Alcohol Use: How Do I Know When to be Concerned?

 In Colorado Spirit

Welcome to the Weekly Well-Being Connection! Each week we will share advice from our clinical experts on ways to care for your mental health and well-being throughout COVID-19. 

Many thanks to Colorado Spirit team member, Ally Burdick, for writing this week’s post.

In our monthly employee wellness newsletter, I was reading a post about April being Alcohol Awareness Month. The goal of the month is to raise awareness about alcohol use and address stigma. This got the Colorado Spirit Team at AllHealth Network thinking about how this year is different than past years. We know that the pandemic, COVID-19 restrictions, and high levels of community stress can all contribute to higher levels of alcohol use.

To support awareness we wanted to share a few common warning signs that someone’s alcohol use pattern might be a concern:

  • Temporary blackouts or short-term memory loss
  • Irritability or extreme mood swings
  • Choosing drinking over other responsibilities or obligations
  • Withdrawing from friends and family

This site lists additional warning signs and a screening tool known as CAGE that can help us explore our drinking behavior.

While these warning signs seem straightforward, we know that there are many gray areas. This hour long podcast by Dr. Nzinga Harrison is a great listen. Even if you don’t have an hour to listen to the podcast, we recommend checking out the link as Dr. Harrison shares several great resources.

If you or a loved one is concerned about alcohol use, there are a few things that might be helpful:

  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a National Helpline that can offer referrals to treatment options and basic information. They can be accessed 24/7/365 by calling 1-800-662-HELP (4357). They also list several helpful resources on their webpage .
  • There are lots of support groups available. Many of these groups are meeting online and are free. Eleanor Health offers a variety of free online support groups. Apps like Pink Cloud can help locate 12 step programs in your area.

This site offers tools to help us explore our alcohol use and some strategies that can help when we are thinking about making a change.

Would speaking to someone help?

To speak with someone in the Colorado Spirit Program about stress related to the pandemic, please call 720-707-6789 or visit our web page at www.allhealthnetwork.org/Colorado-Spirit

For information about other services at AllHealth Network or to get connected with ongoing behavioral health support, please call: 303-730-8858.

AllHealth Network is continuing to provide service via telehealth or by phone and our Crisis Walk-in Center remains open 24/7. To learn more about what other community mental health centers are doing, please visit The Colorado Behavioral Health Council COVID-19 website.

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis and are in need of immediate assistance, please call the Colorado Crisis Hotline at 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or text TALK to 38255.

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