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Help yourself & others to overcome alcoholism during Alcohol Awareness Month

April is Alcohol Awareness Month — the perfect time to help people in recovery and people struggling with addiction. Dr. Renee Solomon, a psychologist and CEO of drug and alcohol addiction treatment center Forward Recovery, said it’s first important to identify the problem, which data suggest is widespread. Facing Addiction with NCADD reports that one in every 12 adults, or 17.6 million people, suffer from alcohol use disorder or alcohol dependence. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last year that people ages 12 to 20 drink 11 percent of all alcohol drunk in the United States even though drinking is illegal for people younger than 21. The CDC further reported that young people who drink have higher rates of social, legal and physical problems. Some alcoholics may be in denial, thinking they have no problem because they can drink and act functionally — they go to work, socialize with friends and participate in normal activities. But if your drinking affects your relationships, your job or your health, you likely have an issue. Alcohol Awareness Month, which had its first iteration in April 1987, is a great time to meet with your doctor and have your blood and liver tested to inventory your health, Dr. Solomon said. Although we should understand our health issues year-round, Alcohol Awareness Month reminds us to take stock and do what we need to do to take care of ourselves, she added. Dr. Solomon said it is important to support people who are trying to get sober and create an environment that promotes their sobriety. Start small — encourage the person struggling with alcohol to track their drinking and set drinking limits. By raising awareness and working together, we can make it easier for alcoholism sufferers to seek help and we can break down barriers to treatment and recovery.

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