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By Teresa Bigham / The Hesperian-Beacon—
FLOYD COUNTY – Alcohol is the primary drug abused in Texas. According to the National Institute of Alcohol 58 percent of Texas school students in grades 7-12 have used alcohol, and 25 percent consumed alcohol last month.
Let’s break the numbers down. Over 139,000,000 individuals 12 years or older in Texas used alcohol in the last month.
Over 67,000,000 individuals 12 years old or older in Texas binge drink. For males, this is drinking at least five drinks during one occasion. For females, that’s four drinks.
Alcohol abuse is dangerous, and it’s a real problem among our youth today. Alcohol impairs a person’s motor functions and judgement with is a lethal combination. People under in influence often has “liquid courage” and this can lead to many life altering decisions. People tend to do things that they wouldn’t normally do.
In 2018 Texas had the leading number of drunk driving fatalities in the US with 13,138 deaths.
Alcohol is one of the most widely available and easily accessible addictive substances. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention an estimated 11 percent of alcohol that’s consumed in the United States is consumed by people between the ages of 12 to 20.
Underage drinking is prevalent, fewer teens drink today than in previous decades. Alcohol remains an important problem for adolescents and college students.
Alcohol addiction is a disease that changes the way the brain works. It causes negative emotions, impulsive behavior, cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Some people are more likely to become addicted to alcohol because their brains are more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Watching a family member, friend or coworker with an alcohol use disorder can be hard. You might wonder what you can do to change the situation, and whether the person even wants help.
Choosing the right time to have that important conversation is key. Think about having the talk in a place where you know you’ll and privacy. Tell your loved one that you’re worried they’re drinking too much and let them know you want to be supportive. Be prepared for a negative reaction.
Realize that you can’t force someone who doesn’t want to go into treatment and all you can do is offer your help. Treatment for alcohol use disorder is an ongoing process.
Supportive tips suggested by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism are
- Be empathetic when approaching your loved one.
- Be honest about your concerns and offer your support.
- Let the person know you’re there if they need someone to talk to
- Offer to take them to meetings.
Finding the right way to approach someone you think may have an alcohol use disorder can be tough. Before you speak with them, put yourself in their shoes. The most important thing is to let them know you love them, and you’ll be there when they need your support.