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Screening essential to determine treatment among heavy drinkers

Screening essential to determine treatment among heavy drinkers

March 16 | By CAAH Team

“Alcohol, taken in sufficient quantities, may produce all the effects of drunkenness.”

― Oscar Wilde

The above quote certainly highlights that irrespective of the amount of alcohol one consumes, drinking in all circumstances is dangerous and harmful. However, overindulgence in drinking in all circumstances elevates the risk of developing alcohol-related complications. Moreover, it impedes the management of the overall health conditions.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), men who drink more than four standard drinks in a day or more than 14 per week and women who drink more than three in a day or more than seven per week are susceptible to alcohol-related problems.

However, response to alcohol can vary from person to person, such inconsistencies can be attributed to many factors, such as age, gender, coexisting conditions and the involvement of medication. In addition, there are no known safe levels of alcohol consumption; therefore, it is imperative for pregnant women and other vulnerable sections to abstain from any consumption of alcohol.

Screening for heavy drinking

The NIAAA, an appendage of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has produced a guide to assist primary and mental health clinicians in screening an individual’s alcohol consumption. As such, screening has become the mainstay of preventive health care; however, screening for alcohol-related problems is comparatively a recent practice. Besides increased effectiveness of screening, several other reasons that stress upon the need for such screenings are:

  • Other ailments arising due to heavy drinking: Roughly three out of 10 adults in the United States consume alcohol at a rate which increases their risk for developing physical, mental health and social problems. Compared to others, heavy drinkers face a greater risk of hypertension, gastrointestinal bleeding, sleep disorders, major depression, hemorrhagic stroke, cirrhosis of the liver and several types of cancer; one in four heavy drinkers currently has the problem of alcohol abuse or dependence.
  • Heavy drinking often remains undetected: According to a study pertaining to primary care practices, it was found that only patients with alcohol dependence received only 10.5 percent of the recommended medical care that comprises assessment and referral to treatment. Such loopholes in care have essential impacts on the health of the American people.
  • Heavy drinkers more receptive and open to change: Patients with alcohol dependence are more likely to not object to being screened for alcohol use. In fact, patients who screen positive for heavy drinking or alcohol use disorders (AUD) display motivation and readiness to embrace sobriety, a trend exhibited by those who have the most serious alcohol-related symptoms.

Think before drinking

One of the best ways to quit alcohol is to start the recovery process by taking small manageable steps to reduce the amount of alcohol being consumed. Some of the strategies to reduce alcohol intake are keeping a track of each drink, familiarizing oneself with standard drink sizes, setting goals, ensuring intervals between drinks, avoiding drinks on an empty stomach and avoiding triggers.

As such, cravings for alcohol can manifest every now and then, particularly during social occasions and at the familiar places of drinking. In the light of these challenges, it is important to plan ahead about the ways to address cravings before they occur. In addition, one can also remove alcohol bottles from accessible places at home and avoid the company of people who can rekindle the urge to drink.

If you or your loved one has developed alcohol addiction, connect to the Colorado Alcohol Addiction Help to access the best alcohol addiction treatment in Colorado, which specializes in delivering evidence-based intervention plans. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-592-9261 to know more about the alcohol addiction treatment centers in Colorado.

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