When people speak, there is often a negative stigma surrounding alcohol use and those who drink. Movies will sometimes portray those with alcohol addiction issues as some kind of lower tier of humanity. Even police will sometimes stigmatize those who drink or use substances and will treat them differently than people who are sober. The truth is that the majority of Americans have consumed alcohol at some time in their lives. A majority have consumed alcohol this past year in particular, and more than half of Americans have consumed alcohol in the past month. It is time to end the shame around alcohol, identify facts, and shatter myths about alcohol addiction.
Facts about Alcohol Use
The myths and stigma surrounding alcohol use are often very hypocritical. People shame or don’t know how to react to someone who consumes a lot of alcohol or consumes alcohol frequently. Studies display some hypocrisy in judged and actual consumption of alcohol. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), these are the statistics on alcohol use and its prevalence here in America:
- 86% of adults have used alcohol at some point in their life
- 70% of adults consumed alcohol in the past year
- 55% of adults have consumed alcohol in the previous month
What is Binge Drinking?
There are differences in how those with an alcohol use disorder drink and one of those ways is binge drinking. Typically, binge drinking consists of drinking four to five servings of alcohol in a single day. The exact amount of alcohol consumed to be classified as binge drinking depends on the type of alcohol, gender, weight, or other factors,
Heavy alcohol use consists of binge drinking for five or more days in a single month. While neither binge drinking nor heavy alcohol use indicates alcohol addiction, both patterns of alcohol consumption can increase your chances of developing an addiction to alcohol. According to the NIAAA, these patterns of alcohol consumption are also fairly common:
- 26% of adults engaged in binge drinking in the past month
- 6% of adults reported heavy drinking in the past month.
What is High-Intensity Drinking?
High-intensity drinking is a newer trend in which alcohol is consumed at two times or more than binge drinking levels. This trend not only increases your chances of becoming addicted to alcohol but can also result in an alcohol-related emergency. The NIAAA reports that those who engaged in high-intensity drinking were 70 times more likely to end up in the emergency room due to alcohol than those who did not binge drink.
Is it Normal to Become Addicted to Alcohol?
Given the normalcy of alcohol use, it is surprising that alcohol abuse has not yet been considered a normal result of alcohol consumption. Becoming addicted to alcohol involves several factors, but genetics tends to be a factor in about half of those who become addicted. Other genetic diseases are normalized, so why not alcohol addiction?
The guilt and shame associated with alcohol addiction may come partially from within yourself, but the stigma from the media and others also creates shame. Yet addiction is a process that happens in the brain and often begins because of some kind of trauma that you may have experienced. Trauma can include any event that is truly traumatic to the individual. Trauma has also become far too normal, so why is there shame for people whose addiction stems from trauma?
Changing the Stigma Around Alcohol
The key to changing the stigma and ending the guilt or shame associated with alcohol abuse is education. Education can begin with you. You can seek treatment for your own alcohol addiction. Within that process, you will learn how the brain works and how alcohol impacts your brain’s reward center to create an addiction. You can learn how to heal your brain and your body from an addiction to alcohol. You will learn that addiction is a medical diagnosis with physiological factors and is nothing to be ashamed of.
By entering recovery for alcohol or drug addiction, you can become the face of addiction recovery. You can demonstrate that addiction happens to many “normal” people and that it is also normal and very possible to recover from an addiction. Your recovery can inspire others and demonstrate that if consuming alcohol is normal, seeking treatment from addiction is a normal part of the process as well. By seeking treatment for alcohol addiction, you change the stigma and change your life all in one process. For every person who normalizes addiction and shares their journey, the myths surrounding alcohol addiction shatter that much more.
The myths surrounding alcohol addiction create unnecessary shame and guilt surrounding the medical diagnosis of addiction. The vast majority of Americans have consumed alcohol in their lifetime, and more than half consumed alcohol within the past month. Even binge drinking and heavy drinking are relatively common, and alcohol addiction can be compared to many other illnesses based on genetic or mental health factors. Perceptions about addiction can and should change. You can become part of that change. Call Rancho Milagro Recovery today at (951) 526-4582. We will not shame you or create guilt surrounding addiction. We are committed to helping you heal from addiction and shattering the myths around alcohol addiction as well. Our beautiful Temecula, California ranch is the perfect place to get away from everything and find healing. Our compassionate staff understands that the stigma is real, but we are committed to helping you break free of both the stigma and alcohol. Let’s shatter the myths about alcohol addiction together.