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Scott Stevens on Alcohol Awareness

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. Scott Stevens has three best sellers on alcoholism and recovery, and an app called alcohology. We have conducted an interview with him.

What is the greatest difference between what alcohol does TO people versus what alcohol does FOR people?
Advertising glorifies alcohol and situations involving alcohol, and the fact is that this is a toxin that human tissues don't favor much. It is the third-leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. (and globally). Beer commercials don't give that perception at all. People think it helps them sleep, which is a myth. It deprives a person of quality sleep. People think it helps with depression. It actually is a cause of depression. This is a very volatile drug with consequences, serious health consequences, for any age group, gender or socioeconomic status. I have more than 250 physician-reviewed articles on that distinguish between the wishful thinking people have about alcohol's health benefits and the health problems related to even moderate use. What causes problems, is one.

What is the major misconception?
The biggest misconceptions are that people view alcohol as safe, and that they don't view it as a drug. This is the most common drug of abuse we have in society, but many people think that because alcohol is so commonplace – we even sell it in grocery stores – and so glorified that translates into it being safe. Alcohol is a toxin and known carcinogen. No amount of any toxin or carcinogen is “safe.” The health risks only go up with the size of the dose and the frequency of use.

How does your app 'Alcohology' help health and counseling professionals as well as drinkers?
There are more than 70 short video segments on what alcohol does, but they are presented in plain-English, not medical jargon. People can get simple, evidence-based facts without confusing medical terms or slick advertising.

Why did you name your recovery book, Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud?
That was the second of my three books, and has by far had the most widespread impact with professionals, alcoholics, and the families of alcoholics. The title ties into the misperception that 'everything will be fine if a person just stops drinking.' They view getting sober the silver lining to the cloud of alcoholism. The silver lining carries its own cloud though, because this is a chronic disease known for relapse. I look at relapse in the book, and why so many drinkers will go back to the misery despite a number of consequences. Sobriety and recovery require work. It's worth it.

What is your view about the 'swaying factor'?
It takes a whole constellation of things to get a person to recognize that sobriety is better to have than to lack. Any point in the constellation can be a swaying factor to a person getting help for the disease. It could be work trouble. Could be divorce papers or a bad doctor visit or a nudge from a judge after a DUI. I report often on the health consequence of alcohol use, just one point in the constellation. Hopefully it becomes a swaying factor for someone contemplating the role alcohol plays in his or her life.

What is the most convincing evidence-based study on alcohol you have ever witnessed?
One of the most eye-opening was done about 30 years ago. A neuro specialist conducted a study on damage, physical and functional, caused to a brain by alcohol use. Upon seeing under a microscope just what this toxin does to brain structure, he went from having an occasional drink to becoming totally alcohol-free. Smart man with a smarter choice. I've also been fascinated with recent DNA developments showing definitively the disease of alcoholism has a genetic basis. This isn't about dumb choices or moral failings, it is a medical condition rooted in flawed chromosomes.

How misleading is 'junk science' touting alcohol's health benefits spreading all over the Internet today?
In general, there is a great willingness to believe this is a benign, recreational, good-time drug. With that willingness comes a desire to seek out any morsel of information or misinformation that will support the decision to keep drinking. In the case of alcoholism, it is the only disease that convinces the carrier that he or she isn't sick. The internet is a two-edged sword: It can supply honest answers, but it can also feed that desire to find pro-alcohol information, often observational junk science, untethered to anything resembling legit research. You always need to ask, of any pro-alcohol study, what would motivate an educated medical professional to look for a health benefit of consuming a toxic carcinogen.

What is your plan to counter this challenge in April, the Alcohol Awareness Month?
I am doing a number of radio interviews in support of the awareness campaign and, naturally, my three books. This year I am introducing 'The A-Files: Alcohol A-Z' through my social media pages, website, and a number of other treatment-oriented websites. It's a take-off of the once-popular TV program, X-Files. Every day in April, sans Sundays, there will be a new two to two-and-a-half minute video on alcohol, alcoholism and health. Watch for it. The truth is out there.

Scott Stevens on Alcohol Awareness Reviewed by JaamZIN on 6:54:00 PM Rating: 5
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