Blog

Apr5
2017

National Alcohol Screening Day: Take Your Free Screening

By To Write Love on Her Arms

Screening for Mental Health (SMH) provides innovative mental health and substance use resources, linking those in need with quality treatment options. SMH programs, offered online and in-person, educate, raise awareness, and screen individuals for common mental health disorders and suicide.

Below is a Q&A with Screening for Mental Health, Inc.

What is National Alcohol Screening Day? How did it come about?

National Alcohol Screening Day is an annual campaign, held this year on April 7, to raise awareness for those living with alcohol or substance use disorders, and to provide the public with free, anonymous behavioral health screenings at http://howdoyouscore.org/.

National Alcohol Screening Day was started to help individuals assess their drinking and substance use patterns and get connected to resources for treatment and recovery.

Is there an age limit on who can take the screening? Is there a cost involved with taking the screening?

The screenings are for adults, 18 years of age or older. The screenings are provided to the public for free at http://howdoyouscore.org/.

What happens after I take the screening? Are there results?

Yes, after answering a series of questions, the person taking the screening will then be provided with results that let them know if their answers are consistent with an alcohol or substance use disorder. All results also include a listing of local resources so the person can find more information or seek treatment, regardless of how they score.

Can I take these results to a doctor or counselor?

Yes. Sometimes it can be difficult to start a conversation with your physician or a counselor about what you may be experiencing. The results are a great way to start that conversation.

How do I talk with someone about my substance use?

It can be difficult to talk about your substance use with others because of the stigma surrounding the disorder. However, if you haven’t told anyone, it’s good to find at least one person to confide in and talk to about your diagnosis. If you’re seeing a counselor or therapist, ask them for tips on how to discuss your substance use with others. It’s important to know that substance use is treatable and that you are working to get better.

Is it appropriate to ask someone if they are dealing with substance abuse?

It’s always appropriate to reach out to a friend or loved one if you are concerned about them. Sometimes it can be difficult to know what to say, but instead of coming right out and asking about substance use, you may say, “I have been concerned about you,” or “You don’t seem yourself lately and I wondered how you are doing.” The best thing is to try to start the conversation and then just listen to them. You can also ask how you can support them and if they’ve ever thought of getting help.

Are there things to look out for that may be indicators that a friend or family member is struggling with substance abuse?

Every substance produces a range of symptoms that indicate abuse. For example, those that abuse cocaine may behave differently from someone who abuses alcohol. However, there are certain behavioral and and psychological signs that are common among those that abuse alcohol or drugs.

  • Spending increasing amounts of time alone
  • Disappearing for extended periods of time without explanation
  • Spending time with new people
  • Promising to change behavior
  • Frequently changing moods
  • Experiencing fits of violence or rage

If you are concerned for a loved one, you can take a mental or behavioral health screening on their behalf or encourage them to take a screening at http://howdoyouscore.org/. If your loved one is talking about suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or go to the nearest emergency room.

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