Alcohol Awareness Month focuses on abuse|
Posted 4/17/2009 Updated 4/17/2009
by Capt. (Dr.) Chad Morrow
42nd Medical Operations Squadron
4/17/2009 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- When many people think of alcohol abusers, they picture teenagers sneaking drinks before high school football games or at unsupervised parties. However, alcohol abuse is prevalent within many demographic groups in the United States.
People who abuse alcohol can include the following; young military members who are hanging out in the "dorms", professionals who drink after a long day of work, or senior citizens who drink out of loneliness. To recognize the serious problem of alcohol abuse, April is designated "Alcohol Awareness Month."
There are several warning signs that would suggest alcohol abuse/misuse, including drinking alone when you feel angry or sad; being late or absent from work due to the effects of alcohol; friends or family have indicated they are concerned about your drinking; drinking even after telling yourself you won't; forgetting what you did while you were drinking; periods of headaches or a hang-over after drinking; or past failed attempts to decrease your alcohol use
To combat/prevent alcohol abuse/misuse, the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment, or ADAPT, program offers the following recommendations.
- Decide what you want from drinking alcohol. Think about the pros and cons (short and long-term) for moderating your use versus maintaining your usual drinking behavior.
- Set drinking limits. What's your upper limit on the number of drinks you consume per week? At what point do you decide you've had enough (consider a blood alcohol level limit)? What's the maximum number of days for drinking you will choose to give yourself? Use standard guidelines to determine what constitutes one drink as in 1.25 ounces of 80-proof liquor, 4 ounces of wine, 10 ounces of beer with 5 percent alcohol (microbrews and "ice" beer), or 12 ounces of beer with 4 percent alcohol (standard beer).
- Count your drinks and monitor your drinking behavior. Try it! Most people are surprised by what they learn when they actually count how much they drink. Simply observe your behavior. This is like standing outside yourself and watching how you are acting when you are drinking. Some people put the bottle caps in their pockets while drinking to monitor how many beers they have had. You can also make tick marks with a pen on a napkin to monitor the number of drinks.
- Alter how and what you drink. Switch to drinks that contain less alcohol as in light beers. Slow down your pace of drinking. Space drinks further apart. Alternate drinking non-alcoholic beverages with alcoholic drinks.
- Manage your drinking in the moment. Stay awake and on top of how you drink and what you're drinking when you're at a party. Choose what's right for you and ask a close friend to help you monitor (preferably the friend that doesn't think being drunk is cool and cooler with company).
- Safe drinking guidelines. For women, no more than three drinks a day with no more than nine drinks a week; for men, no more than 4 drinks a day with no more than 14 drinks a week.
If you suspect that you might have a drinking problem, or you know someone who abuses/misuses alcohol, please contact the ADAPT program at 953-5430, Captain Morrow or Master Sgt. Tammy Stiles.