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Topical information about addiction and recovery brought to you by Whiteside Manor in Riverside, California…
Alcohol use, alcoholism, and alcohol use disorder (AUD) treatment and recovery are on people’s minds throughout April as Americans observe Alcohol Awareness Month. Sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), the expressed goal during this time of the year is to help reduce the stigma associated with addiction.
Since alcohol is a legal substance, it is easy to forget the dangers of alcohol use, especially for young people. The fact that beer, wine, and liquor is for sale in most bodegas, gas stations and grocery stores gives the impression that drinking is relatively harmless. Kids see their parents drink but rarely associate any consequences with the behavior; so, they convince themselves that they too can consume alcohol without experiencing problems.
In most cases, teenage drinking doesn’t develop into a condition down the road. What’s more, it’s possible that many young people could escape some of the heartaches of alcohol use if they got the facts early on. Education is a mighty powerful tool when it comes to preventing people from making choices that could irrevocably disrupt the course of one’s life. It is also vital that individuals feel able to discuss their struggles with alcohol without fear of stigma. If a person can’t talk about their addiction, recovery becomes an impossibility.
Alcohol Facts: Did You Know?
- Excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year.
- Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States.
- More than 1.6 million young people report driving under the influence of alcohol in the past year
- Young people who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21.
- Drinking by persons under the age of 21 is linked to 189,000 emergency room visits.
- The typical American will see 100,000 beer commercials before he or she turns 18.
- Kids who drink are more likely to be victims of violent crime, to be involved in alcohol-related traffic crashes, and to have serious school-related problems.
- A supportive family environment is associated with lowered rates of alcohol use for adolescents.
- Kids who have conversations with their parents and learn a lot about the dangers of alcohol and drug use are 50 percent less likely to use alcohol and drugs than those who don’t have such conversations.
Parents Can Help Their Kids Help Themselves
Information about the short and long-term effects of alcohol use might dissuade or delay initiation. It doesn’t do any good to have illusions about alcohol; most people drink at some point in their life; and, in the majority of cases, they do so as responsibly as possible. However, young people often lack the skills to make right decisions, and alcohol makes them even more likely to put their lives at risk, i.e., binge drinking and driving under the influence. Those who binge drink as a teenager are likely to continue into adulthood; the practice, over a period, can lead to dependence and alcohol use disorder.
Parents can take steps to mitigate the risk of their child making destructive decisions. Armed with facts, compassion, and understanding mothers and fathers can protect their children from forming unhealthy relationships with alcohol. The theme of Alcohol Awareness Month this year is “Changing Attitudes: It’s not a ‘rite of passage.’” This month’s events focus on:
“educating people about the treatment and prevention of alcoholism, particularly among our youth, and the important role that parents can play in giving kids a better understanding of the impact that alcohol can have on their lives.”
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol, please contact Whiteside Manor. Our experienced staff can help you adopt a new way of living and give you tools for working a program of long-term recovery.