What’s Going Around: Health Officials Warn About Dangers Of Alcoholism

April is Alcohol Awareness Month and health care officials are taking the opportunity to warn the public about the potential dangers of alcoholism.

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The U.S. Department of Health said that the prevalence of alcohol abuse hits demographics across the board. Health professionals said that one out of four emergency room visits are alcohol related to some degree.

Officials said that the U.S. spends $185 million as a nation dealing with alcohol-related issues.

The first and most difficult step for alcoholics is admitting there’s a problem, said Dr. Matt Sager, a psychiatrist at St. Mary’s Hospital.

“That’s part of the difficulty,” he said. “It’s that it’s so pervasive that it can vary not only in the amount you drink, but how it affects you as well. So, most problematic drinkers are people who notice some dysfunction in their social or health realm that starts to cause problems. So people become irritable when they don’t drink or they notice the amount of alcohol is causing problems with relationships. Those are usually how it starts.”

About 14 million Americans suffer from alcohol abuse. It’s the third leading cause of preventable death, behind smoking and obesity, WISC-TV reported.