Alcohol addicted businessman is holding whiskey glass

Have you been drinking more during quarantine? #TakeItBack!

Categories: Covid-19

The stress of the COVID-19 has hit everyone in different ways, and everyone reacts differently in stressful situations. For some, this means drinking more than usual. For those in recovery from addiction, this pandemic creates even more challenges.

According to the market research firm, Nielsen, alcoholic beverage sales rose by 55% in the week ending March 21. Winc, a direct-to-consumer wine club has also seen a 578% increase in new member sign-ups week-over-week (Forbes.com).

This is why at Vital Alabama, we started a campaign to #TakeItBack. We want you to know that it is never too late to take it back. Even if you have been drinking more than usual during this time, you can still drink one less each day or find healthier ways to deal with your stress.

Not only does increased drinking affect your health in many ways, but it can even make you more susceptible to respiratory diseases like COVID-19. It is actually recommended that anyone who is at a higher risk of COVID-19 should drink even less than usual (Healthline.com).

Peter Grinspoon, MD – The Tale of Two Epidemics

However, it is not only alcohol that is an increased danger in this pandemic. Peter Grinspoon, MD, a contributor to the Harvard Health Blog, talks specifically in a recent post about the tale of two epidemics: COVID-19 and opioid addiction. He goes into detail about the many ways that COVID-19 and opioid addiction can impact and even worsen eachother.

  1. “Social Determinants of health create greater vulnerability,” which ultimately means that people who are suffering from addiction will be more vulnerable to catching the coronavirus and potentially have an even more severe case.
  2. Treatments and support systems may be disrupted
  3. Social isolation increases the risk for addiction
  4. Isolation may increase the risk of overdose death

Read more about Peter Grinspoon, MD and his research HERE.

What YOU can do to #TakeItBack

This time puts an extreme pressure on everyone, not just those who are struggling with addiction. Even if you have slipped up or backtracked your progress – it is NOT too late to #TakeItBack! Check out the below tips on how to drink less and find healthy ways to reduce your alcohol consumption and stress during this difficult time.

  1. Stay in touch with your support system
    Especially through times of isolation, keeping in touch with family and friends is extremely important. Set aside time each day where you’ll check in with your support system. There are also many online resources that you can use when you need help. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) also has a 24/7 hotline.
  2. Know what your triggers are
    Unfortunately, negative emotions, loneliness and isolation are some top triggers for relapse and also very common feelings during this time. If you know what causes the urge to drink, you can empower yourself to take steps to avoid those triggers. For example, there may be some people you need to avoid on social media and that is okay.
  3. Keep to a schedule or routine
    Maybe you’re working from home, or maybe you’re not working and have a lot of time on your hands. Either way, it’s important to develop a routine and stick to it. Pick a time to wake up each morning and go to bed each night and try your best to follow that daily. If you have extra time, pick up an activity like working out, journaling, crafting, or reading.

Remember that you are not alone, and it is NEVER too late to #TakeItBack!

Additional Resources & Reading:

COVID-19: Potential Implications for Individuals with Substance Use Disorders (drugabuse.org)

COVID-19 is Causing People to Relapse (addictioncenter.com)

Support for Mental Health and Addiction Issues During COVID-19 (verywellmind.com)

Virtual Narcotics Anonymous

World Health Organization – #HealthyAtHome (who.int)