Unveiling the Effects of Alcohol

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

By Donna Marston – CRSW

The month of April is dedicated to educating society about the effects of alcohol and the impact that it has on the people who suffer from alcoholism and it’s impacts on their family.

So, what is alcohol?  Alcohol is an ingredient that is usually found in beer, wine and harder alcohols like Whiskey, Gin and Vodka. The alcohol in drinks is called ethanol (ethyl alcohol). It is made when yeast ferments the sugars in grains, fruits and vegetables. For example, wine is made from the sugar in grapes and vodka is made from the sugar in potatoes. For example, wine is made from the sugar in grapes and vodka is made from the sugar in potatoes (as the sugar is eaten, a gas is released and a special kind of juice called alcohol is made).

Alcohol is considered a drug, like other drugs alcohol affects the way the body works, it can be toxic to the body and addictive. Drinking a small amount of alcohol can make you feel more relaxed or happy, but alcohol is actually a depressant, which means that it slows down the messages that travel between the brain and the body, it affects the way people think, feel and behave.

Alcohol can be tricky, it can make a person’s body feel like they want to keep drinking more and more, because it has something in it that can make a person’s body rely on it; it’s like wanting to eat your favorite snack all of the time even when you know it will eventually make you feel very sick.

“As an Alcoholic, you will violate your standards quicker than you can lower them”
Robin Williams
Comedian

The reason Alcohol Awareness is brought to people’s attention during the month of April, is because it is estimated that there are more than 140,000 people in the United States that die each year from problems related to alcohol. Too much alcohol can lead to a person having an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), also known as Alcoholism.

AUD is when a person has trouble controlling how much they drink, how they drink, when they drink even when their life becomes unmanageable, such as losing their job, their family and their home.

“You have to break down before you can break through”

Nick V.
Keene Serenity Center participant

CDC Alcohol Screener

Not only can alcohol hurt the person drinking it, it can also hurt the people around them. That is because when a person drinks too much, their personality often changes, some people become very happy, some angry and aggressive. They do and say things that they normally wouldn’t do, and that can make their friends and family or even strangers feel sad, mad and begin to care about them from a distance.

“The drinking was unhealthy and damaging to my body and my social life ... I had to stop myself. And stopping has shown me a world of happiness that I didn’t think was possible.
Daniel Radcliffe
Harry Potter Actor

According to the NIAAA – National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism the whole body is impacted by alcohol use—not just the liver, it also effects the brain, gut, pancreas, lungs, cardiovascular system (heart), immune system, and more are impacted.

The 2020-2025 U.S. Dietary Guidelines states: “that for adults who choose to drink alcohol, women should have 1 drink or less in a day and men should have 2 drinks or less in a day. These amounts are not intended as an average but rather a daily limit. Binge drinking is a drinking pattern that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration to 0.08 percent or more, which typically happens if a woman has 4 or more drinks, or a man has 5 or more drinks, within about 2 hours. Heavy drinking includes binge drinking and has been defined for women as 4 or more drinks on any day or 8 or more per week, and for men as 5 or more drinks on any day or 15 or more per week”.

During Alcohol Awareness Month, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) offers lots of helpful information that can teach you about alcohol and how to make smart choices. There is also support to help people who might be struggling with an alcohol problem to find resources for treatment and support.

Take the time to spread the word to your family and friends on the importance of alcohol awareness and how to drink responsibly.

Knowledge is power! The more you know and understand the effects of alcohol, the better equipped you will be to make smart choices and help people you know and love to stay safe and drink responsibly.  Alcohol Awareness month is your opportunity to learn, grow and make a positive impact with yourself, your loved ones and your community.

 

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