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Drug and alcohol use is on the rise

March 11, 2022 | Mental Health | Healthy You

Glass of red wine next to a bottle and open book

Learn healthy ways to manage your mental health.

The pandemic took a toll on all of us.

We’re still discovering the lasting impacts that COVID-19 has left on our communities, our families, and our physical and mental health. Unfortunately, many of the ways that we coped with the grief of a pandemic and the social isolation that we experienced are still causing health concerns today.

Now is the time to take control of your health and address any concerning coping mechanisms that you may have developed during the pandemic.

The American Medical Association recently reported that heavy alcohol consumption among adults during the pandemic increased substantially. They also reported an exponential increase in substance use. Studies suggest that nearly 1 in 5 adults is consuming an unhealthy amount of alcohol and that the frequency of alcohol consumption increased by over 14%.

The effects of excessive alcohol consumption on your health cannot be overstated. Heavy drinking, even if only for a short period of time, can seriously impact your health. And the longer the consumption continues, the more dangerous it can be. Among other things, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Liver disease
  • Mental health concerns such as depression and anxiety
  • Weakened immune system
  • Several types of cancer

The most important thing to know is that alcohol and substance abuse is not something to be ashamed of. Just as PeaceHealth treats physical conditions such as hypertension and diabetes, we can do the same with substance abuse. But in order for that to happen, you need to ask for help.

Be sure to schedule an appointment with your primary care provider if you are concerned with your alcohol consumption or are struggling with substance use. If you are in urgent need of assistance, call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

For many, especially those who are prone to challenges with alcohol and substance abuse, grief, loss and isolation during the pandemic exacerbated the problem. Here are a few tips to help cope with these concerns:

  • Never be afraid to reach out and ask for help from someone you trust.
  • Try out a new hobby or exercise that makes you happy.
  • Remember that it’s OK not to be OK.

PeaceHealth is here to partner with you in your journey to good health