Do you sometimes wonder whether you might be drinking too much? While a drink may relax us initially, drinking more can lead to stress, poor sleep, and less control over our drinking long term.
“Many people slowly increase alcohol use over time,” said Katharine Bradley, MD, MPH, a senior investigator at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI). “Unfortunately — above a certain level — drinking can cause changes in the brain that make it harder to cut down.”
Bradley and her team conduct research on ways to help people cut down on alcohol use 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 5 options that can help them make changes. They are: (1) counseling, (2) medications, (3) peer support, (4) group-based alcohol treatment programs, and (5) making changes on their own (which many people do successfully).
Anyone can access an online version of the booklet, which is also featured on the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism website. Another helpful option for Kaiser Permanente Washington members: Kaiser Permanente clinicians can order the booklet to be sent directly to patients. This allows patients to write notes in the booklet to take to an appointment. (Kaiser Permanente Washington clinicians: Search “Alcohol booklet” on Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect.)
Thinking about making changes to your drinking? Here are some tips from the booklet to help you get started:
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