Canada gets new guidelines to recognize and treat high-risk drinking – CBC

More than half of Canadians aged 15 and older drink more than recommended, new paper shows

Oct 16, 2023

At half a bottle of wine a day, Lynn thought of herself as a “casual drinker.” The 53-year-old Vancouver resident owns a small business where socializing with alcohol is common.

When she began experiencing symptoms of depression, she chalked it up to social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. She got a prescription for antidepressants, but after a few months she saw no sign of improvement.

She did, however, find herself craving alcohol more often.

“I was drinking faster, I was drinking more,” she recalled. “I was getting up to go to the liquor store to start my day.” (CBC News agreed not to use Lynn’s last name because she feared the stigma associated with alcohol use disorder would hurt her business.)

Two papers published in CMAJ Monday underscore the dangers that high-risk alcohol use can pose to people like Lynn. The first explains that high-risk drinking often goes unrecognized and offers guidelines for treating it. And the second shows that certain kinds of antidepressants can drive some alcohol users to drink more.

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