To learn more about the New Canaan Urgent Assessment Program, visit its webpage.

Alcohol Awareness Month

Silver Hill Hospital

April is National Alcohol Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness about the health and social problems caused by excessive alcohol consumption. Many people are aware that heavy alcohol use poses dangers, but few realize how widespread the problems are.

How many people in the US are affected by alcohol use disorders?


  • An estimated 17 million Americans have an alcohol use disorder, and each year nearly 80,000 people die from alcohol-related causes
  • Alcoholism is the third leading lifestyle-related cause of death in the nation
  • Only 25% of people with an alcohol use disorder seek treatment



Research shows that alcohol use usually begins in adolescence. By age 15, more than half of teens have had at least one drink. We often think that illegal drugs pose the greatest danger to our youth, but alcohol is the drug of choice for teens, and it is more likely to kill them than all illegal drugs combined.

When does drinking cross the line into alcoholism?

To diagnose alcoholism, a patient must have at least 4 of the 11 criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Some, but not all of the symptoms include the following:


  • Tolerance – a person needs more alcohol to get the same effect
  • Withdrawal – tremors, anxiety and headaches are some of the signs of withdrawal from alcohol
  • Alcohol is taken in larger amounts over a longer period than intended
  • There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control alcohol use
  • Recurrent use in situations which are physically dangerous (e.g., driving under the influence)
  • Craving, or a strong desire or urge to use alcohol
  • A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain, use or recover from alcohol effects
  • Recurrent drinking results in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home.



It’s important to note that a person with fewer than 4 of the diagnostic criteria can still have an alcohol use disorder. If alcohol is negatively impacting daily life and compromising health and/or safety, it is a very likely a problem that should be evaluated and addressed.


Alcohol-free weekend

A key part of Alcohol Awareness Month is Alcohol-Free Weekend, which takes place on April 4th – 6th. During this weekend, the public is asked to abstain from alcohol for 72 hours to raise awareness of alcohol use disorders. If it’s a struggle to stay alcohol-free for the entire weekend, an evaluation by an addiction professional should be considered.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism  
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence