April showers not only bring May flowers but also brings awareness to the issue of alcohol use. April is National Alcohol Awareness Month; bringing attention to the most widely used substance in the United States. 17.6 million people suffer from some form of an alcohol use disorder while many more engage in risky drinking patterns that have the potential to create negative consequences later on in life.
While many people can consume alcohol in a responsible manner, it can be difficult to determine when alcohol use has become a serious problem. Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine if intervention may be required.
In the past year, have you….
- Had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer, than you intended?
- More than once, wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t?
- Spent a lot of time drinking? Or being sick or getting over the aftereffects?
- Wanted to drink so badly you couldn’t think of anything else?
- Found that drinking-or being sick from drinking-often interfered with taking care of your home or family? Or caused job and/or school troubles?
- Continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?
- Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink?
- More than once gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unsafe sex)?
- Continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem? Or after having had a memory blackout?
- Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want? Or found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before?
- Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, restlessness, nausea, sweating, a racing heart, or a seizure? Or sensed things that were not there?
If you answered yes to at least two of these questions, seek assistance from a licensed professional. For more information, contact:
- The Nebraska Family Helpline: 1-888-866-8660
- Alcoholics Anonymous (Area 41 NE): 1-877-226-3632
- Al-Anon/Alateen Nebraska (for families/friends of alcoholics): 402-477-9662 (Lincoln) or 402-553-5033 (Omaha)