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Do You Know Your Drinking IQ?

Friday, April 9, 2010 Alcohol & Drug Abuse News J E 4
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Military installations worldwide invite service members and their families to assess their alcohol use by taking an anonymous alcohol screening at www.DrinkingIQ.org

WELLESLEY HILLS, Mass., April 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In recognition of Alcohol Awareness Month, Military Pathways, a Department of Defense (DoD) funded initiative, is encouraging service members and their families to take an anonymous online alcohol assessment in an effort to raise awareness on the consequences of at-risk drinking and the signs of an alcohol problem. The screenings are available online at www.DrinkingIQ.org as well as at events held at military installations.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20100408/DC83538)

"Occasional alcohol use can cause few if any problems. However, at-risk or heavy drinking can impact all aspects of a Service member's life, including health and family," says Lt Col Hans Ritschard, Force Health Protection & Readiness Programs, Director of Psychological Health Strategic Operations. "Screening is the first step in assessing whether someone should reduce alcohol consumption or get help in doing so."

Consequences of at-risk drinking:

In addition to the online screenings, military installations worldwide will be holding in-person education and awareness events. Educational materials, promotional items including posters and sports water bottles with the DrinkingIQ website, and screening forms are available throughout the year. To learn more or find an event near you, visit www.MilitaryPathways.org.

About Military Pathways

Military Pathways gives service personnel and their families the opportunity to learn more about mental health and alcohol use through anonymous self-assessments offered online, via telephone, and through events held at installations. The program is designed to help individuals identify symptoms and access assistance before a problem becomes serious. The self-assessments address alcohol use, PTSD, depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and bipolar disorder. After completing a self-assessment, individuals receive referral information including Tricare, Military OneSource and Veterans Affairs. The program is run by the nonprofit Screening for Mental Health(Ū) and is fully funded by Force Health Protection and Readiness, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Health Affairs.

-- Injuries. Drinking too much increases chances of being injured or killed. Alcohol is a factor in 60% of fatal burn injuries, drownings, and homicides; 50% of severe trauma injuries and sexual assaults; and 40% of fatal motor vehicle crashes, suicides, and fatal falls. -- Health problems. Heavy drinkers have a greater risk of liver disease, heart disease, sleep disorders, depression, stroke, and several types of cancer. They may have problems managing diabetes, high blood pressure, and other conditions. -- Birth defects. Drinking during pregnancy can cause brain damage and other serious problems in the baby. It is not known whether any amount of alcohol is safe; women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should not drink. -- Alcohol use disorders. Generally known as alcoholism and alcohol abuse, alcohol use disorders are medical conditions that doctors can diagnose when a patient's drinking causes distress or harm. In the US, about 18 million people have an alcohol use disorder. (Source: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2010)

SOURCE Screening for Mental Health
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