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April marks alcohol awareness month

Capt. Jordan Simonson, 21st Medical Squadron, 50th Space Wing Director of Psychological Health, and Staff Sgt. Leslie Martin, NCOIC, Mental Health Element, operate the mental health section at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo.  For more information about scheduling an appointment or classes offered, please contact mental health at 567-4619 or ADAPT at 556-7804. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airman Naomi Griego)

Capt. Jordan Simonson, 21st Medical Squadron, 50th Space Wing Director of Psychological Health, and Staff Sgt. Leslie Martin, NCOIC, Mental Health Element, operate the mental health section at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. For more information about scheduling an appointment or classes offered, please contact mental health at 567-4619 or ADAPT at 556-7804. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airman Naomi Griego)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE Colo. -- Did you know alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States?

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, one in every 12 adults suffers from alcohol abuse or dependence. And 88,000 deaths are annually attributed to excessive alcohol use.

Capt. Jordan Simonson, 21st Medical Squadron, 50th Space Wing director of psychological health, hopes to combat those startling statistics through education and prevention.

"Alcohol awareness month is a time to take note of, and learn about, alcohol abuse," said Simonson. "We should challenge ourselves to take action to prevent alcohol related incidents and alcohol-related negative health outcomes."

Simonson encourages Team Schriever members to take the next step with action.
"We challenge you (Team Schriever) to record your drinking for a week, or cut your drinking in half," he added. "Or maybe even impose a limit on the amount of drinks you consume."

Simonson said a good rule of thumb for alcohol consumption is a limit of three drinks an evening and one drink an hour.

"Alcohol intoxication causes impaired judgment," Simonson said.

The mental health office offers programs for anyone who thinks they may want additional help and resources regarding the use of alcohol. The Air Force provides non-punitive assistance to members seeking help through the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program.

"The goal is to get members to self-identify prior to the member becoming involved in an alcohol related incident."

The mental health office wants members to get the help they need before their alcohol use becomes problematic.

"A good indication of alcohol abuse is if your alcohol use is causing some sort of impairment, whether it is at work or in your relationships," he added.

The mental health office understands, generally speaking, people who abuse alcohol are more likely to be coping with underlying circumstances. They hope to address these circumstances through their preventative classes such as their stress mastery and sleep enhancement class. 

They also offer mental health counseling to help members cope with mental health and substance abuse circumstances.

"Seek help as soon you think you have a problem," said Simonson. "There are services and treatment available."

For more information, please contact mental health at 567-4619 or the ADAPT program at 556-7804.

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