Are you drinking too much? Alcohol Awareness Warning Signs.

Are you drinking too much? Alcohol Awareness Warning Signs.

Since 1987 Alcohol Awareness Month has been practiced to draw attention to the cause and effect that alcohol has on individuals and their families. Hot to deal with problematic drinking has also been a part of this national educational movement.

What is considered a “drink”?

Refilling the same glass over and over again is not having one drink. U.S. standard drink sizes:

  • 12 ounces of 5% alcohol by volume beer
  • 8 ounces of 7% alcohol by volume malt liquor
  • 5 ounces of 12% alcohol by volume wine
  • 5 ounces of 40% alcohol by volume (80-proof) distilled spirits or liquor (examples: gin, rum, vodka, whiskey)

Why do we need to be aware?

AS AN ADULT

An estimated 14.4 million Americans ages 18 and older had an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) and each year, an estimated 90,000 people die from alcohol-related causes annually.

AS A PARENT

Family policies about adolescent drinking in the home and the way parents themselves drink are important. The CDC reports that excessive underage drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among our youth each year.

The program started with the targeted college-age students who abused alcohol as part of their newfound freedom. The problem has grown to a much younger audience. When high school students were asked about their activities during the previous 30 days, 33% said they drank some amount of alcohol, 18% reported binge drinking, and 8% said that they drove after drinking alcohol. Moreover, more than 90% of the alcohol consumed by young people is in the form of binge drinking.

The CDC defines binge drinking as a drinking pattern that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration to 0.08% or above. Binge drinking means consuming five or more drinks in about two hours for someone who is biologically male, or four or more drinks for someone who is biologically female.

The younger a person is when they start drinking, the greater the likelihood of an alcohol problem later in life.

  • 1/3 of the population does not drink or has low levels of use.
  • 1/3 drink socially and in moderate levels.
  • 1/3 are heavy, dangerously risky drinkers.

Practice Mindful Drinking- This middle-ground methodology empowers you to build healthier drinking behaviors without having to abstain entirely from alcohol. Alcohol awareness and mindful drinking go hand-in-hand simply because mindful drinking encourages you to be continually aware of the impact of alcohol in your life and reflect on the reasons you drink.

What is considered moderation?

  • Up to 1 drink a day for women.
  • Up to 2 drinks a day for men.

Short-term effects of alcohol can include:

  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Poor social judgment.
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Loss of coordination
  • Loss of critical judgements.
  • Dulled perception, especially vision.
  • Mood swings.
  • Reduced core body temperature.
  • Raised blood pressure.
  • Passing out.

 

Long-Term Effects Of Alcohol on the Body

  • Diminished gray and white matter in the brain.
  • Memory loss.
  • Loss of attention span.
  • Trouble learning.
  • Alcoholic hepatitis.
  • Liver fibrosis.
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Systemic Inflammation of the body.
  • Throat, mouth, larynx, breast, liver, colorectal, or esophageal cancer.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Cardiomyopathy.
  • Stroke.
  • Irregular heartbeat.

 

Many people claim they drink to fight depression, however, alcohol acts as a depressant.

Mental effects may include mood changes, decreased inhibitions, relaxation, impaired judgment, slowed reaction times, difficulty remembering, confusion, and loss of consciousness. Excessive alcohol use can lead to alcohol-induced psychiatric syndromes, such as alcohol-induced depressive disorder, alcohol-induced bipolar disorder, alcohol-induced sleep disorder, alcohol-induced psychotic disorder, and more. These disorders are temporary and can occur after significant intoxication and/or withdrawal.

Alcohol Use Disorder is also linked to several mental illnesses which can develop separately from the disorder and may even predate it, such as major depression, some anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and others. These disorders may increase the likelihood of alcohol-related issues, possibly due, in part, to using alcohol as a self-medicating substance. There also may be common underlying risk factors that increase the likelihood of both substance use disorders and mental illnesses.

Need help getting yourself or someone else in a healthier place? You are far from alone. Acknowledging a problem and seeking a solution is a first, positive step toward emotional wellness and peace of mind.

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