April 5th is National Alcohol Screening Day in the US. The day aims to raise awareness about alcohol misuse and refer individuals with alcohol problems for further treatment.
But who has an alcohol problem? Here are a few stats:
- Between 2001 and 2002, 8.5% of adult Americans (17.6 million) met DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for either alcohol dependence or alcohol abuse.
- Between 2001 and 2002, the prevalence of alcohol abuse was highest among Native Americans (5.75%) followed by Whites (5.10%), Blacks (3.29%), Hispanics (3.9%), and Asians (2.13%).
- Alcohol abuse and dependence is more common among males than females and decreases with aging.
- 25% of U.S. children are exposed to alcohol abuse or dependence in the family.
And while we’ve talked about the different effect that alcohol has on women on this blog, it’s worth repeating:
- The progression of alcoholism appears to be faster in women than in men.
- 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 health. 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.
Do you have concerns about your drinking? Take an anonymous online screening now. Help is out there, if you need it. If you are in Maine, call Crossroads at 207.773.9931. We can help you sort things out.