April is Alcohol Awareness Month and a good time to talk about the signs of alcohol and drug abuse.
Dr. Amy Khan with Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah says, "Across the U.S., many healthcare providers have been concerned that the stress and anxiety due to COVID-19 could lead to increase use of alcohol and other drugs."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that 13-percent of Americans either started or increased their use of addictive substances as a way to cope with the pandemic.
"Alcohol and drug use problems can have devastating impacts on individuals, their families and our communities," says Khan.
Efforts in Utah to address the state's opioid epidemic have been successful, but Khan says continued vigilance on that front is needed.
Khan says these are the key signs that someone you know may be struggling with addiction:
- Using alcohol or drugs while driving, operating machinery, or on the job.
- Continuing to use, despite wanting to stop.
- Neglecting responsibilities and missing appointments or social events.
- Becoming depressed or losing long-term motivation.
- Developing significant problems in close relationships.
- Continued use of a painkiller past a recovery period or while no longer prescribed.
"Long-term, recovery from addiction is quite attainable. It involves a multi-dimensional approach that includes developing skills to cope with life on life’s terms, as well as developing a social and emotional network of support," says Khan.
Don't forget, there is help out there. In fact, Regence has teamed up with Boulder Care for addiction treatment available 24/7 through virtual visits.
Additional local and national resources include:
- USARA - Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness
- Utahstrong@utah.gov / 800-273-TALK (8255)
- SAMHSA / Distress Hotline 800-985-5990
- National Helpline: 800-662-HELP (4357) – treatment referral and info, 24/7
You can also reach out to your healthcare provider directly to find out what resources they have available to you.
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