How has COVID-19 Affected Alcoholism?

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You have probably seen a meme or two about alcohol consumption during quarantine from the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the world. Many have taken to social media to post jokes about day-drinking, often accompanied by selfies, Zoom happy hours, and more. The coronavirus has left many people working from home and not having much else to do, often leading to having a beer, or two, or three, because why not? The impact of this pandemic on alcoholism has been immense. Understanding the reasons behind it and educating others about the dangers of drinking too much may help stop this sudden increase in alcohol abuse in the United States. 

Myths Surrounding Alcohol and COVID-19

There have been rumors flying around social media concerning drinking alcohol and how it can protect against COVID-19. The majority of these are false, according to the World Health Organization. The WHO states that alcohol does not kill the coronavirus, and people that are consuming alcohol, especially in large quantities, are more likely to get infected because of the impact on the immune system. Alcohol does not work as a disinfectant, and therefore will have no protective powers against the coronavirus. It is also a popular belief that alcohol will help immunity and increase a person’s resistance to COVID-19. This is also a false claim, as alcohol has a harmful effect on the immune system, giving just the opposite effect of an improved immune system. 

Alcohol and Quarantine

Countries all over the world have implemented quarantine measures on their citizens to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The periods and criteria of each quarantine differ by country, but generally, they last for weeks or months at a time. This has led to many people losing jobs or working from home, which leads to being stuck inside all day with not much to do. This leads to many to day-drink, having a glass of wine with lunch or a beer as they complete their work. The longer quarantine goes on; the more likely people are to drink during the day to cope with boredom, the stress of being at home, and stress related to the negative news of what is going on in the world. This has caused a spike in alcohol abuse and alcoholism all around the world. 

The Dangers of Alcohol and COVID-19

Alcohol use disorders are more common compared to other types of addiction simply because alcohol is legal. Anyone of age can simply go to the store and buy as much as they want without anyone batting an eye. This is dangerous in the time of a pandemic because those struggling with alcohol abuse have a higher risk of contracting COVID-19. This is because of the impact alcohol has on a person’s health, as well as the fact that those with alcohol use disorders are more likely to be homeless or incarcerated, according to the World Health Organization. This increases their risk of exposure and raises the urgency of needing to seek help for alcohol abuse. 

Tips for Cutting Down on Alcohol Consumption in Quarantine

Stick to General Workplace Rules

If you are working from home during the pandemic, try to stick to your workplace rules. Stick to the same hours if possible to continue getting your work done,and don’t drink. This includes during lunch, because you should still be able to complete your work in a timely fashion with the proper quality after lunch. If you are drinking, especially excessively, you won’t be able to do your work as you should. Stick to the general rules and don’t drink during the day. 

Find Other Ways to Cope With Stress

The pandemic is stressful for everyone around the world. There is constant news of people dying every day. Many are in lockdown stuck in their homes, and life as we know it hasn’t been the same for months. It is understandable to be stressed. However, you don’t have to use alcohol as a coping mechanism for this stress. Find alternative healthy ways to cope with stress, such as exercising, meditating, and taking part in sober activities to distract yourself. Consider keeping a journal to write down your stressful feelings rather than numbing them with alcohol. 

Try an Online Support Group or Therapy

Many things that used to involve meeting in person have now moved online. If you are struggling with drinking, mental health, stress, or other negative things in your life, consider joining an online support group. This will allow you to talk with others that are struggling with similar problems. You can gain advice from them and lean on them for support. If you need to talk to a professional, consider joining an online therapy site. This is generally cheaper than in-person sessions, and you can receive the help you need at a safe distance away during the pandemic. 

Flip Your Perspective

While some may view this sudden extended period of free time as an excuse to drink more, try to change your perspective and use this time to cut down on drinking. Fill your time with sober activities you enjoy such as learning new recipes, exercising, watching documentaries, reading a book, and more. Track your progress and see how successful you can be in cutting down your alcohol consumption. 

The 2020 pandemic has been hard on everyone around the world. At Northstar Transitions, we have seen our fair share of clients dealing with alcoholism and alcohol abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic. The quarantine has been hard on everyone, so it is understandable why so many are turning to alcohol to deal with the feelings of loneliness, depression, grief, etc. However, dispelling the myths and rumors about alcohol protecting against COVID-19 and explaining the dangers may help cut back on its usage. We hope to educate people on the importance of sobriety in these stressful times. While a pandemic is full of uncertainty and despair, it is not worth your health and the risk of addiction to drink every day in quarantine. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol abuse during COVID-19, contact us today at (303) 558-6400. These unique circumstances don’t mean there isn’t help available. Together we can put you back on a healthy track.

 


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