Alcohol Awareness Month is an awareness campaign designed to provide education on the risks associated with alcohol use. People consume alcohol for a number of reasons. Some people socialize with alcoh

ol while others drink to relax or even celebrate. No matter the reason, it is extremely important to understand the short and long-term impacts that excessive alcohol consumption can have on a person’s life.

A variety of factors contribute to the different effects we see from person to person: the amount of alcohol consumed, how often alcohol is consumed, age, health status and family history. Whether drinking on a single occasion or over time, drinking too much can contribute to health problems and weaken the immune system.

According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking at an early age, genetics, family history of alcohol problems, and mental health conditions increases a person’s risk for developing Alcohol Use Disorder.

The Mayo Clinic describes unhealthy alcohol use as any alcohol use that puts your health or safety at risk or causes other alcohol-related problems. It also includes binge drinking; a pattern of drinking where a male consumes five or more drinks within two hours or a female drinks at least four drinks within two hours. Binge drinking causes significant health and safety risks.

One way to prevent alcohol-related problems is to learn about standard drink units and better understand what constitutes a “drink.”

(Photo Credit: Courtesy Photo) VIEW ORIGINAL

It is important to understand that factors such as height, weight, body fat content, muscle mass, hydration level and other factors interact with the amount of alcohol being consumed. Consuming standard drinks decreases alcohol-associated risks. The image above provides examples of standard drinks.

Some tips for reducing alcohol-related risks include staying within the limits provided by the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, taking steps to be safe or quitting drinking.

For tools and strategies to help cut back on drinking, visit https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/Thinking-about-a-change/

If you or a family member is concerned about your drinking, contact your local Army Substance Abuse Program staff or speak with your medical provider.

For more information on ANAD’s Army Substance Abuse Program, contact me at 256-741-5804.