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Alcohol Awareness Month

April has traditionally been designated Alcohol Awareness Month. As the weather gets warmer and it becomes time for B-B-Q’s, picnics, and Fiesta, I thought it would be a good time to discuss issues about alcohol use and abuse. I am very familiar with this subject and thought that by sharing my experiences, I might bring the issues a little closer to home.

My Grandpa and at least three of my uncles have had issues with alcohol. It has cost them jobs and relationships, and one his life. One thankfully quit drinking and has been a joy to be around and has been happily married to my aunt for the last 25+ years. For this reason, I make it a point to not drink too much—it just isn’t worth the risk to me.

So, how do you know if you drink too much? Answering “Yes” to any of the following questions may mean you have a problem with alcohol. 1) Do you drink alone when you feel angry or sad? 2) Does your drinking ever make you late for work? 3) Does your drinking worry your family? 4) Do you ever drink after telling yourself you won’t? 5) Do you ever forget what you did while drinking? 6) Do you get headaches or have a hangover after drinking?

If you, or someone you care about, can answer “Yes” to any of those questions, here are some ideas that might help. 1) Keep track of your drinking and set a drinking limit. 2) Try to avoid places where heavy drinking occurs. Yes, that may mean staying away from the party. 3) Ask for help from your doctor, family or friends. People who care about you will help you get the assistance you need. 4) If you keep alcohol in your home, keep only a limited supply. 

The screening questions we ask in our office often raise eyebrows of those who end up with high scores. It is a good opportunity to talk about alcohol and the effects it can have on a person’s health. Some aren’t ready to hear the message, but over time, I hope it can make a difference.

Michael Dominguez, MD, FAAFP is board certified in Family Medicine. His office is located at HealthTexas Medical Group, 590 N. General McMullen, 78228, phone: 210-249-0212.