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April is Alcohol Awareness Month

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By Special to the Monitor

When  many people think of alcohol abusers, they picture teenagers sneaking drinks before high school football games or at unsupervised parties.

However, alcohol abuse is prevalent within many demographic groups in the United States.

People who abuse alcohol can be:

• College students who binge drink at local bars;

• Pregnant women who drink and put their babies at risk for fetal alcohol syndrome;

• Professionals who drink after a long day of work; and

• Senior citizens who drink out of loneliness.

In 2007, more than one fifth (23.3 percent) of persons aged 12 or older participated in binge drinking at least once in the 30 days prior to taking a national survey on drug use and health.

This translates to about 57.8 million people. The rate in 2007 is similar to the rate in 2006 (23.0 percent).

To recognize the serious problem of alcohol abuse, April is designated

“Alcohol Awareness Month.”

Warning signs of alcohol abuse include:

• Do you drink alone when you feel angry or sad?

• Does your drinking ever make you late for work?

• Does your drinking worry your family?

• Do you ever drink after telling yourself you won’t?

• Do you ever forget what you did while drinking?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may have a drinking problem. Check with your doctor to be sure. Your doctor will be able to tell you whether you should cut down or abstain.

If you are alcoholic or have other medical problems, you should not just cut down on your drinking--you should stop drinking completely.