Is Your Drinking Out of Control During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

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( — May 7, 2020) Clearwater, Florida — As the world continues to stand still and everyone strives to stay healthy by staying home, many people are struggling to find a new sense of “normal” as they navigate online schoolwork, constant togetherness with loved ones, and working from home. 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 in which they can find relief. The question is: where?

Drinking to Cope

Sometimes when people are feeling stressed or anxious, alcohol or other substances seem like a great way to let off some steam. Drinking and drugs can help you get your mind away from the problem at hand, at least for a little while. But it may also result in you ignoring your responsibilities, failing to take care of yourselves, or acting impulsively. In addition, the virus has disrupted our daily routines. Work schedules have been thrown off, gyms and recreation centers are closed, and, because of self-isolation, we may be away from our friends and loved ones. 

Throughout the day, you may find yourself alone with not much to do, especially if you’re out of work or have reduced hours. One drink turns into a few and drinking once or twice a week turns into every day. When you don’t have to wake up to get to your job, you don’t have to drive, and you don’t have to see anyone, it becomes easier to slip into unhealthy habits. Or you may find yourself stressed out after being cooped up with kids, trying to get work done from home, and trying to keep your family healthy. It’s a big job, and it’s only natural to want to escape for a little.  

When Does Alcohol Become a Problem?

While relaxing with a drink or two a few days a week may be fine for some people, for others, it’s easy for alcohol consumption to spiral out of control, especially during recent events. The pandemic has driven up alcohol sales by more than 50% and online alcohol sales have skyrocketed. While some of this may be because of stockpiling, we can also assume that alcohol consumption is increasing as well. 

But when does our drinking become a problem? Alcohol use disorder often has components of both physical and emotional dependency. Maybe you have noticed that it has become difficult or impossible to start your day without a drink, or you find it difficult to stop drinking once you start. Maybe you have physical cravings, or you start to realize that it takes a lot more alcohol to get you drunk than it once did. Or maybe when you don’t drink, you start feeling nauseous, shaky, or physically unwell. Do you forget what happens after you drink? Have friends and family members told you that you need to cut back on your consumption? All of these can be signs of alcoholism.   

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:

  • The person is experiencing relationship or familial problems caused by drinking.
  • The person can’t go without drinking.
  • The person can’t fulfill their normal obligations or duties.
  • The person has put themselves in harm’s way while drinking.
  • The person has gotten into legal trouble because of drinking, such as a DUI.

Long-term Effects

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

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, you don’t have to suffer through it alone. More than three million people are diagnosed with alcoholism yearly. Realizing there is a problem is a big step towards getting healthy and sober again. It’s important to seek help as soon as you can.  Fairwinds Treatment Center is open and accepting new patients every day. While businesses and public places are at a standstill, this may be the ideal time to get the help you need and regain your freedom. Fairwinds Treatment Center prides itself on providing progressive, comfortable substance abuse treatment in a discreet, family-oriented environment staffed with experienced medical professionals 24/7. Don’t wait until the COVID-19 quarantine has passed. And if someone you love seems to be out of control with their alcohol consumption, remind them that you care about them. Here are more tips for families affected by alcoholism.

If you’re ready to start on the road to recovery, contact us for help. Fairwinds Treatment Center is currently open and accepting patients. Now might be the perfect time to check out for a while and get the help you need to get back on your feet once the pandemic has passed. 

About Fairwinds Treatment Center

Fairwinds Treatment Center is a dually licensed eating disorder, mental health disorders and substance abuse treatment facility located in Clearwater, Florida. The team at Fairwinds Treatment Center helps individuals and their families get their lives back on track. For over 30 years, the team at Fairwinds has specialized in helping people overcome dangerous and deadly disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, alcoholism and drug addiction. Being a dually licensed psychiatric facility, Fairwinds physicians and therapists engage an integrated treatment plan, incorporating several treatment models combined with psychiatric methods to identify the root of the disorder in order for specialized treatment to begin and to ensure a lasting recovery.

Fairwinds Treatment Center

1569 S. Fort Harrison Ave
Clearwater, Florida 33756
United States
(727) 449-0300