Self-isolation is slowly becoming the norm in the wake of coronavirus. People are no longer hanging out in clubs and bars. But, alcohol delivery services and virtual happy hours have become more prevalent. Liquor stores are also deemed as essential businesses in most parts of the U.S. As such, people are still drinking at home leading to private alcoholism plaguing our lives now more than ever. (Image Credit: Pasja1000/Pixabay)
Recently, alcohol retailers reported a sharp increase in their sales. This can be attributed to individuals that are stockpiling during self-quarantine. For instance, retail sales for alcoholic beverages went up by 55% towards the end of March. But, they eventually leveled slightly in the last week of the same month. However, there was an increase of 22% in comparison to the same time last year.
Currently, it’s not easy to predict whether increased sales mean that more individuals are at the risk of drinking excessively. If this happens, more people might need addiction treatment services in times of cornavirus (check at https://addictionresource.com/treatment/addiction-during-covid-19-outbreak/). Some health experts have predicted that more people will be battling substance abuse by the time this pandemic comes to an end.
What’s more, people are losing jobs and others have mounting debts. Some are worried about their loved ones, especially those with special needs. Such things tend to push individuals over the edge. And, being in self-isolation, away from a support system and friends can lead to mental health problems.
So, how can you avoid starting drinking at self-isolation? How do you avoid becoming an alcoholic during social isolation? Here are some of the recommended techniques from addiction specialists.
Find a Sense of Purpose and Meaning in Different Ways
Some people are likely to start drinking because they feel isolated. For such people, experts suggest engaging in activities like helping others to avoid the feelings of desperation. When working and mingling with others, a person gets a sense of purpose and meaning.
However, self-isolation brings less feedback. Thus, a person might not feel wanted or desired. As such, individuals that feel desperate, isolated, or lonely during the coronavirus quarantine should think of ways of helping others. They should find new ways of bringing meaning into their lives.
Check Alcohol Consumption Amount and Frequency
Most people might want to seek addiction treatment during this lockdown on realizing that they are drinking more alcohol than the amount recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the CDC, consuming four or five drinks on one occasion for females and males respectively is binge drinking. Heavy drinking is consuming eight or more drinks and 8 drinks or more within a week for females and males respectively.
Males have higher enzyme levels. This helps in alcohol metabolism. However, how the body processes alcohol varies from one person to another depending on factors like body composition.
So, to avoid excessive drinking at self-isolation, check the amount and frequency of your alcohol consumption. Make sure that you’re not drinking more than four drinks per day or 15 drinks weekly.
Check for the Warning Signs of Excessive Drinking
Several signs can warn of unhealthy drinking. Major among them include spending a lot of time drinking, consuming alcohol longer or more than intended, and using alcoholic beverages as the primary coping tool or mechanism. What’s more, when alcohol starts interfering with daily activities like household tasks, childcare, work, personal care, and hygiene, it’s becoming a problem.
In some cases, a person may continue drinking even after experiencing negative after-effects like anxious mood, depression, physical health effects, and worsening health conditions. Such signs should warn you to stop drinking.
Identify Your Reason for Drinking
Research has identified stress as one of the major reasons why people start drinking alcohol. Self-isolation, losing jobs, and being worried about loved ones are some of the things that can cause stress during the coronavirus pandemic.
As such, some people can start drinking as a way of dealing with stress. Some people drink alcohol to mask emotions or negative feelings. But, alcohol can’t treat stress. Some people drink to deal with boredom, anxiety, and sad feelings. However, alcohol does not provide a lasting solution to such problems.
To ensure that you don’t end up seeking treatment for substance abuse, identify and address the underlying issues. Drinking is simply a way of avoiding confrontation with certain problems. And this can only exacerbate the underlying issues. Therefore, to ensure that you don’t start or escalate your drinking during self-isolation, address issues that could be stressing you.
Consider the Effects
Alcoholism has its consequences. Addiction and the eventual need for substance abuse treatment are just some of these effects. Excessive drinking can particularly have serious effects during the coronavirus crisis. That’s because excessive consumption of alcohol can decrease immunity. This has been associated with higher susceptibility for diseases that affect the respiratory system.
What’s more, excessive drinking when a person has a respiratory illness can increase complications. That’s because alcohol impairs the immune system. People that continue drinking excessively after social isolation may experience long-term health problems like liver disease, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Get Support and Assistance
Being isolated and enduring feelings of shame and guilt about your out of control alcoholism will lead to a vicious cycle. Alcoholism is not just about excessive drinking. It’s a cognition disease that affects the way a person processes information, how they resist impulses and make decisions. As such, dealing with a drinking problem requires professional help and support.
Several rehab facilities provide addiction treatment programs during outbreaks. If you have a drinking problem during self-isolation, reach out to such facilities. Also, talk to loved ones or join virtual support groups.
The Bottom Line
Self-isolation is a challenge for most people that were used to going out and having fun with friends and loved ones. Without going out, most individuals feel bored, isolated, lonely, and stressed. To deal with these feelings, some have turned to alcoholism at self-isolation. Unfortunately, this can lead to alcoholism that might necessitate seeking treatment of addiction in times of uncertainty. Nevertheless, experts have provided several ways to avoid excessive drinking at self-isolation.