April is Alcohol Awareness Month, a time to spread awareness about alcohol, alcoholism, and recovery. This month and movement not only serves as general awareness, but an opportunity for individuals to seek counsel and treatment with no judgment. Awareness has grown so much that the National Institution of Health started National Alcohol Screening Day, which is held every year on the Thursday of the first full week of April, allowing for free screenings of one’s alcohol usage.
Alcohol intake isn’t bad; however, excessive levels of consumption are very problematic and cause serious short and long term effects. Some of these may include the following:
- Slurring of speech
- Emotional changes
- Sleep disruption
- Loss of bladder control
- Temporary loss of consciousness
- Death of brain cells
- Liver damage, which may result in cirrhosis (medical condition that may require liver transplant)
- High BP
- Memory problems (e.g. dementia)
- Cancer of liver, colon, throat
- Alcohol dependence (i.e. alcoholism)
While these effects are damaging they can easily be prevented when drinking responsibly. The online medical news outlet, VeryWell, published an excerpt on how to drink responsibly. Some of the main takeaways are:
- Establish a drinking goal
- Identify if you’re a suitable candidate for controlled drinking then establish a goal (i.e. Only drinking on weekends/events)
- Calculate your limit
- Discover your limit based on your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) and keep track while consuming
- Purchase alcohol in small, measured amounts
- Don’t buy in bulk, purchase individual cans or bottles
- Pace yourself
- Remember your drink limit and coincide that with the pace with which you consume. Drink water and eat snacks in between as well.
- Watch for peer pressure
- Learn how to say no, and don’t stick around people encouraging you to drink too much.
As with most things, moderation is key. As you prepare for spring picnics and barbeques, always remember to drink responsibly, and most importantly, moderately. Talk with your R-Health doctor if you need help calculating your BAC level, or if you have questions on what’s best to consume for your body. Also, check out National Alcohol Screening Day this week, on the 6th and 7th.