It seems like there’s a new health concern highlighted every month and, of course, they are all important. But there’s something interesting about alcohol awareness. Unlike most disorders, the damage caused by alcohol is often entirely preventable. Due to the fact that having “a few drinks” is both socially acceptable and legal, the problems associated with consumption are often downplayed or overlooked. Further, alcoholism still tends to be seen as a “man’s issue” but there are many women affected who need just as much help as their male counterparts.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services created a Health Kit to help make spreading awareness among family, friends and coworkers even easier. Every single one of us can make a difference and we may even save lives.

Public Safety

Even a seemingly small amount of alcohol can have lasting consequences. With lowered inhibitions people may take more risks or be more aggressive than they normally are. This can result in a higher incidence of violence, drownings, and automobile accidents caused by impaired driving. If you see a situation where alcohol consumption could lead to injury, say something. It’s better to be that annoying voice of reason than to stand by and watching something terrible happen.

Disease Prevention

The Mayo Clinic has a pretty extensive list of health disorders that are related to alcohol abuse. Heavy drinking can cause alcoholic hepatitis which is inflammation of the liver. Over time, this can cause irreversible damage, leaving the scarring of the precious organ, resulting in cirrhosis. Excessive drinking can also lead to digestive issues, heart problems, complications from diabetes, interruption of menstruation, sexual dysfunction, changes in vision/eye function, birth defects (if an expectant mother drinks during pregnancy), bone loss, impaired immune system, neurological disturbances and an increased risk of developing certain cancers (mouth, throat, liver, colon and breast).

Make a Difference

It may not seem like it but you can make a huge difference when it comes to alcohol awareness. The first thing you can do is set a good example for those around you. Drink in moderation and encourage others to do the same. Support friends and family members who are trying to make small changes that can lead to big payoffs. Volunteer to be the designated driving during special occasions. Find some meaningful way you can make a difference in your own life and keep the conversation going.

Spread the Word

If you want to take your activism to the next level, consider the ways in which you can spread the word to as many people as possible. If you create a newsletter for your family or work, for example, consider adding some information about alcohol abuse this month. Send a tweet to the masses to let them know about Alcohol Awareness Month. Consider hosting a community event to educate your neighbors about local resources. Have a blog?  Add this web badge to your site.

It can be a tough topic to tackle but, in the end, it’s entirely worth it. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol abuse, call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit the online treatment locators.