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Wed April 11, 2012

DUPAGE COUNTY-The DuPage County Health Department is using Alcohol Awareness Month in April to remind residents to "Think Before You Drink." Three out of 10 adults drink more than the low-risk limit.

Drinking in moderation is generally safe. That means no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men.

A standard drink is any drink that contains 0.6 ounces (or 1.2 tablespoons) of pure alcohol. Generally, this amount of pure alcohol is found in:

·         12 ounces of regular beer or wine cooler

·         8 ounces of malt liquor

·         5 ounces of wine

·         1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, whiskey)

Drinking is a problem if it causes trouble with your health, in your relationships, at work or school, in social activities, or in how you think. Warning signs of a possible problem include:

·         Drinking on a recurring basis (daily, weekends or in binges)

·         The need for more alcohol to produce an effect

·         Failed attempts to stop

·         Physical and/or emotional craving

·         Withdrawal symptoms

Not everyone who has problems with alcohol is an alcoholic. But you don't have to be an alcoholic to suffer serious effects from drinking. Alcohol abuse is any pattern of drinking that negatively impacts your life. Long-term alcohol abuse can turn into alcohol dependence, or alcoholism, which is a chronic disease. The symptoms of alcohol abuse or dependence include:

·         Failure to fulfill major responsibilities at work, school or home

·         Drinking in dangerous situations, such as drinking while driving or operating machinery

·         Legal problems related to alcohol, such as being arrested for drinking while driving or for physically hurting someone while drunk

·         Continued drinking despite ongoing physical, psychological, or interpersonal problems that are caused or worsened by drinking

·         The inability to limit drinking


Alcohol abuse and dependency can lead to brain damage, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure and stroke. It can also increase other risks, including homicide or suicide, certain cancers, birth defects, and injuries or death from car crashes.

If you're concerned that you or someone you know has a problem, seek help from a doctor or other mental health professional. Don't delay; the sooner you seek help, the better.

For more information on the DuPage County Health Department, follow us on Twitter @DuPageHD or become a fan on Facebook.

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