SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – Have you wondered whether alcohol is beginning to negatively impact your life, or that of a loved one? Are you concerned about the number of drinks you are consuming each week, or perhaps you’re binging alcohol on the weekends? Are you worried about the impact of alcohol on your relationships, your work, your involvement in the criminal justice system, or your overall health?
Vermonters consume more alcohol than the national average, according to the Vermont Department of Health’s website. Alcohol is the most abused substance in Vermont, and Vermont deaths due to the overuse of alcohol doubled from 2017 to 2021. These statistics can be found at http://www.wcax.com/2023/02/08/vermont-alcohol-report-shows-increase-deaths.
Health Care and Rehabilitation Services (HCRS), southeastern Vermont’s community mental health agency, provides substance use services and is available to help residents of Windham and Windsor counties who want to reduce their alcohol use.
According to HCRS CEO George Karabakakis, Ph.D., “We have seen an increase in people seeking services since the Covid pandemic. Community members have experienced increased stress due to anxiety, isolation, and other impacts of the pandemic, resulting in their turning to alcohol.”
There are a variety of risks associated with excessive alcohol use, including injury from vehicle accidents, falls, violence, and poisoning, just to name a few. Long-term health risks include high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, depression, anxiety, and memory problems.
HCRS works with clients to look at how they think, make decisions, engage in relationships, address self-care, and set boundaries with others, opening people up to possibilities for change.
Experienced and licensed HCRS counselors are available to help people examine how alcohol use affects their life. In a respectful, confidential, and non-threatening manner, staff help clients to set their own goals, create strategies to achieve them, and help them to understand and change their relationship with alcohol.
April is Alcohol Awareness Month. Organized by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence in 1987, this awareness event was designed to educate people on the dangers of alcohol, as well as reduce the stigma which often prevents people from seeking help.
To receive alcohol services in southeastern Vermont, reach out to HCRS by calling their toll-free line. The number for the Springfield area is 855-220-9429. You can also view their website, www.hcrs.org, for more information.
Founded in 1967, HCRS is a non-profit, community mental health agency serving Vermonters in Windham and Windsor counties. HCRS serves over 4,000 individuals every year through its mental health, substance use, and developmental disability programs. The agency provides holistic care for its clients, supporting them with employment, housing, transportation, and other social service needs.