Thinking About Drinking

It's April, which means it's Alcohol Awareness Month. So, why not give an online screening a shot?

Have you ever wondered how much is “too much” when it comes to alcohol use?  Most American adults drink alcohol at some level, and a moderate amount of alcohol consumption is safe (and sometimes even healthy) for many.  But, excessive alcohol use is also a major cause of disease, injuries, violent crime, lost productivity, social issues, and relationship problems.  Many people who have developed a problem with alcohol, or others who may be at risk to develop one, don’t even realize that they have a problem.

Complicating this issue is that many people never really have honest conversations about the amount of alcohol that they use.  Alcohol use is so pervasive in American culture (we’re not kidding here -- almost 90% of American adults report that they have drunk alcohol in their lifetime, 70% report that they have drunk in the past year, and 56% report that they have drunk in the past month) that we often don’t stop to consider that there are low risk and high risk drinking behaviors. 

So, how do you know when you’re drinking in the “moderate amount” range, and are at a fairly low risk for drinking concerns; or if you’ve slipped into the realm of “excessive amount” where your risk for alcohol related problems is high?

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, making this the perfect time to ask yourself questions like:

  • Is the way I drink harming my health in any way?
  • How much do other people my age drink?
  • What is a level of alcohol use that is less risky?
  • How do I reduce my risk of developing alcohol related problems?  
  • Should I cut down on my drinking?   If so, how?

If you are curious about the amount of alcohol that you use, or about the impact that your relationship with alcohol has on your life, you can take a free and confidential screening test online right now: 

  • AlcoholScreening.org helps individuals assess their own alcohol consumption patterns to determine if their drinking is likely to be harming their health or increasing their risk for future harm. Through education and referral, the site urges those whose drinking is harmful or hazardous to take positive action, and informs all adults who consume alcohol about guidelines and caveats for lower-risk drinking.
  • HowDoYouScore.org is an anonymous screening tool meant to help raise awareness about harmful and dependent drinking behaviors and connects individuals who are at risk with treatment options.  It comes from Screening for Mental Health, Inc, and is associated with National Alcohol Screening Day on April 6th.

If, after taking one of these screenings you think that you might have a problem with alcohol, please know that there is help available for you right now.  You can check out our list of resources, or contact the MSU Employee Assistance Program if you are an employee at Michigan State University to have a discussion with a licensed professional.

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