When lockdowns and stay-at-home orders were implemented in multiple US states as a means to strategically avert causalities caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) transmission, alcohol sales increased dramatically for the last week of March 2020.
Nearly a week later, the World Health Organization declared that alcohol use during the pandemic could possibly increase with regards to health issues as well as associated risk-taking attitudes.
This article seeks to underline the affect alcohol addiction has left during these difficult times in our history, as well as ways to find release from the pressure of lockdown and improve your recovery chances via the right substance rehabilitation help.
Alcohol Addiction and COVID-19
Alcohol addiction can be defined as an excessive alcohol consumption and sometimes losing control over one’s alcohol intake.
Having an addiction to alcohol is one of the most prominent mental disorders around the word. At the same time, it is also one of the most stigmatized in modern society
During the start of the pandemic, people with an addiction to alcohol were confirmed to be at a bigger risk of contracting the deadly virus not only due to the harmful impact the substance has on their health but also because of its relation to homelessness or arrests.
It is for this reason vital, especially under these unique circumstances, that those who need help because of their alcohol abuse receive even more help and support than they would when there is no lockdown.
General Myths about Alcohol and COVID-19
Misinformation had been circulating around social media and other outlets, and many myths emerged regarding alcohol consumption and the Coronavirus pandemic. The most prevalent being:
Consuming alcohol kills COVID-19
Drinking alcohol will not eliminate the virus, and its consumption would only add to the health risks if a person becomes infected with the virus. Highly concentrated alcohol is only effective as a disinfectant when applied to your skin, externally, but has no effect on the virus when ingested.
Alcohol boosts your immune system and resistance to the virus
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, and as such negatively affects many functions of the human body system. It will not increase immunity and resistance against the virus. In fact, it has been advised that you avoid alcohol in order for you to not undermine the functionality of your own immune system.
Alcohol Addiction and Social Distancing
The recommendations regarding social distancing during the pandemic, had posed profound and significant challenges to treatment services. Social support is extremely beneficial for assisting people who want to recover or prevent an increase in alcohol consumption.
Recovery programs that are designed on peer support, as well as multiple behavioral therapies, have been successful for people who battle to maintain their sobriety or to limit their alcohol intake.
During the course of the pandemic, in-person gatherings for this form of treatment have been problematic. Those who are in recovery or those seeking help as a first-step could benefit from online support group meetings.
Continuous online social interactions have had a positive effect in many instances, improving moods and decreasing the use of alcohol as a coping mechanism.
Exercising social distancing does not mean that you have to socially isolate yourself. There are many proven methods that can assist in discovering positive ways to handle stress while decreasing the likelihood of resorting to alcohol.
Treating Alcohol Addiction Opened a New Market
While saving countries from increasing losses every year, combating alcohol addiction during the pandemic provided an “economic benefit”.
A recent report suggested that the international trading capacity for treating alcohol and nicotine addiction increased $4.7 billion in 2020. It is expected to increase to $5.1 billion in 2021 and reach the astonishing $7.9 billion by 2026. Countries and businesses who invest in finding solutions are said to benefit the most.
Signs of Alcohol Addiction
During these trying times, one should be weary of any alcohol intake. Seek help if you, or anyone you know, exhibit these signs of alcohol addiction:
- Dramatic increases in alcohol consumption
- Worry and concerns shown by family or friends
- Sleep patterns that have changed
- When drinking interferes with everyday life or becomes a priority
Getting Help for Alcohol Addiction
The world is in a challenging state right now with COVID-19, however there is help available. Getting to grips with all the available treatment options is the first step. From behavioural therapy to medication to support groups – the options are many. One thing is certain, though – receiving treatment can improve your chances of beating alcohol addiction. It is possible, even during the heaviest of lockdowns.