According to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 3.5% of US adults have been dependent on alcohol in the past year and 10.2% of those who drink in excess are considered dependent on alcohol.
Excessive drinking includes binge drinking and heavy drinking and is responsible for 1 in 10 deaths among working-aged Americans ages 20-64. Binge drinking is defined as five or more drinks on one occasion for men or four or more drinks on one occasion for women. For men, heavy drinking is defined as consuming 15 drinks or more per week and for women, 8 drinks or more per week.
Excessive drinking can put individuals at risk of developing alcohol use disorder (AUD) in addition to other health problems. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that approximately 17 million adults in the United States, ages 18 and older, had AUD in 2012. This includes 11.2 million men and 5.7 million women. To be diagnosed with Alcohol Use Disorder, individuals must meet certain diagnostic criteria. Some of that criteria includes:
- Problems controlling intake of alcohol
- Continued use of alcohol despite problems resulting from drinking
- Developing a tolerance
- Drinking that leads to risky situations
Mental health screenings were created in recognition of the need for individuals to identify early symptoms of alcohol and substance use, as well as, mental illness. A recent study published in Health Services Research showed that the timely screening and treatment of mental health problems may prevent the development of substance use disorders.
National Alcohol Screening Day, April 6th, raises awareness about alcohol and substance use disorders, while providing the public with screening and treatment resources. To help individuals assess their drinking and substance use patterns, the nonprofit, Screening for Mental Health, is promoting www.HowDoYouScore.org. The online resource offers anonymous screenings for alcohol and substance use, as well as, resources for treatment and recovery.
Mental health and substance use disorders are common and can be serious, but they are also treatable. Screenings are an effective first step and follow-up with a mental health clinician can make recovery possible. Share www.HowDoYouScore.org with a loved one to help increase awareness of these co-occurring disorders.
Screening for Mental Health provides innovative mental health and substance use resources, linking those in need with quality treatment options. Screening for Mental Health’s programs, offered online and in-person, educate, raise awareness, and screen individuals for common mental health disorders and suicide.