As well as being sexual assault awareness month in the United States, it’s also alcohol awareness month. Due to the legality of alcohol, it’s easy to overlook all the problems it causes. While a small amount of alcohol isn’t a terrible thing, many find it difficult to stop there. Luckily, alcohol awareness month brings nationwide attention to alcoholism, and we’d like to take part in alcohol awareness in a very literal way. Awareness is one of the best tools we have against all addiction and substance abuse, not just alcoholism. Sometimes the most helpful thing you can do for someone struggling with substance abuse is to be aware of it, and know what to look for.
This is one of the clearer signs that someone is struggling with alcoholism. Is someone you love starting to neglect their responsibilities on a regular basis? This could include a decline in work performance, activities in the home, or even maintaining important relationships. If you notice that someone is neglecting responsibilities and instead is spending that time drinking, it may be a sign they’re struggling with alcoholism.
Drinking to Relax
Drinking in moderation after a stressful day or week is one thing, but some find themselves drinking to relax on a much more regular basis. Alcohol is, at its core, a depressant. This means that it slows down the functions of the mind and body, which many find to be relaxing. However, someone who can’t relax without alcohol is putting themselves in the line of fire for alcoholism. Eventually, drinking may become the only way they can relax. Couple this with a high stress job or lifestyle, and their drinking could quickly spiral out of control. Make sure your loved ones have more ways to relax than simply drinking, and if you notice they’re drinking to relax more than what’s healthy, it may be time to look for help.
Drinking in Excess
For an alcoholic, drinking very rarely stops after the first drink or two. If you become aware of your loved one drinking far more than what is normal, it may be a sign that they’re struggling with alcoholism. Another tell-tale sign is an increased tolerance for alcohol. Many alcoholics become able to drink far more than they used to. This is definitely something to be aware of, as a tolerance for alcohol means that their problem is spiraling out of control.
Being aware of alcoholism is one of the most effective ways to halt it. Remember, while April may be alcohol awareness month, stopping alcoholism requires us to be aware and vigilant year round. Keep your eyes open, and you might just save a life.