Drinking During COVID-19
Maybe it’s time to put the beer can and the wine glass down.
Alcohol consumption, among other substances, has been on the rise in the past few months. The large cause for this is, of course, the coronavirus pandemic. But that’s not all, the declining economy and the Black Lives Matter movement have also played a factor in raising our stress levels and alcohol consumption.
With so much going on around us, who can blame people for getting a drink every few nights?
But the thing is, this situation has now started to become a habit. Many citizens, in both America and in other countries, are drinking more often than they used to and becoming too used to the habit. Even health officials are expressing concern and releasing guidelines.
According to the World Health Organization (otherwise known as the WHO), most people should be avoiding alcohol. The reason being, alcohol can undermine your immune system and health, which can put you and others at risk. That said, they know that it’s hard to tell EVERYONE to stop drinking. So, they recommend drinking at a minimum.
The WHO then set up some recommendations for alcohol during social distancing and home isolation. Some of the important points are listed below:
- Alcohol is not a necessary part of your diet and should not be a priority on your shopping list. Avoid stockpiling alcohol at home, as this will potentially increase your alcohol consumption and the consumption of others in your household.
- You might think that alcohol helps you to cope with stress, but it is not in fact a good coping mechanism, as it is known to increase the symptoms of panic and anxiety disorders, depression and other mental disorders, and the risk of family and domestic violence.
- Instead of consuming alcohol to pass your time at home, try an indoor workout. Physical activity strengthens the immune system and overall – from both a short-term and a long-term perspective – is a highly beneficial way of spending a period of quarantine.
- Alcohol use can increase during self-isolation and both, isolation and drinking, may also increase the risk of suicide, so reducing your alcohol consumption is very important. If you have suicidal thoughts, you should call your local or national health hotlines
What Can Help
It’s fair to say that many people are drinking more often than they did before. Part of that’s ok, you just have to space it out. But what can you do to help space it out? The American Heart Association came up with the following solutions.
- Yoga, meditation, and deep breathing techniques to help deescalate from moments of stress and anxiety.
- Talking to friends by phone or video chat.
- Research support groups that meet online.
- Maintain your daily routine as much as possible to keep yourself motivated and distracted. Follow your hobbies, learn a new skill, etc.
- Exercise, as noted above.
Lastly, if you find yourself drinking excessively on a regular basis and are making unhealthy choices, seek prompt professional help in person or via phone or video chat. Some resources you can reach out to are the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990 or Alcoholics Anonymous (for those in recovery) at aa-intergroup.org.