According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 38 million Americans consume too much alcohol. The measurement was 15 or more drinks in a week for men or 8 or more drinks in a week for women.
The CDC Vital Signs report also said that only 1 in 6 adults are asked about their drinking by their doctors. It goes on to read, “Talking with a patient about their alcohol use is an important first step in screening and counseling, which has been proven effective in helping people who drink too much to drink less.”
While most people who drink too much aren’t considered alcoholics, their behavior costs tens of thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars each year. We wrote earlier about the importance of screening and brief intervention from primary care physicians, and this updated information from the CDC helps prove the point.
“Drinking too much alcohol has many more health risks than most people realize,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Alcohol screening and brief counseling can help people set realistic goals for themselves and achieve those goals. Health care workers can provide this service to more patients and involve communities to help people avoid dangerous levels of drinking.”
Heavy alcohol consumption can lead to heart disease, breast cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancy, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, sudden infant death syndrome, motor-vehicle crashes, and violence. Alcohol screening and brief intervention can help reduce drinking by 25% alone.
While the report specifies interactions with doctors, brief interventions can be helpful from many other people as well, including nurses, teachers, employers, counselors, pastors, parents, and more. If you have a loved one whose drinking is beyond control, contact us today for more information about more focused and effective alcohol intervention strategies.