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Alcohol drinking causes about 88,000 deaths in the United States each year, and costs the economy about $224 billion annually. According to the January vital signs edition of the Atlanta based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 38 million adults drink too much and most are not alcoholics. The excessive use of alcohol makes it the 3rd leading lifestyle-related cause of death for the nation. (www.cdc.gov)
Drinking too much includes binge drinking, high weekly use, and any alcohol use by pregnant women or those under age 21. In the report from Atlanta Center for Disease Control and Prevention, binge drinking is described as five or more alcoholic drinks for men and for women four or more drinks in about two to three hours. Most people who binge drink are not alcoholics or alcohol dependent. Heavy drinking is defined as consuming more than 1 drink per day on average for women and for men, more than 2 drinks per day on average.
Also stated in the Atlanta Center for Disease Control and Prevention report is that despite the wide use of alcohol, only one in six people has talked with their doctor or other health care professional about alcohol use. Doctors, nurses and other health care professionals are being advised to screen all adult patients and to counsel those who may be drinking too much.
The report also advises doctors and healthcare professionals to use a set of questions to screen all patients for how much and how often they drink. Counseling patients about the health dangers of drinking too much, including women who are (or might be) pregnant is a recommendation. Referrals for the few patients who need specialized treatment for their alcohol dependence should be administered.
The report also notes that the Affordable Care Act requires new health insurance plans to cover this service without a co-payment.
Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle
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