Addiction Recovery Blog

Covid is Causing Increased Drinking

[fa icon="calendar'] Sep 16, 2020 / by Russ Kallina posted in Addiction, Positive Recovery, treatment program, covid

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While some common household products such as toilet paper and eggs have been a struggle to find in stores during COVID, there has been no shortage of alcohol. Liquor stores, which are considered an essential service, have been busier than ever, with bars and restaurants having been temporarily closed. However, despite the lack of social gatherings and outings to bars, people are still getting their alcohol fix, many even increasing their alcohol consumption since the start of the pandemic. The Nanos poll, commissioned by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA), revealed that 21% of Canadians under the age of 54 say they have increased the amount of alcohol they drink while at home during the pandemic. Surveys have shown that since March, Americans have been buying larger quantities of cheaper alcohol; there has also been an increase in cannabis usage, as well as anti-anxiety medication like Xanax and Aderrall.

Reasons for the increase

Lack of a consistent routine
With many being unemployed, or working from home during the pandemic, alcohol is no longer reserved for weekends or after work, because weekdays and weekends blur together. You may find that you don’t have a certain time you need to wake up, or a time to be finished working, so there seems to be no reason not to indulge in a drink.

You may be thinking that a mundane at-home activity will be more interesting if you had a glass of wine while you do it. While it may seem harmless at first, this is a dangerous habit to get into and can lead to excessive drinking.

The uncertainty of the future, and when things will go back to normal can naturally spark the feeling of stress and anxiety. Many use alcohol as a means of coping with the financial stresses, relationship stresses, and other anxieties that are now heightened by the pandemic.

Being stuck at home, with very little social interaction can take a toll on us as humans, and drinking can be used as an attempt to fill the void that can only be filled by relationship and community with others.

How much is too much?
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans defines one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men as being moderate drinking. It is important to realize, especially in the midst of a global pandemic, that heavy drinking lowers the immune system, which could make you more susceptible to contracting the virus, and make it more difficult to recover from illness.

What you can do instead of drinking

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