Alcohol Use Increasing During Pandemic
“Alcoholic beverage sales rose by 55% in late March, when many states and public health officials urged residents to stay at home, compared to sales in 2019.” (According to USC News https://news.usc.edu/168549/covid-19-alcohol-sales-abuse-stress-relapse-usc-experts/).
This translates into more people turning to alcohol to cope with sheltering-in-place and the COVID-19 pandemic as a whole. While moderate alcohol consumption can yield health benefits according to many health experts, over-consumption leads to many mental and physical health problems.
Alcohol is very available just about everywhere. It reduces anxiety quickly. It’s socially acceptable to use. There are many ways to make alcoholic drinks tasty and inviting. The draw to use alcohol to cope with anxiety, stress, and to escape despair for a while makes sense.
So, how do you know if your alcohol consumption is becoming a problem?
These are the questions you should consider answering to determine whether or not you may have problems with your alcohol consumption. Have you...
· Had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer than you intended?
· More than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t?
· Spent a lot of time drinking? Or being sick or getting over the aftereffects?
· Experienced craving — a strong need, or urge, to drink?
· Found that drinking — or being sick from drinking — often interfered with taking care of your home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems?
· Continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?
· Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink?
· More than once gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unsafe sex)?
· Continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem? Or after having had a memory blackout?
· Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want? Or found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before?
· Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating? Or sensed things that were not there?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you should pay attention to the relationship you have with alcohol. If you answered “yes” to more than 1 of these questions, you meet current criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder. You can judge the severity on this scale:
Mild: You answered “yes” to 2 to 3 questions Moderate: You answered “yes” to 4 to 5 questions Severe: You answered “yes” to 6 or more questions
If you believe you are having problems with alcohol here are some hotlines you can call:
National Helpline Number – 1-844-289-0879 Alcoholics Anonymous Number – 1-212-870-3400 National Association for Children of Alcoholics – 1-888-554-COAS (2627) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – 1-800-662-HELP (4357) National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) – 1-800-NCA-CALL (622-2255)
Also, you can feel free to reach out to me by commenting on this post or by sending me a private message.