Get real about your stress and alcohol use

Monday, November 18, 2019

It starts often starts with a glass of wine to unwind after a rough day. Then it takes 2 to get the same relaxing buzz. Before you know it, it could be a bottle an evening.

Stress and alcohol use are separate issues, but they are commonly tied and can impact your health. We hope you’ll feel comfortable discussing concerns with your doctor.

We all deal with stress. Some stress is even good for you. Research shows short-term stress can boost focus and performance. Chronic stress, however, has a negative effect on the body and mental health.

Too much stress can lead to physical and behavioral health problems, including alcohol abuse and dependence. An estimated 21 million Americans are suffering from untreated addiction.

Alcohol use can be a way to escape stress. It can also be used to “self-medicate” for depression and anxiety. People’s reactions to alcohol vary, depending on their age, physical condition, and family history of alcohol problems.

Alcohol abuse includes binge drinking and/or heavy drinking. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines binge drinking as 4 or more drinks on a single occasion for women and 5 or more for men. Heavy drinking is considered 8 or more drinks in a week for women and 15 or more for men.

Alcohol dependence, or addiction, occurs when someone drinks often and becomes so reliant on alcohol that they suffer withdrawal symptoms when they don’t drink. Unlike other substances, alcohol withdrawal can be fatal.

If you are concerned about stress, substance abuse, or other behavioral health conditions, Premera can help. Your plan has benefits for mental health.

You can also take an assessment online to see if your alcohol use or stress level is problematic.

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