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Alcoholism is the third leading lifestyle-related cause of death in the United States.

Throughout the month of April, health organizations such as, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), help raise awareness while reducing the stigma about alcohol abuse and how to take action to prevent it, both at home and in the community.

It's time to open the table for discussion

According to the NCADD, this year’s theme is, "Talk Early, Talk Often: Parents Can Make a Difference in Teen Alcohol Use," which focuses primarily on our youth and how opening up the dialogue between parent and child can be beneficial in the long run. Parents have a duty to teach their children the impact alcohol can play on their lives and the lives of others around them. Abusing alcohol can lead to disastrous consequences such as, traffic fatalities, violence, suicide, educational failure, alcohol overdose, unsafe sex, and other problematic behaviors.

Some may consider having this talk with their children to be daunting or out of their hands. On the contrary, research shows that parents having these types of discussions about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse with their kids leads them to be 50% less likely to use these substances compared to those who don't talk about it at all. Also, the longer children delay drinking and drug use, the less likely they are to develop issues associated to them.

Now use this month for a little self-reflecting

Ask yourself these questions next time you want to have a drink:

  • Why am I drinking? For the flavor? To change my mood? To fit in?
  • How much have I had to drink today? This week? This month?
  • Do I really want another alcoholic drink? Or do I feel pressured into drinking another?
  • Will drinking make the situation better? Or am I using it as an escape?

Getting the answers from these questions can help you cut back on drinking, especially for the wrong reasons, and even help you identify if you have a tendency to abuse alcohol. Be sure to talk to your primary care provider about your alcohol consumption at your next visit.

For more information and resources on Alcohol Awareness Month, go to https://www.ncadd.org/about-ncadd/events-awards/alcohol-awareness-month-2016

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