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National Alcohol Screening Day

by James Heller 18. March 2009 12:31
April, 2009 marks the 22nd year of Alcohol Awareness Month.  

Tarzana Treatment Centers is participating with a series of articles meant to inform and educate the general public about alcohol abuse, dependence and treatment.  Considering that over 21 million Americans meet the criteria for alcohol abuse and over 53 million admit to past-month binge drinking, not to mention the many loved ones affected by each, our efforts are worthwhile.

National Alcohol Screening Day (NASD), on April 9th, 2009, is a key annual event during Alcohol Awareness Month.  The focus this year is on college students, “…designed to call attention to the impact that alcohol has on overall health on a national level.  The program aims to encourage students to take a look at the way they use alcohol, so that they may take steps to reduce their alcohol intake if necessary.”  For more information, and how to participate, go to the NASD website.

Below are some points of interest about alcohol as listed on the NASD website:

What is a Standard Drink?

A standard drink contains about 14 grams (about 0.6 fluid ounces of pure alcohol. Below are some approximate drink equivalents:

  • 12 oz. of beer or cooler
  • 8-9 oz. of malt liquor
  • 5 oz. of table wine
  • 3-4 oz. of fortified wine
  • 2-3 oz. of cordial, liqueur or aperitif
  • 1.5 oz. of brandy or spirits

Types of Alcohol Problems
  • Relatively low levels of alcohol consumption may increase risk for motor vehicle crashes, medication interactions, fetal effects, strokes caused by bleeding, and certain cancers.
  • Alcohol use disorders include alcohol dependence (known as alcoholism) and alcohol abuse.
  • Alcohol abuse is characterized by clinically significant impairment or distress but does not entail physical dependence.
  • Alcohol dependence (alcoholism) is characterized by 10 diagnostic criteria according to the DSM-IV. These criteria include: impaired control over drinking, tolerance, withdrawal syndrome when alcohol is removed, neglect of normal activities for drinking, and continued drinking despite recurrent related physical or psychological problems.

Who Has An Alcohol Problem?

  • 25 percent of U.S. children are exposed to alcohol abuse or dependence in the family.
  • Alcohol abuse and dependence is more common among males than females and decrease with aging.


Harmful Effects of Alcohol

  • Alcohol use contributes to a range of chronic health consequences including cancer and cardiovascular disease.
  • Alcohol use has been associated with increased risk of traumatic injury including: motor vehicle crashes, bicycling accidents, pedestrians, falls, fires, injuries in sports and recreational activities, interpersonal violence, and self–inflicted injuries.

Alcohol and Women

  • Women are more vulnerable than men to many of the medical consequences of alcohol use. Alcoholic women develop cirrhosis, damage of the heart muscle (i.e., cardiomyopathy), and nerves (i.e., peripheral neuropathy) after fewer years of heavy drinking than alcoholic men.
  • Women develop organ damage faster, and at lower levels of alcohol consumption then men. This is because a woman’s body generally has less water than a man’s causing their blood alcohol content to reach higher level, faster.
  • Alcohol use may affect female reproductive. Adolescent girls who consume even moderate amounts of alcohol may experience disrupted growth and puberty. Heavy drinking in adult women can disrupt normal menstrual cycling and reproductive functions. Alcohol abuse and alcoholism can cause women to suffer from infertility, increased risk for spontaneous abortion, and impaired fetal growth and development
  • Women overall drink less than men but are more likely to experience adverse consequences including damage to the heart muscle, liver, and brain, trauma resulting from auto crashes, interpersonal violence, and death.
  • The progression of alcoholism appears to be faster in women than in men.

Alcohol and Older Drinkers

  • Alcohol-related problems, including interactions with prescription and over-the counter drugs, account for most of the substance related problems experienced by older adults.
  • Heavy alcohol consumption is known to result in memory deficits. Heavy alcohol consumption also may increase the risk for Alzheimer’s disease in both genders and in women in particular, as they appear to be more vulnerable than men to alcohol–induced brain damage.
  • Because of age-related body changes, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recommends that older drinkers consume no more than one drink a day.

Alcohol and Youth

  • Young persons reporting first use of alcohol before age 15 were more than 5 times as likely to have past alcohol dependence or abuse compared with persons who first used alcohol at age 21 or older (16 % vs. 3%) .
  • Almost 40% of high school seniors perceive no great risk in consuming four to five drinks nearly every day.

Alcohol and College Students

  • 1700 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes.
  • Nearly 600,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are unintentionally injured under the influence of alcohol.
  • Nearly 700,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted each year by another student who has been drinking.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles makes a daily effort to find treatment news articles that we can share with our readers in the alcohol and drug treatment community.  The article above was found at http://www.nationalalcoholscreeningday.org/index.aspx among others of equal informational and educational quality.