As April rolls around, so does Alcohol Awareness Month, which was founded by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence during 1987. This year’s theme, “Changing attitudes: It’s not a ‘rite of passage,’” aims to educate the younger generation about the dangers of alcohol consumption.
While the legal drinking age is 21, studies reveal that more teens and young adults are drinking earlier than allowed.
According to a 2015 national survey on drug use and health, 70.1 percent of people age 18 or older reported drinking alcohol in the previous year. To follow up, about two in five young adults are binge alcohol users.
With so much of the population drinking, it’s important to educate teens early, to teach them to make responsible decisions.
Understanding the consequences
Alcohol is an addictive substance, so it’s important to monitor any signs that suggest you or someone you know is developing an alcohol use disorder, commonly known as alcoholism. If a friend or loved one has temporary blackouts and memory loss, recurrent fights or irritability, and depressive attitudes toward others, they could be showing signs of alcoholism.
Other symptoms you should look for: a person who drinks in secret or in the morning, has flushed skin and broken capillaries on the face, or trembling hands, headaches, or nausea from a lack of alcohol.
Be a good example
More than 1,800 college students die each year from alcohol-related injuries. You increase your chance of harming yourself or others when alcohol is involved.
It’s important for parents to have conversations with their children. Talking with your children will allow them to speak openly about pressures they are facing from their friends regarding alcohol consumption. Also, it’s crucial to speak about the dangers of drinking and driving, and how alcohol affects your overall behavior.
As an adult, it’s important to be a helpful resource and to set a responsible example of what it means to drink in moderation. Because alcohol is dangerous if abused, everyone should be aware of the risks they’re assuming when drinking.
One more thing
Balance is key! Drinking in moderation can increase heart health, but so can exercise. Learn more about simple yet effective exercises to maintain a balanced lifestyle.