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April is Alcohol Awareness Month. Did you know the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines heavy drinking as eight or more drinks per week for women, and 15 or more drinks per week for men? This week, we have Jacalynn Romeyn, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor at Whitney Young Health's Outpatient Substance Use Program Program (FACTS) to discuss the dangers of over drinking.

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This April during Alcohol Awareness Month, Whitney Young Health's Outpatient Substance Use Program (FACTS) encourages you to educate yourself and your loved ones about the dangers of drinking too much.

Alcohol is a legal substance that is seen everywhere- restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, etc. However, alcohol use can become problematic when over consumed. How do you know if your drinking habits have become risky?

Basically: Too Much + Too Often = Too Risky

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More specifically, at risk or heaving drinking is considered:

  • For Men: More than 4 drinks on any day or 14 per week
  • For Women: More than 3 drinks on any day or 7 per week

There are many risks involved in drinking too much or too often such as an increase in injuries, health problems, birth defects, and/or developing an alcohol use disorder.

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An alcohol use disorder has many symptoms and is diagnosed when alcohol use causes distress or harm. Symptoms include:

  • Drinking more, or longer, than you intended
  • More than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn't
  • More than once gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unsafe sex)
  • Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want or found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before
  • Continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem or after having had a memory blackout
  • Spent a lot of time drinking or being sick or getting over other aftereffects
  • Continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends
  • Found that drinking—or being sick from drinking—often interfered with taking care of your home or family or caused job trouble or school problems
  • Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink
  • More than once gotten arrested, been held at a police station, or had other legal problems because of your drinking
  • Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, restlessness, nausea, sweating, a racing heart, or a seizure? Or sensed things that were not there

If you are concerned about your alcohol intake, WYH's FACTS Outpatient Substance Use Program offers:

  • Comprehensive Assessments
  • Individual and Family Counseling
  • Group Counseling
  • Substance Use Education
  • Post Discharge Continuing Care
  • Integrated Care Coordination
  • Medication Assisted Treatment

If you or someone you know has a substance use issue, Whitney Young Health can help. To learn more about our Outpatient Substance Use Program (FACTS), please call 518-465-9345

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Sources: https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/ 

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