It was really great to get so much feedback about my previous post regarding how marijuana impacts quality of life. Over the coming months I hope to share more of the research that is being published on that evolving topic on this blog.
Sticking with the topic of addiction again, I came across an interesting article on alcohol use that I want to share. The article begins with the statement “At least 38 million adults in the US drink too much.” The authors go on to clarify that most of these Americans are not ‘alcoholics.’ However, only 1 in 6 adults talk with their doctor, nurse, or other health professional about their drinking. They also note that the Affordable Care Act now requires new health insurance plans to cover screening and brief counseling without a co-payment.
The data and article is from the CDC and can be accessed here.
Some of the facts:
- Drinking too much includes binge drinking, high weekly use, and any alcohol use by pregnant women or those under age 21.
- Binge drinking is defined as men drinking 5 or more alcoholic drinks or women drinking 4 or more, in about 2-3 hours.
- Alcohol causes about 88,000 deaths in the US each year, and costs the economy about $224 billion.
- Alcohol screening and brief counseling can reduce drinking on an occasion by 25% in people who drink too much.
Are you one of the millions of American’s that drinks too much? The 2010 US dietary guidelines recommend:
- Don’t start drinking or drink more often because of potential health benefits.
- If you do choose to drink, do so in moderation. This is defined as up to 1 drink a day for women or 2 for men.
- Don’t drink at all if you are under age 21, pregnant or may be pregnant, or have health problems that could be made worse by drinking.
Some questions you can use to assess your own drinking include:
- Have you struggled to cut-down your intake or quit?
- Have you been annoyed that others (including friends and family) think that you drink too much?
- Have you felt guilty about your drinking or the consequences of it?
- Do you wake up in the morning and have a drink to start the day (an ‘eye opener’)?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions or are worried about your drinking you should speak with your primary care doctor or set up an appointment to speak with a behavioral health professional.
There are many treatment options from individual counseling, support groups and group therapy to inpatient and outpatient detoxification. The first step is speaking with your doctor about your drinking.
Please share this information with anyone you think might find it helpful.