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South African Depression and Anxiety Group Sheds Light and Support for Alcohol Awareness Month (Sunday, 28 April 2024)

Sunday, 28 April 2024

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) observed Alcohol Awareness Month throughout April and we reaffirm our commitment to raising awareness about the impact of Alcohol Use on Mental Health and Well-being.

Alcohol Use remains a significant public health concern in South Africa, with far-reaching consequences for individuals, families, and communities.

Here are some symptoms of someone who may be struggling or doesn’t even know that they have an alcohol problem:

Increased Tolerance: Needing more alcohol to achieve the desired effect or experiencing reduced effects from the same amount of alcohol
Withdrawal Symptoms: Experiencing physical or psychological symptoms when not drinking, such as shaking, sweating, nausea, Anxiety, irritability, or Depression
Neglecting Responsibilities: Neglecting work, school, family, or social obligations due to alcohol use. This may include poor performance at work or school, frequent absences, or strained relationships with loved ones.
Changes in Behavior: Having mood swings, irritability, aggression, or other changes in behavior when drinking or when unable to drink.
Denial : Denying the extent of Alcohol use or its negative consequences when confronted by others, or minimizing the severity of the problem.

In light of these challenges, SADAG hosted an online expert Q&A session with Cape Town Clinical Psychologist, Timmy Joji, as well as two representatives from Alcoholics Anonymous. The free live session helped to share signs and symptoms, how to provide support, what resources are available and how to tackle denial in those who may have a drinking problem to help promote positive behavioural changes.

When confronting a person who is struggling with Alcohol Use, it is important to show understanding and care because that individual is drinking because they are trying to cope with something they are experiencing," says Timmy Joji.

"For me and many of my friends, we are blind to the fact that there was an alcohol dependence in the first place. People are unaware of the signs and continue honestly thinking they are okay. For us, this preceded the denial of unwillingness to acknowledge the problem."

Seeking help for yourself or a loved one is very important in the journey to getting support, treatment, and care. Often denial, shame, and guilt can prevent many people from reaching out - but there is help that is free of judgement and available to anyone who needs assistance with any alcohol use issue. SADAG in partnership with the Department of Social Development, has a dedicated 24-hour Substance Abuse Helpline 0800 12 13 14 or sms 32312 available 7 days a week, 365 days a year, offering free telephone counselling, information, referrals, and nationwide resources for Support Groups, professionals, rehabilitation programmes and centers, and community resources.

There are other resources like Alcoholics Anonymous who are fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other so that they may solve their common problem and help others recover from Alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. They have a list of AA meetings across South Africa and that can be found via their website on www.aasouthafrica.org.za

If you have missed the online "Ask The Expert" session, click here to watch.

26 april 204

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