If you feel like 2020 has been a whirlwind of unprecedented anxiety and stress, you’re not alone. As the world continues to stand still, many people are struggling to find a new sense of “normal” during COVID-19. Or, worse still, not working at all. Breaking away from typical routines comes with a price, however, especially when those routines included structure and freedom. A lack of socialization, constant negativity from the media, and the overwhelming uncertainty of what the future holds have many people desperate for an outlet, like drinking, in which they can find relief. The question is: where?
Drinking to Cope
While you may not be able to go to a bar, obtaining alcohol has never been easier. Indeed, liquor stores have been deemed essential by states who have also loosened their alcohol carryout restrictions. According to the market research firm Nielsen, weekly retail sales of alcoholic beverages have gone up 25 to 55%. Americans aren’t just using alcohol to manage stress. They are drinking more as a way to socialize virtually with the help of social media and video conferencing.
For some, being quarantined for weeks on end feels like a much-needed vacation. For others, however, alcohol eases the uncertainty of their troubled minds as they file for unemployment and hope that they still have a job when the pandemic is over. No matter if they’re drinking because they’re happy or sad, it’s clear that alcohol has become as important as toilet paper to Americans hunkering down at home.
When Does Alcohol Become a Problem?
Studies show that alcohol consumption goes up during and after times of crisis, such as the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. People drink to cope. But how can you tell if an increase in alcohol use is a more serious issue than decompressing after a long day or bonding with friends via Zoom? Here are some warning signs to look out for if the person:
- Is experiencing relationship or familial problems caused by drinking.
- Can’t go without drinking.
- Can’t fulfill their normal obligations or duties.
- Has put themselves in harm’s way while drinking.
- Has gotten into legal trouble because of drinking, such as a DUI.
The coronavirus pandemic may feel like it’s never going to end, but we all know that it eventually will. Much like when one’s on vacation, people are undoubtedly telling themselves that their spontaneous alcohol consumption and lackadaisical mindsets will melt away when normal life resumes. Until then, enjoying a margarita in your pajamas at 11 AM is not only acceptable, but encouraged by friends, celebrities, and social media gurus alike.
Ultimately, this drastic change in lifestyle will affect each individual differently. While many people will be able to break their newfound bad habits overnight, some will not. Along with overall weakened immune systems, an increased risk of developing respiratory problems, and families experiencing a spike in domestic violence cases, the country can expect to see a rise in alcohol dependency in the years following the COVID-19 quarantine.
Help Is Here Even During COVID-19
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, you don’t have to suffer alone. Fairwinds Treatment Center is open and accepting new patients every day. While the world is at a standstill, this may be the ideal time to get help. Fairwinds Treatment Center prides itself on providing progressive, comfortable substance abuse treatment in a discreet, family-oriented environment. It is staffed with experienced medical professionals 24/7. Don’t let the stress of a global pandemic rob you of your health and happiness. Let us help you regain your quality of life by getting sober today.