Did you know that April is Alcohol Awareness Month? Throughout April, we’re building awareness and understanding to reduce the stigma of alcoholism and alcohol-related issues, and to talk about alcohol screenings.
Did you know that “an estimated 88,000 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol related causes annually, making alcohol the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States?”  Alcohol misuse can also complicate other chronic conditions, and it puts the elderly at increased risk of a hospital stay. According to the National Council on Alcoholism, alcohol or drug problems are the cause of 6-11% of elderly hospital admissions, and “14 percent of elderly emergency room admissions.” 
Why We Ask
Early identification is the key to stop alcohol misuse. That’s why we ask. It’s our job to help ensure you have the best health possible. Knowing about alcohol use is a key factor in your overall health because alcohol use can affect so many pieces of your health care.
How We Screen
An alcohol screening is easy and is sometimes combined with your annual wellness visit. One of our staff members (e.g., nurse, doctor) uses approved, evidence-based screening tools to ask you a few questions about your drinking habits. If your drinking habits are within a defined normal range, then no further action is needed. If your responses indicate alcohol is being misused, we may ask a few more questions and work together to develop a plan to cut down on your alcohol consumption. We know that identifying alcohol misuse early on can prevent alcoholism and lead to better health outcomes.
How Much is Too Much Alcohol?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have created a great infographic that show what is considered a drink, and how much you can drink safely. 
Share this story with friends, family, and on social media to help all of us here at Horizon Family Medical Group to encourage safe alcohol consumption (use #AlcoholAwarenessMonth).