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April is National Alcohol Awareness Month, and as such, there’s no better time to spread awareness about alcohol use disorder (AUD). Spreading awareness of AUD can help individuals seek treatment and educate professionals on the importance of treating it. Additionally, spreading awareness also helps reduce stigmatization of this type of substance use disorder (SUD) as well as other mental health conditions. Reducing stigma and addressing the stereotypes of AUD is critical. Doing so helps more individuals seek treatment and achieve sustainable recovery. 

West Coast Recovery Centers is a nationally accredited drug, alcohol, and behavioral health rehabilitation center in Southern California. We focus on ensuring our clients feel supported and accompanied in their recovery from AUD. During your treatment, you’ll learn more about AUD in a way that prepares you for a life of recovery and allows you to help others. Treatment is often the first step toward reducing stigma, especially because your journey can inspire others. 

What Is AUD?

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) describes AUD as a “medical condition characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences.” There are many common names people use to describe AUD, including alcoholism, alcohol abuse, alcohol misuse, or alcohol addiction. However, many of these names have become outdated. Regardless of what we call it, AUD is real and negatively impacts the lives of millions every day. 

There are many potential causes of AUD. Most often, a combination of factors influences its development. Some of these factors include genetic and biological factors, trauma, or substance use at an early age. 

AUD is one of the most common addictions experienced by people today. In fact, the 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) by the NIAAA indicates that 28.8 million adults had AUD in 2021. Despite the number of individuals struggling with it, many refuse to seek treatment for it. Why might this be? Well, stigmatization has much to do with why people may not seek treatment. However, before we get into that, let’s look at some potential warning signs of AUD. 

Recognizing the Signs of AUD Within Yourself and a Loved One

There are many signs and symptoms to be on the lookout for if you think that you or a loved one may be struggling with AUD. Some of those signs and symptoms include: 

  • An inability to stop or control how much you drink
  • Unsuccessful attempts to stop drinking 
  • Experiencing intense urges to drink alcohol 
  • Continuing to drink despite physical, social, or relationship problems 
  • Withdrawing from social situations to engage in drinking 
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop drinking
  • Developing a tolerance for alcohol and requiring more to experience the same effect

Before anyone can seek proper treatment for AUD, they must recognize and accept that their alcohol use is bringing destruction to their life. Accepting your struggle with AUD can be tough. For starters, individuals may not always want to admit their trouble with alcohol use. It’s also challenging because many people fear how it’ll cause others to see them. 

Stigmas prevent people from seeking help for their mental health and addiction for many reasons. The narrative is slowly changing, but the fact remains that for years, individuals with AUD, SUD, or mental conditions have been stigmatized. Thankfully spreading awareness can help reduce stigmatization. 

Why It’s Critical to Reduce Stigmatization of AUD

Cultural stigmatization can quickly lead to self-stigmas, which greatly reduces a person’s self-esteem. Not only can this worsen symptoms of AUD, SUD, and mental health conditions but it can also prevent people from seeking treatment. 

The most significant reason individuals should focus on reducing the stigmatization of AUD is because it will open the door for more people to seek treatment. If people don’t feel ashamed or guilty of their struggles, they’ll be more inclined to check themselves into rehab, do the work, and achieve sustainable recovery. 

Additionally, reducing stigmatization paves the way to implementing other changes focused on helping those recovering from AUD. This may include expanding recovery resources and designing curriculums that better prepare professionals for treating people. 

So, what happens if we don’t reduce stigmatization? Will there be consequences of continuing in a world where people are too ashamed to seek treatment? 

What Happens if We Don’t Reduce Stigmatization of Addiction

Let’s think logically, what’s the alternative of not spreading more awareness about AUD and reducing stigmatization? The result is more and more people will struggle with addiction and may lose everything as a result, including their lives, out of fear of seeking help. Stigmas hurt people. They prevent individuals from seeking the help they need and ultimately hinder them from living the lives they deserve. 

Take advantage of this April during National Alcohol Awareness Month by using your voice to educate and bring awareness to the stigmatization surrounding AUD. It’s the first step in creating a better world; a world where people can seek treatment without fear or shame. You can seek treatment for AUD without fear or shame by calling West Coast Recovery Centers today.  

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) affects millions of Americans every day. Numbers from a 2022 National Survey showed that 28.8 million adults had AUD in 2021 alone. Despite being one of the most common addictions experienced by individuals today, people don’t always seek proper treatment. Of course, people must recognize the signs and accept their struggle before seeking proper treatment, but that’s not what’s stopping them. Stigmatization surrounding AUD health conditions often prevents people from seeking treatment. With April being National Alcohol Awareness Month, what better time is there to reduce stigmatization by educating others on the dangers of AUD? If you’re struggling with AUD, fight against stigmas and seek treatment by calling West Coast Recovery Centers at (760) 492-6509 today.