National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month is in its 22nd year and is celebrated every September. This month is about celebrating the recovery of many people from alcohol and drug addictions.
“Recovery Month spreads the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover,” states the National Recovery Month website.
The website features stories from many people who are in recovery and have been successful with treatment, including Betty Currier. On the website, she stated that she has been in successful recovery since Jan. 6, 1976, despite being controlled by alcohol for more than 20 years.
“My commitment and life purpose will always be to demonstrate the reality of recovery for those affected by substance use and mental disorders and to help change public perceptions and embrace recovery," Currier said on the website.
In order to embrace recovery, it’s important to start with the basics. There are different types of substance-related disorders, including alcoholism. Alcoholism is a term that mainly refers to the mental disorder alcohol dependence. Alcohol abuse is a separate disorder, according to an article on the National Center for Biotechnology Information’s website.
Alcoholism, or alcohol dependence is defined as a physical addiction to alcohol, and sufferers continue “to drink, despite problems with physical health, mental health, and social, family, or job responsibilities,” according to the website.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines alcohol dependence as a physiological dependence that is “indicated by evidence of tolerance or symptoms of withdrawal.”
Withdrawal relating to alcohol dependence is referred to as “withdrawal symptoms that develop 4-12 hours or so after the reduction of intake following prolonged, heavy, alcohol ingestion.”
Many people use the term withdrawal freely, but for those who have gone through it, they know how painful it can be.
“Because withdrawal from alcohol can be unpleasant and intense, individuals with alcohol dependence may continue to consume alcohol, despite adverse consequences, often to avoid or to relieve the symptoms of withdrawal.”
Some symptoms that can tip you off about the possibility of alcoholism in yourself or others include drinking alone, being unable to control the amount of alcohol you imbibe, becoming defensive when asked about your drinking habits, and being violent when you’re drinking.
If you find yourself drinking despite harmful consequences, hiding alcohol use from others, not taking care of yourself due to alcohol consumption, missing work or school because of alcohol use, you may be dealing with alcoholism.
Alcoholism can lead to harmful physical consequences like memory problems and withdrawal symptoms, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information website.
SAMHSA. Recovery Month 2011 – About Recovery Month. National Recovery Month. Web. September 13, 2011.
SAMHSA. Recovery Month 2011 – Betty Currier. National Recovery Month. Web. September 13, 2011.
National Center for Biotechnology Information. Alcoholism and alcohol abuse. Alcoholism and alcohol abuse – PubMed Health. Web. September 13, 2011. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001940/
American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder: Fourth Edition: Text Revision. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association, 2000.
Reviewed September 14, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Jody Smith