Addictive behaviors have been increasing nationally. Not just alcohol, but opioids too. The pandemic likely played a part. Socioeconomic issues could also contribute and there is a mental health crisis the country is yet to handle, said Anne Fernandez, associate professor in the Michigan Medicine Department of Psychiatry and a clinical psychologist with the health system’s addiction treatment services.
“People don’t think of it in terms of health consequences,” Fernandez said of alcohol, viewed differently than, say, cigarettes or illicit drug use.
They recognize the dangers of driving drunk and getting into a crash, but they don’t think about chronic use and the consequences, such as cancer or liver disease.
“So many patients, they’re so surprised when they develop liver disease. They don’t think it’s possible,” said Fernandez, who started with colleagues a multidisciplinary alcohol-related liver disease clinic.