Avoiding Risky Drinking - PDF Document

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  1. F E D E R A L O C C U P A T I O N A L H E A L T H Avoiding Risky Drinking Are your drinking habits putting your health and safety at risk? Learn how to recognize when your drinking has become a problem. TOO MUCH, TOO FAST: BINGE DRINKING In many cultures, drinking alcohol is a regular part of socializing and celebrating. However, alcohol can be a powerful drug, and consuming too much of it can put your safety and health—even your life—at risk. Long- term overindulgence can cause serious damage to your health. Additionally, alcohol can interact negatively with many common medications. drinking for women is: 1 “drink” or less per day; for men: 2 “drinks” or less per day; and for people 65 and older: 1 “drink” or less per day. A standard “drink” is generally equal to a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, a shot of distilled liquor, or a cocktail or mixed drink. Binge drinking is a dangerous pattern of drinking that can put your health and safety at serious risk. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as drinking that raises your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 percent2 or higher. TOO MUCH, TOO OFTEN: “AT-RISK” DRINKING According to the National Institutes of Health, “at risk” or “heavy” drinking for men is more than 4 standard drinks in one day or more than 14 standard drinks in one week. For women its more than 3 standard drinks in one day or more than 7 standard drinks in one week. TAKING A HEALTHY APPROACH A rough way to estimate this for women is: 4 or more standard “drinks” within 2 hours; for men: 5 or more standard “drinks” within 2 hours. If you don’t already drink, the recommendation from Dietary Guidelines for Americans1 is not to start. The reason for this is that even though there have been studies that show benefits to moderate drinking other studies have shown a link between moderate alcohol consumption and increased risk of violence, drowning, breast cancer, and injuries from falls and motor vehicle collisions. However, if you do drink, the recommendation for moderate FOH Publication 17.3133

  2. ALCOHOL DEPENDENCE member, please contact your EAP, or find resources through Al-Anon at al-anon.org. Alcohol dependence or alcoholism occurs when you have trouble controlling your use of alcohol and you need alcohol to function normally. Alcoholism is a serious condition and should be dealt with right away. REDUCING YOUR RISK If you don’t drink, don’t start. If you do drink, do so in moderation—that’s one standard “drink” or less per day if you’re a woman and two standard “drinks” or less per day if you’re a man. Depending on certain health and psychological conditions, you may still have problems even if you drink within these limits. Consult with a health care professional if you have any questions about whether or not you should drink. Some characteristics of alcohol dependence are: – Craving alcohol – Needing more drinks to get a euphoric feeling or “high” – Having a hard time controlling the number of drinks consumed, once you’ve started drinking 1 A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) publication – Having withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit The good news is that help is available from numerous sources. If you find that you have become dependent on alcohol, seek help immediately. There are counseling services through your EAP, a 24-hour help line through SAMHSA3 at 1-800-662-HELP (4357), or you can find your local chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous online at www.aa.org or by looking in your local phone book. If you’re concerned about a family 2 The legal limit for operating a noncommercial motor vehicle 3 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Another helpful resource is the National Institute of Health’s Rethinking Drinking at http://rethinkingdrinking.niaaa. nih.gov/. NOTES: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ FOH Publication 17.3133