“Alcohol abuse” and “alcohol dependence” are terms people use to describe excessive alcohol use. However, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) shines a light on the unhealthy alcohol use that is going on in our communities. It’s true that there are many people who have grown to depend on this substance. And, yes, this is a major problem. But, unhealthy drinking patterns don’t just exist in those who are drink too much. There are many people who may not necessarily depend on this substance but are still involved in unhealthy alcohol use. For example, women who are pregnant are advised to refrain from any type of alcohol consumption. Drinking during pregnancy is an example of unhealthy alcohol use although it’s not necessarily a sign of alcohol dependence.

Of course, the difference between unhealthy and excessive alcohol use doesn’t mean they aren’t major problems that should be treated. However, many individuals have noticed the problem of excessive alcohol use and dependence on this substance. But, not many people realize that unhealthy alcohol habits as a whole is still an issue in our communities. As a result of this issue, the USPSTF has recommended the screening of individuals who are 18 years of age or older, including women who are pregnant, to check for signs of unhealthy alcohol use. In addition to the screening, the task force suggests that, if signs of risky drinking patterns are found, the individual gets provided with professional guidance to deal with their substance use. This guidance can come in the form of “brief behavioral counseling interventions”.

Dealing With Unhealthy and Excessive Alcohol Use

As we mentioned earlier, there is a difference between overall unhealthy alcohol use and alcohol dependence. When a person has a problem with excessive alcohol use, he or she may develop a substance dependence problem. This issue is a type of unhealthy drinking. But, there are other categories of unhealthy use that doesn’t necessarily involve alcoholism. Again, women who drink while expecting are suffering from a problem with unhealthy alcohol use. This issue is also present in the lives of those who consume alcohol while using prescriptions such as sedatives, opioids, or benzos. Those who are suffering from viral conditions like HIV could also be at risk if they consume alcohol.

The USPSTF recommends primary care providers perform screenings on patients in order to make sure the individuals are not involved in unhealthy alcohol consumption. Research and studies point to an approach called SBIRT. This stands for “Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment”. This practice is used to spot and reduce a problem with unhealthy drinking. Again, if specialists discover this issue, the patient can receive guidance through a brief intervention. This intervention gives the individual the motivation and information he or she may need in order to take the steps to avoid unhealthy drinking habits altogether.

Overcoming Alcohol Use Problems

If a person does have a problem with unhealthy alcohol use, it’s important that he or she get professional help in order to end that problem. Here at Diablo Valley Drug and Alcohol Services, we work to not only help individuals become free, but remain free from substance abuse. It’s not easy to find the best help for these issues. Many people are unsure about whether or not professional treatment will really be able to help them. But, we want to help each of our clients find a life of sobriety and freedom from substance dependence. You don’t have to suffer from alcohol misuse or abuse anymore. Just contact us today to find out how we can help you overcome this problem.

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