April is Alcohol Awareness Month 2015

moderate-drinkingThe National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) has declared April as Alcohol Awareness Month. Since 1987, the NCADD has tried to increase public awareness to reduce the stigma associated with alcoholism that too often prevents individuals and families from seeking help.

More than 18 million individuals or 8.5% of Americans suffer from alcohol use disorders. Alcoholism places enormous emotional, physical, and financial burden on family members and children of the person addicted to alcohol: 75% of domestic abuse is committed while one or both members are intoxicated. Teens that experiment with alcohol before age 15 are four times more likely to become dependent when they are older than those who wait until age 20. Up to 40% of all hospital beds in the United States (except for those beds being used by maternity and intensive care patients) are being used to treat health conditions related to alcohol consumption.

Over time, excessive alcohol use can cause many major health problems including but not limited to:

  • Dementia, stroke, and neuropathy
  • Cardiovascular problems, including heart attack, cardiomyopathy, atrial fibrillation, and hypertension
  • Psychiatric problems like depression, anxiety, and suicide
  • Social problems including unemployment, domestic violence, and homicide
  • Unintentional injuries from motor vehicle accidents, falls, burns, drowning and firearm injuries
  • Increased risk of many types of cancers, including liver, mouth, throat, and larynx, and esophagus
  • Liver diseases like fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis
  • Gastrointestinal problems including pancreatitis and gastritis
  • Alcohol abuse or dependence – alcoholism

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend that if you do choose to drink alcohol, do not exceed 1 drink per day for women or 2 drinks per day for men.

A “standard drink” contains 14 grams of pure alcohol (0.6 ounces):

  • 12 ounces of Beer
  • 8 ounces of Malt Liquor
  • 5 ounces of Wine
  • 1.5 ounces or “shot” of liquor (e.g. rum, gin, vodka, or whiskey)

If you or someone you know is wondering if they have an addiction to alcohol, follow the link below and take this quiz :


There are many paths to recovery and several ways to get help. There are outpatient treatment program such as AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or inpatient rehab stays. For further information call 1-800-NCA-CALL (622-2255) or visit the NCADD website.

South County Internal Medicine