Do you sometimes wonder whether you might be drinking more alcohol than is good for you?
Many people are now drinking more during the COVID pandemic—with its social isolation, stress, job loss, and grief. And while a drink may relax us initially, as we drink more, it can lead to distress, poor sleep, and over time less control over our drinking.
“Many people slowly increase alcohol use over time,” says Katharine Bradley, MD, MPH, a senior investigator at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute. “Unfortunately—above a certain level—drinking can cause changes in the brain that make it harder to cut down.”
Dr. Bradley and her team conduct research on ways to help people cut down or stop drinking when they want to. The team produced a booklet called Options for people who are thinking about their drinking, which helps people assess their goals and outlines 4 options that help people change. They are: 1) medications, 2) counseling, 3) peer support, and 4) specialized addiction treatment.
A pdf of the booklet is available for free online and Kaiser Permanente Washington providers will soon be able to order a print version to be sent to their patients.
The booklet also offers tips for people who want to make changes on their own—which is also often successful:
With a passion for primary care and teaching, she aims to make high quality patient-centered care for substance use issues part of mainstream medical practice