individual continues to meet major social, professional, and educational obligations. However, just because an they can meet major life responsibilities, doesn’t mean they aren’t causing suffering for themselves and those around them. They could also be causing potentially permanent damage to their mental, physical, and emotional health.
The incredibly large gap between the amount of people who get alcoholism treatment and the amount of people that need it seems to only be growing, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take steps to try and change this. One of those steps involves participating in Alcohol Awareness Month, a month where organizations including schools, corporations, government agencies and religious organizations come together to raise money and increase awareness to help bring better treatment options to alcoholics throughout the U.S.
Even if you just have a few drinks every other weekend, consuming alcohol can have some seriously negative side effects. Giving your body a break can help you be more productive while improving your mental, physical, and emotional health.
Cutting out alcohol for 48+ hours may be able to prevent alcohol side effects including:
- Fatigue and lack of energy
- Insomnia, poor quality of sleep
- Difficulty concentrating and focusing
- Reduced performance at work
- Increased symptoms of concurrent disorders like anxiety and depression
If the thought of not being able to drink for 48 hours already gives you anxiety or you know that you won’t feel good if you go that long without drinking, you may be addicted to alcohol and should seek help immediately. The same goes for family, friends, and others who you think may have a problem with drinking. For example, if a friend agrees to try Alcohol Free Weekend and later realizes they can’t go 2 days without drinking, you should speak with them to voice your concerns and to help them get the treatment they need to heal from their addiction.
For many people, Alcohol Free Weekend might be a powerful wake up call. Even if an individual does not experience the brutal physical affects of alcohol withdrawal, such as tremors, headaches, and nausea, they still may have a drinking problem. In many cases, a strong psychological addiction directly precedes a physical addiction to alcohol in certain patients. So, if a patient experiences anxiety, depression, and mood swings without alcohol, they still likely need professional help.
The challenges posed by alcohol addiction and alcoholism are incredible, and that’s why getting high-quality, individualized treatment is the best way to ensure a successful recovery. If you or someone you love is suffering from the disease of alcoholism, Get Treatment’s network of top-rated and accredited alcohol treatment centers can help. Each treatment plan combines a variety of traditional and holistic therapies to help patients through every stage of the recovery process. If you are in need of an alcohol detox, and inpatient or intensive outpatient alcohol rehab programs, we can help.