YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Mercy Health announced Monday that the health care system has seen an uptick in alcoholism in the Valley due to the pandemic.

The health system says it is more important than ever to ensure strong information, awareness and resource opportunities are given about alcohol use disorder.

While alcohol consumption in moderation is safe for most people, it can cross the line into a disease or disorder when it begins to cause impairment in someone’s social and physical health or in their personal life.

“When patients are regularly consuming enough alcohol to make them feel ill or impaired, or if they are having to consume alcohol in order to function in their normal activities, that’s when it’s time to seek help,” said John Sorboro, MD, ABPN, head addiction medicine services physician for Mercy Health – Youngstown.

Examples of such physical health impairment are acid reflux, difficulty sleeping and liver impairment. Drinking can also increase the risk of cancer. Other signs of alcohol consumption dependency can include temptation, interpersonal conflicts and missing work.

The National Institue on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recommends no more than seven drinks per week for women and 14 drinks per week for men.

Your local 211 can help you identify available services, including counseling or substance use disorder treatment programs. Whether you know that you or someone you care about needs help, or are unsure, reach out to 211 as an easy first step.