How to Get Your Relationship with Alcohol under Control

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Playing Liver Transplants Increased by 50 Percent during the Pandemic?

Has the COVID pandemic caused you to drink more? The Doctors share alarming new liver transplant statistics and tips to help you get your relationship with alcohol under control.

The number of people needing a liver transplant has jumped by 50 percent during the pandemic. Nutrition specialist and internist Dr. Melina Jampolis says a study from the University of Michigan found a dramatic increase in alcoholic hepatitis liver-related transplants and they believe this is due to higher alcohol sales and people's increased drinking. 

She says historically someone who needed a liver transplant usually had a history of excessive drinking over the course of decades, but she stresses that alcoholic hepatitis can happen over a short period of time. Dr. Jampolis says alcoholic hepatitis -- which is inflammation of the vital organ caused by drinking too much alcohol -- can resolve on its own, but this study found 50 percent of the patients needed a transplant. She hopes these alarming statistics can serve as a wake-up call and cause people to take a hard look at just how much they are drinking and how often.

If you are feeling sluggish, moody, having brain fog, getting colds more often, your sleep is being impaired, or having digestive problems -- the nutrition specialist urges you to cut back on your alcohol consumption. Dr. Jampolis notes the most women should be drinking in a day is 1 drink, and 2 for men, and while she feels an occasional night of 2 drinks can be okay, the internist says excessive drinking (for example 7 drinks in a day or 3 drinks a day for multiple days in a row) is never advised.

So how can someone know if they are struggling with alcohol? Psychotherapist and author of “Soberful,” Veronica Valli notes most people tend to do 4 things: drink, think about drinking, think about not drinking, and recover from their drinking. 

To better control your drinking, she suggests starting a drink diary where you are honest about how much you are consuming each day (including the size of the pour) and also when you are drinking (Is it due to stress or in an attempt to help you sleep?... all of which are the wrong reasons, according to the psychotherapist). 

She notes enjoying a drink with a meal is one example of using alcohol properly, but says someone should not be drinking to manage feelings or sleep. Instead of alcohol, she suggests exercising, meditation, or mindfulness as a way to manage stress and improve your sleep. 

Additionally, she says group support can be an amazing tool to help get drinking under control. She suggests 12-step programs like AA, and also sober activity-based groups in your area -- like a sober book club or sober exercise group -- might be what you need. 

More resources and help finding treatment for alcohol abuse can be found here.

Watch: How to Assess if You Have a Healthy Relationship with Alcohol

Watch: Tips to Get Your Relationship to Alcohol under Control!

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Playing Tips to Get Your Relationship to Alcohol under Control!

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