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  • Evan Stuart

April is Alcohol Awareness Month: Get the Facts about Alcohol Dependence and Co-occurring Disorders!

Picture credited to the Addictioni Center and Getty Stock Images

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, or NCADD, alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States. 17.6 million people in the United States suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence. That's almost 1 in every 12 Americans! Furthermore, 88,000 people die from excessive alcohol use every year. until 1996, Americans could be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits if they were an alcoholic. This means that the government no longer considered alcohol abuse and dependence as a disability. in 1996, the government changed their stance on alcoholism, stopped providing benefits, and further stigmatized individuals with substance use disorders (SUDs). an important thing to note about alcohol dependence and abuse is that it is not measured in how often you drink, how much you drink, what you drink, or even when you drink. Alcohol dependence is about not being able to control your need for alcohol. Visit this site to learn more about alcohol dependence and abuse.

This can be an issue for our consumers, since, according to the Addiction Center, there is a strong link between disabilities and addiction, and many individuals have a dual diagnosis. A dual diagnosis is when someone is diagnosed with an SUD and also have a co-occurring mental, behavioral or physical disorder. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that 45 percent of people with addiction have a co-occurring metal health disorder. People with severe mental illnesses are also 4 times more likely to be heavy alcohol users. Common disorders that are paired with addictions include ADHD, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, depression, eating disorders, generalized anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and schizophrenia, among others.

The question left for many people is "how can I get help for myself or a loved one who is suffering due to co-occurring mental, behavioral, or physical disabilities and SUDs?" The Addiction Center recommends finding a treatment plan that targets both disorders simultaneously. they go on to say the best option for treatment is an inpatient rehab center. To find the best treatment for you, the Addiction Center recommends a few questions intended to narrow down your search. These can be found listed on their website here. By seeking treatment for addiction and a co-occurring behavioral or mental health disorder, you will stand the best chances of successfully attaining the fulfilling, healthy life you deserve. Remember to look out for yourself and loved ones this April during Alcohol Awareness Month

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