March 26, 2013
Gateway Foundation Drug Treatment Supports Alcohol Awareness Month in April
More individuals than the entire population of Illinois, or 14 million American adults, meet the criteria for alcohol abuse or alcohol dependency, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Furthermore, nine out of 10 individuals with alcoholism won’t seek the treatment they need for substance abuse.
To address this public health concern, Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment is joining the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence to raise awareness of alcohol-related issues during Alcohol Awareness Month in April. In an effort to change behaviors and attitudes towards alcohol abuse, Gateway Foundation is launching a campaign that heightens awareness of low-risk drinking guidelines in comparison to risky or binge drinking that could lead to alcoholism.
“In honor of Alcohol Awareness Month, we are reaching out to communities throughout Illinois with substance abuse awareness resources, like magnets, window clings and educational materials. Our goal is for adults to understand what constitutes as risky drinking and if needed, that professional help is available,” says Gateway Foundation President and CEO Michael Darcy. “We encourage local businesses, schools, public sector organizations and healthcare providers throughout Illinois to take advantage of these tools and support the efforts addressing alcoholism.”
Moderate versus Binge Drinking
To minimize health risks caused by alcohol, the USDA guidelines for moderate drinking are:
- Up to one drink per day for women
- Up to two drinks per day for men.
Many health risks, including alcohol dependency, are associated with drinking in excess or binge drinking. Today, the generally accepted definition of binge drinking in America for women is drinking four or more drinks in a row at least once in the previous 2 weeks. For men, consuming five or more drinks in a row at least once in the previous 2 weeks is considered binge drinking. Heavy binge drinking includes three or more such episodes in 2 weeks.
Symptoms of Alcoholism
Because alcoholism is a disease, most alcoholics can’t just “exercise some willpower” to stop drinking. Alcoholics are frequently in the grip of a powerful craving for alcohol, a need that can feel as strong as the need for food or water. Yet, with treatment and support, many are able to stop drinking, reclaim their lives and reconnect with loved ones.
Alcoholism entails the following symptoms:
- Craving – A strong need or urge to drink.
- Loss of Control – Unable to stop drinking once drinking has begun.
- Physical Dependency – Withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness and anxiety after drinking stops.
- Tolerance – The need to drink greater amounts of alcohol to get intended “high.”
Concerned that drinking or drug abuse may be a problem? Gateway provides free in-depth consultations to help determine the severity of substance abuse and identify the appropriate level of treatment. To learn more about Gateway Foundation’s free and confidential consultation, call 877-505-HOPE (4673).
To request Alcohol Awareness Month awareness materials, please email Gateway at Outreach@GatewayFoundation.org. For more information about the signs and symptoms of alcoholism, please visit RecoverGateway.org/alcohol-abuse.