April is Alcohol Awareness Month―a time when the nation focuses on the prevention, intervention, and treatment of alcohol-related problems. This year there is good news. Over the last decade, there has been a steady decline in past-month, or current, drinking by adolescents and young adults. We also have seen similar declines in binge and heavy drinking among young people. However, we should not ignore the slight upticks in past-month use among 16- to 20-year-olds. These changes are important because they include drinking among college students. In short, it’s a problem we need to be talking about.
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More than 2 million young adults will soon begin their first year of college. Right now, students and their families are busy packing dorm supplies, reading course catalogs, and otherwise preparing to send a young adult off to college. But what else should families do to ensure that their loved one actually succeeds in college? One answer is to talk with them about avoiding underage drinking during college.
Alcohol problems are alarmingly common in the general population. Between 10 and 20 percent of patients seen in primary care or hospital settings have a diagnosable alcohol use disorder. However, there are treatment options available.Many addiction experts believe that patients with moderate or severe alcohol-related problems should routinely be offered medication-assisted treatment. Unfortunately, current evidence shows that medications are underused in the treatment of alcohol use disorders. In fact, of the 18.0 million people who met the criteria for alcohol dependence or abuse in 2013, only 1.4 million received any type of treatment (excluding mutual-help groups)—ranging from a single meeting with a counselor to participation in a specialized treatment program.
From September 21-27, we celebrate Bisexuality Awareness Week. In honor of this upcoming event, I’d like to talk about the “B” in the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community. Did you know that, of all those who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, half identify as bisexual? That means the “B” the largest segment of the LGBT community.