|Alcohol: Sizing Up the Problem
Did you know that more youth in the US use alcohol than smoke tobacco or marijuana or use any illicit drug (source)?
It’s a problem across the age spectrum. This recent article by a physician highlights the fact that many people continue to see alcohol as problematic only when alcohol use fits outdated notions of alcoholism–which in and of itself is not actually a clinical term. People often associate alcohol problems with complete vagrancy, ignoring the fact that some of the riskiest drinking behaviors occur across the socioeconomic spectrum and don’t have to involve daily drinking.
There are many resources available to help folks size up their own use and help others to do the same.
Alcohol’s ubiquity as compared to other drugs can be an asset: after all, adults have many more opportunities to model appropriate and healthy drinking behavior (including sobriety) for youth. Having accurate information about what constitutes non-problematic alcohol use is essential.
For those who currently use alcohol:
This user-friendly resource dispels common myths about “healthy” alcohol use with simple and straight-forward information and quizzes. The information and quizzes can also be ordered in a handy pamphlet version to leave in offices or other public spaces.
Here are more self-assessments (including one specific to teens) which may also be helpful if you’re concerned about someone you know and wondering how to talk to them.