With Sober October coming into play again this month, we reflect on the increasing rise in alcohol consumption the pandemic has caused and continues to cause. The number of people drinking at ‘high risk’ levels has almost doubled to 8.4 million since February, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and The British Liver Trust has reported a 500% rise in calls to its helpline since lockdown began in March.
The COVID‐19 pandemic has resulted in massive disruptions to society, to the economy, and to daily life. Some people may turn to alcohol to cope with stress during the pandemic, which may put them at risk for heavy drinking and alcohol‐related harms.
The new internet common phrase is to pour yourself a “quarantini” to cope with the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic. People are drinking more heavily to cope with stress, sleep disturbances, and even boredom increasing their risk for alcohol use disorder and other adverse consequences. Although alcohol temporarily dampens the brain and body’s response to stress, feelings of stress and anxiety not only return but worsen, once the alcohol wears off. Over time, excessive alcohol consumption can cause adaptations in the brain that intensify the stress response. As a result, drinking alcohol to cope can make problems worse and one may end up drinking to fix the problem that alcohol caused.
Managing our drinking is one of the most important things that all of us can do to look after our mental and physical wellbeing – and that’s all the more important during the COVID-19 pandemic. Habits are formed quickly but can be hard to break. If people start drinking at risky levels now, not only do they face the risk of immediate harm (such as accidents, fires, arguments, and conflict) but also the risk of their alcohol consumption rising over the medium to long term. Alcohol’s effects on mental health are particularly concerning during lockdown, when many of us are already under a great deal of stress.
While some of us will find that cutting down without support is possible, others will need more help. Silkworth Lodge has proven to be a much-needed establishment that helps people to come to terms with their addiction and puts them on the road to recovery. We provide a tailor-made programme of treatment that helps the client to rebuild these relationships, regain their self-esteem, and most of all, enable them to integrate back into society on a new footing. Here at Silkworth, we are able to aid those within our recovery community affected by social isolation.
Call us today: 01534 729060
Resource: NIAAA, Heart.org, BBCBack to resources