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Alcohol is the most commonly used, misused, and abused substance in Canada.
In 2012, about 5 million Canadians over 15 years of age met the criteria for alcohol dependence. There has also been an increase in alcohol-related deaths and hospital admissions over the last few years.
Alcoholism affects people of all ages, especially adults over 18 years of age.
Moderate drinking is defined as one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. While drinking in moderation is a normal part of Canadian society, risky drinking can also develop. Alcohol consumption also increases the risk of violence, crimes, conflicts, sexual assault, and car accidents.
Family influences, social settings, and peer pressure can all influence alcohol consumption. For example, if a child’s family members regularly drink alcohol, they can influence the child’s motives for drinking as they grow up.
Binge drinking is when someone drinks a large amount of alcohol in one sitting. This form of drinking puts people at risk of becoming dependent on alcohol. Heavy alcohol use is defined as binge drinking five or more times a month.
You must be at least 18 years old to purchase and drink alcohol in Alberta, Manitoba, and Québec. The minimum drinking age is 19 in the rest of Canada. Drinking alcohol before 18 or 19 can be extremely dangerous. Some risk factors associated with underage drinking in Canada include:
About 19 percent of children (12 years of age and older) are considered heavy drinkers in Canada. This is roughly 5.8 million people.
Alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence, and alcoholism are all terms for alcohol use disorder (AUD). The main difference between these three terms is how they impact a person’s daily life.
Common symptoms of alcoholism include:
People tend to seek treatment for alcoholism when the negative effects of drinking become overwhelming. They may also seek treatment after an intervention with family and close friends.
Treatment can be helpful for any situation, even if your loved one is struggling with mild alcohol addiction. Entering addiction treatment early can be effective in identifying triggers before the problem gets worse. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are also less severe in mild cases of alcoholism, which reduces the chance of relapse after treatment.
There are many treatment options available for alcohol use disorder (alcoholism) in Canada. Some addiction treatment options include, but are not limited to:
If your loved one is addicted to alcohol, the first step may be to stage an intervention. It is essential to avoid confronting them about the problem without professional help.
An intervention is a carefully planned meeting that includes the family and friends of the person struggling with alcoholism. A doctor or professional addiction counselor is there to lead the session and address any issues that arise.
After the intervention, the individual will receive an offer to undergo treatment at an inpatient or outpatient rehab facility.
People with minor to moderate cases of alcoholism may benefit from outpatient treatment.
This rehab program is arranged around the patient’s schedule. They attend treatment a few days a week and do not stay overnight. During the program, patients undergo counseling, therapy, education sessions, and attend support groups.
More severe cases of alcoholism usually require inpatient treatment. This form of treatment takes place at a licensed residential treatment center. Unlike outpatient care, inpatient rehab requires the person to stay overnight for 30, 60, or 90 days. They receive 24-hour comprehensive, structured care.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is the most well-known support group for those recovering from minor to severe alcoholism.
During AA meetings, people come together to discuss their trials with alcohol, recovery stories, and relapse stories. These meetings are completely confidential, which creates an open and honest environment for all members.
Other treatment options and support groups of alcoholism in Canada include:
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