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Typically, April is Alcohol Awareness Month. Alcohol awareness is something many people in the recovery industry, and those offering addiction services, almost automatically seek to increase awareness about in April.
Alcohol Awareness Month originated in 1987 and was founded by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, later renamed Facing Addiction with NCADD. The goal of this national grassroots movement was to create awareness and education for the public about the dangers of alcohol, as well as what alcohol use disorder is, its causes and effects, and effective treatment for it. It also aimed to help reduce the stigma and provide information about recovery.
Even though Facing Addiction is no more, we decided to keep the tradition of Alcohol Awareness Month going and create an awareness blog about alcohol, specifically alcohol use disorder, the signs and symptoms someone might have a problem with alcohol, what a normal size drink is, and how to get help if you or a loved one is showing signs of having a problem with alcohol.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an estimated 20.3 million Americans struggle with a drug or alcohol problem.
A recent editorial in the American Psychological Association indicated that:
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), an estimated 88,0000 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
What is most challenging about substance use disorders is that 95 percent of people do not see their substance use as problematic, and for those who do, only one out of nine people actually get the care they need (SAMHSA, 2019).
How do you know if you — or your loved one — has a drinking problem? If you’re unsure, you may first want to consider the standard recommendations when it comes to drinking. If a person is consuming more than these recommended drinking limits, then you may want to consider the assessment tools we’ve identified.
NIAAA recommends that low-risk drinking is drinking no more than 7 drinks per week for women, and 14 for men.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture, alcohol should be consumed in moderation, which they define as one drink per day for women and two for men, and that those drinks are consumed in conjunction with healthy eating patterns.
A standard drink isn’t necessarily the size of the container that you buy it in. For example, some measures of wine poured in a bar exceed the amount that is classed as a standard drink. If you’re unsure, check the label.
Source: Rethinking Drinking (NIAAA)
Given that many social situations and engagements revolve around consuming one or more drinks, it can mean that you exceed the normal limits quickly. But just when does it become a problem?
There are a number of online assessments that can help you determine if you or a loved one has developed a problem with alcohol. That problem could be defined as “binge drinking” or even meet a diagnosis of alcohol use disorder.
According to NIAAA and SAMHSA, binge drinking is a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration to a certain level (0.08 g/dL), or when women have consumed four drinks, and men five, within a two-hour timeframe. SAMHSA defines heavy alcohol use as binge drinking on five or more days within the last month.
Drinking beyond these limits and experiencing a number of other effects or consequences may mean a person has developed alcohol use disorder.
To be diagnosed with alcohol use disorder, you must meet at least two criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) within the last 12 months, as follows:
Alcohol use disorder is categorized as mild, moderate, or severe, depending upon how many of the criteria are met. A mental health professional is best placed to make this diagnosis.
While many people have a dependence on a specific drug, like alcohol, some use more than one substance. For example: alcohol and cocaine, Adderall and alcohol, marijuana and alcohol, Oxycodone and alcohol.
Similar to alcohol use disorder, to be diagnosed with polysubstance dependence, a person would need to have used more than one substance over the course of 12 months and experience many of the factors identified in the DSM (as indicated above).
Given the severity of alcohol use disorder, if you think that you, or your loved one, has developed a problem with alcohol, this should not go untreated.
Detox is a crucial first step in most people’s recovery journey. Detoxifying from addictive substances presents a number of potentially fatal medical risks, psychological challenges, and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. That’s why recovery can be challenging to achieve alone and often necessitates detox interventions.
“For alcohol, sedative-hypnotic, and opioid withdrawal syndromes, hospitalization or some form of 24-hour medical care is generally the preferred setting for detoxification, based upon principles of safety and humanitarian concerns.”
—SAMHSA Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment Improvement Protocol, TIP 45
However, not all detox options are the same. Many medical detox centers use outdated protocols and oral medications within the confines of psychiatric facilities, leaving patients feeling dehumanized while they stay in a sterile and cold environment.
Gallus Medical Detox provides the comfort of a residential facility, but with clinical expertise that is far superior to most detox facilities. We offer safe, effective, and personalized treatment. We are so proud of our proprietary method that we named it The Gallus Method.
The key features of Gallus Medical Detox include:
Gallus Medical Detox offers the following detox services at all of our centers:
We also have the expertise to treat patients with acute substance use disorders, polysubstance use disorders, and co-occurring mental health or chronic physical conditions.
Our programs are designed to effect lasting change. Before leaving, you will work with a psychologist who will conduct a biopsychosocial evaluation that helps to identify the next steps in your recovery journey. We want to ensure your success in long-term recovery.
Gallus Medical Detox Centers are accredited by the Joint Commission, the nation’s largest standards-setting and accreditation body in healthcare, reflecting our clinical excellence. We are also a level III, medically monitored inpatient detoxification center, as outlined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).
Our patients are the best judges of the quality of our care. Here is what they have to say:
Call us today to take the best first step toward recovery: 888 306 3122
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