Alcohol abuse on the rise following COVID-19 pandemic


Mercy Health offers support during Alcohol Awareness Month

Submitted story



Rodney

Rodney


SPRINGFIELD – Mercy Health – Springfield is seeing a rise in patients battling substance abuse issues, leading them to sound the alarm this April, also known as Alcohol Awareness Month. The health system says due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to ensure strong information, awareness and resource opportunities are given about alcohol use disorder.

“COVID-19 has played a large role within alcohol consumption and abuse. More patients are using alcohol as a coping mechanism and staying inside their houses to do so. The pandemic has created an abundance of stress and anxiety troubles, leading more people to drinking,” explained Dr. Denise Rodney of Mercy Health – South Limestone Family Medicine.

Overall, alcohol consumption in moderation is safe for most people. However, it can cross the line into a disease or disorder when it begins to cause impairment in one’s social and physical health – or in their personal life.

“When patients are regularly consuming enough alcohol to make them feel ill or impaired, or if they are having to consume alcohol in order to function in their normal activities, that’s when it’s time to seek help.”

Examples of such physical health impairment are acid reflux, difficulty sleeping and liver impairment. Drinking can also increase the risk of cancer. Other signs of alcohol consumption dependency can include temptation, inter-personal conflicts and missing work.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recommends no more than seven drinks per week for females, and 14 drinks per week for males. Anyone who finds themselves consuming more than that or experiencing other symptoms of alcoholism should start by talking to their doctor.

“Just tell them you’re concerned about your alcohol use and be honest about how much you’re drinking. Ask questions – everyone is different and there are a lot of treatment options, but your doctor can help you develop a tailored approach to ensure you get the type of help you need whether that be counseling or medication or something else,” explained Dr. Rodney.

While there is some stigma around alcohol use and disorder, professional help really can make all the difference.

“Many people believe it’s just as easy to quit drinking as it is to start, but it really comes down to the brain,” said Dr. Rodney. “Drinking turns off the excitatory neurons, quieting the brain and releasing dopamine. It can make those who drink feel better than usual, but the constant release of dopamine becomes addictive, which is why many people can’t stop on their own. It’s become a brain disorder.”

Mercy Health – Springfield’s REACH (Recovery, Education, Advocacy, Care and Hope) Services team supports individuals struggling with addiction and works with them to help reclaim their lives. Services range from outpatient care including assessments and counseling, to detoxification, medication-assisted treatment, and other support services. To learn more, visit mercy.com.

Rodney
https://www.urbanacitizen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/36/2022/04/web1_Denise-Rodney.jpgRodney
Mercy Health offers support during Alcohol Awareness Month

Submitted story

Info from Mercy Health – Springfield of Bon Secours Mercy Health – one of the 20 largest health systems in the United States and the fifth-largest Catholic health system in the country.

Info from Mercy Health – Springfield of Bon Secours Mercy Health - one of the 20 largest health systems in the United States and the fifth-largest Catholic health system in the country.