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'This is a disease, not a lack of willpower': Alcohol Awareness Month brings attention to pandemic drinking habits

How to know when your drinking is out of control.

TAMPA, Fla. — April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and it may be more important than ever to take a look at your habits and ask yourself if you have a problem.  

Numerous studies have shown that drinking has increased during the pandemic. There are some questions you should ask yourself to find out if you need help. 

It became a problem for Adam Jablin, but he got help and turned his life around. 

"It's important that people understand that this is a disease and not a lack of willpower. Once you go, 'Ok, it's a disease', now you're free to look at it differently."

Jablin says you need to take a hard look at your habits.  

"You may be drinking alone a lot. Also, if you feel the need to hide it.  If lying starts to become a habit. If you start thinking about having a drink earlier and earlier and earlier in the day. Or you're already drinking and planning the next time you can. And, this is a big one and this is where I step in, if you feel like you physically need it."

Jablin is now a life coach, mentor and author. He says giving up alcohol is hard work, but it's worth it.  

"I can't tell you how amazing life is on the other side. Everything that you thought you were getting from a drink or a substance, that feeling of well being, that feeling of confidence, that feeling of relaxation, that feeling that everything is ok in the world. That's what's on the other side."

If you believe you have a problem, you can always talk to your doctor who can give you the resources you need to get sober. Or reach out to one of the many programs designed to help people cope when giving up alcohol, like Alcoholics Anonymous.

According to a study done by JAMA Network Open, it's young adults and actually, women in particular that have started drinking more. 

In young adults, alcohol consumption increased by 14-percent from 2019 to 2020.  And in women, a 41-percent increase in consumption over just one year. 

The CDC defines excessive alcohol consumption as four or more drinks on a single occasion for a woman and five or more drinks for men.

If you or a family member are struggling with alcohol dependence, you are not alone. You can call SAMHSA’s National Helpline for free 24/7. That number is  1-800-662-HELP (4357).

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