As this global pandemic continues into the holiday season, many months past what some originally thought, many in the addiction treatment space are concerned that Americans are turning to drinking during the pandemic as a coping mechanism – in a way they have never before.
Excessive Drinking During the Pandemic
It is well-known that some people choose to cope with stressful situations and traumatic events by drinking alcohol. Especially if that person has a substance use disorder (SUD) – making them more inclined to use alcohol as a way to cope with stress.
This global pandemic has brought a myriad of stressors – the global economic impact, the loss of social interaction, the experience of grief, loss of support, lack of daily structure, and isolation. And this stress has been prolonged over time, exposing people to heightened levels of stress for nearly a year now. Many professionals categorize this level of prolonged stress as traumatic.
Recent research during the pandemic has shown that alcohol consumption in the US is on the rise at alarming rates. The Nielsen Company reported there was a 54% increase in sales of alcohol in March 2020, compared to the prior year, while online sales increased 262% from 2019. The RAND Corporation American Life Panel survey reported that women increased their heavy drinking episodes by 41% in 2020 and found that the overall frequency of alcohol consumption increased by 14% among adults over age 30, compared to the same time last year – leading to the understanding that drinking during the pandemic is a hidden pandemic within itself.
Coping with Pandemic Stress
Turning to alcohol to cope can be dangerous – and can become life-altering for those who drink excessively. There are many adverse health outcomes that result from excessive drinking, in addition to increased risk-taking behavior. So finding a healthy coping alternative is important as we continue in this time of elongated stress. A few healthy coping ideas:
Advanced Addiction Treatment
If you or a loved one has relied too heavily on alcohol consumption as a way to deal with pandemic stress, contact Wellbridge today to discuss the issue and determine if advanced treatment is needed to get back to life.