Tag Archives: alcohol

National Alcohol Screening Day is April 7

Approximately 14 million Americans have alcohol disorders. As prevalent as the disorder is, much can be done to assist those who are dependent on alcohol, and their loved ones.

In 1999, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration partnered to create a community-based intervention to target alcohol abuse: National Alcohol Screening Day (NASD). Screening is held annually on the first Thursday of the first full week of April. For 2016, screening will be held on April 7. NASD’s objectives include:

  • Educating the public on the effect of alcohol on overall health
  • Administering anonymous, free alcohol screenings to the public
  • Providing referrals for those whose screening determined their drinking is at an unhealthy level

Thousands of organizations nationwide offer either on-site and online screenings to college students, military personnel, and the general public. Each organization receives the appropriate resources to help them conduct the program, such as videos, posters, educational handouts, and screening forms. On the day of screening, a 10-question screening scale is administered that was developed to identify those who consume alcohol at hazardous or harmful levels. Those who score above a specified cut-off score are referred for further evaluation or treatment.

Those interested can get started by visiting the website, How Do You Score? There they can take an anonymous self-assessment or search for on-site screening locations, which are located in screening centers across the United States. Those who are screened will be asked a series of questions to determine whether symptoms of alcohol abuse are present and whether medical help is required. At the end of the session, they receive immediate feedback and will be provided resources to assist them in getting the help they need.

At-risk drinking can be identified based on how much a person drinks on any given day, and how often a person has a heavy drinking day. In general, the following limits identify at-risk drinking:

  • Men: More than 4 drinks in a day or 14 per week
  • Women: More than 3 drinks in a day or 7 per week

As with any illness, early detection is the key to increasing chances of swift recovery. Alcohol abuse is misunderstood and is, therefore, often not considered a legitimate disorder that can be treated. National recognition goes a long way toward educating the public and reducing the negative effects of alcohol abuse for those affected and their families.

Share your thoughts on alcohol abuse risks and screening. PAR wants to hear from you, so leave a comment and join the conversation!

Share this post: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Everything in Moderation

We are used to thinking of alcohol dependence as black or white: Either someone is or isn’t an alcoholic. Dr. John Mariani, who researches substance abuse at Columbia University, says that the field of psychiatry now recognizes shades of gray between someone who doesn’t drink at all and someone who suffers from an alcohol addiction.

At least 38 million adults drink too much. Binge drinking, high weekly use, and any alcohol use by pregnant women or people under the age of 21 are included in this category. In the United States each year, about 88,000 deaths are alcohol related, and alcohol abuse costs the U.S. economy about $224 billion each year.

A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that 90% of excessive drinkers were unlikely to need addiction treatment, and another revealed that only 1 in 6 adults talk with their doctor, nurse, or other health professional about their drinking. Among adults who binge drink 10 times or more a month, only 1 in 3 have discussed drinking. And only 17% of pregnant women have talked about drinking.

The CDC recommends that physicians and other health providers include basic alcohol screening and brief counseling as part of routine medical practice by:

  • talking directly with patients about how much and how often they drink;
  • providing information about the health dangers of drinking too much;
  • offering options for patients who may want to stop drinking, cut down, maintain their current level of drinking, or seek further help; and
  • referring patients who need specialized treatment for alcohol dependence.

Screening and brief counseling have been proven to work by reducing how much alcohol a person drinks on an occasion by 25% and by improving health and saving money in the same way that blood pressure screening, flu vaccines, and cholesterol or breast cancer screening do.

Drinker’s Checkup, an online confidential screening tool, is a good resource to share with clients; it provides detailed, objective feedback for people who aren’t sure whether their drinking is excessive and provides help with making a decision about whether to change drinking habits. An app called Moderate Drinking can be downloaded to help monitor drinking habits; its effectiveness has been demonstrated in a study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

Share this post: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone