A time to assess drinking habits
April is Alcohol Awareness Month

Terri Anderson
Army Substance Abuse Program prevention coordinator

April is National Alcohol Awareness Month. If you are like many military and civilian personnel, you may drink alcohol occasionally or you may drink moderate amounts of alcohol on a more regular basis.

If you are a woman or someone over the age of 65, this means that you should have no more than one drink per day; if you are a man, this means that you have no more than two drinks per day. Drinking at these levels is considered social drinking. It is usually not associated with health risks and can help to prevent certain forms of heart disease, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Alcohol abuse often results in problems in the workplace, legal difficulties and has a negative impact on the family. These individuals continue to drink despite the knowledge that their drinking causes them serious emotional and psychological problems.

The term alcoholism refers to dependence and usually consists of at least three of seven symptoms experienced within one year. These include repeated unsuccessful attempts to stop or cut down, need for increased amounts of alcohol (tolerance), or symptoms of withdrawal when stopping drinking (physical dependence). An alcoholic is someone whose drinking is interfering with their normal behavior or is drinking to feel normal.

So what is a drink? It’s 12 ounces of regular 3.2 proof American beer; 5 ounces of American wine and 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits. German products have a higher alcohol content.

The serving size is based on differences between men and women in both weight and metabolism. And women should be aware that they generally tend to get tipsy faster and stay high longer than men matching them drink for drink.

Drinking and driving remains a problem within the military community. Germany lowered the blood alcohol concentrations for DWIs to 0.05 last year. The BAC refers to the amount of alcohol in the blood. And, if property damage or bodily harm occurs, the rate is lowered to 0.03.

Alcohol Awareness Month is an opportunity to assess your drinking habits. If you or someone you love is concerned about your drinking, call the Army Substance Abuse Program at Landstuhl for a free assessment at 486-1710. Air Force personnel should call the Ramstein Lifeskills Support Center at 479-2390.