Dealing with Alcohol addiction during Covid 19
Addiction during lockdown
Lockdown has been a difficult time for everyone, and the ongoing uncertainty that COVID-19 has caused is responsible for increased stress levels for us all. The normal outlets for a relief from frustration, boredom and stress are either closed or not readily available.
Spaces in gyms are limited, the cinema requires booking well in advance and you may not be able to see your family depending on restrictions in your local area. When combined, these factors make addictive outlets like junk food, drugs and particularly alcohol much harder to resist. Dealing with an alcohol addiction is increasingly hard due to COVID-19.
COVID-19 and alcohol
Recently compiled statistics suggest that 21% of people admit to drinking more during the COVID-19 pandemic. In relative terms, this means that 8.6 million people in the UK have increased their alcohol intake as a consequence of the stress of being housebound. Historical evidence points to people drinking more during an economic crisis, or a major disaster.
This is because alcohol is used as a way to disengage and destress from life – generally without regard for the often extremely harmful physical and psychological damage caused by drinking too much. During the lockdown, the UK saw a 22% rise in alcohol sales at a total cost of £1.1 billion, all in the space of just four weeks.
If you find yourself drinking more than usual in these strange and uncertain times, it’s vital to understand what constitutes an acceptable level of drinking and what would be a cause for concern. If you have any concerns about your drinking, please reach out to Step One Recovery today on 0330 107 2950.
Signs of an alcohol addiction developing
There are many symptoms of someone developing an alcohol addiction, but they can be very hard to spot.
If your stress levels are increasingly managed with alcohol, this is a sign of not being in control of how much you drink. People turn to alcohol to relieve feelings of boredom, loneliness and frustration amongst other negative emotions.
You may have noticed yourself feeling angry or more irritable when you’ve had a drink. This is harmful for you, your friends and your loved ones. Any aggressive behaviour is an indication that you should dramatically reduce your alcohol consumption or stop it completely.
Many heavy drinkers or alcoholics are dependent on the substance to help them to relax enough to sleep. Reaching for a bottle of beer, wine or spirits to help you to get a good night’s sleep is a sign of an alcohol dependency.
If you drink excessively, you have probably found yourself lacking motivation. This can be in the workplace or at home when faced with chores or tasks. If a drink tends to help you with a task, this usually signifies that your body has grown used to associating alcohol with productivity. This can lead to excessive consumption of alcohol on a very regular basis which can quickly develop into an addiction.
Many people suffering with an alcohol addiction don’t recognise it themselves. Have your loved ones or friends confided in you about their concern regarding changes in your behaviour and you have had relationships break down or suffer? Do they associate these changes with alcohol? People who care about you raising their concerns is one of the most painful symptoms of an alcohol addiction.
Ways to deal with an alcohol addiction
There are several ways you can constructively take control if you are concerned about the amount of alcohol that you drink.
Firstly, it’s essential that you share your worries and concerns with your loved ones. One of the worst things you can do is to keep your feelings, worries and emotions bottled up. If you live alone, this can be even worse which is why it is so important that you get in touch with someone you feel comfortable with and discuss your concerns. You may not be able to do this because of COVID-19 so you should familiarise yourself with video calling to talk to a familiar face.
You should also discourage yourself from associating alcohol with controlling anxiety and stress levels. This may be easier said than done, but it’s important that your default coping mechanism isn’t to reach for a glass of alcohol whenever you can feel your stress levels rising. It’s recommended that you find positive outlets for any negative emotions. Good examples of this are exercising and cooking.
If you are concerned about the amount of alcohol you’re drinking, you can track your consumption patterns by recording the quantity and frequency of your intake. There are apps and websites that allow you to track how much you’re drinking, set quantifiable goals to help you to moderate your drinking and to identify patterns.
You should also look to engage in positive action. Instead of turning to alcohol to help you manage stress, you should try to channel your energy into positive action such as meditation or exercise. When you find a positive and healthy distraction, your stress levels reduce and in turn your dependency on alcohol will also reduce.
However, if you feel that your alcohol consumption is running away from you and reaching dangerous levels, you need to speak to a mental health professional.
How Step One Recovery can help
If you are concerned about the amount of drinking you’ve been doing during lockdown, then it’s important to ask for help. Step One Recovery are here to help. You can speak to our wide-ranging team of counsellors, psychiatrists and alcohol addiction therapists.
We offer accessible and affordable services to help you to better manage your alcohol intake during the difficulty and uncertainly that COVID-19 has brought to the UK. You don’t need to deal with an alcohol addiction alone, we are here to help you. We also encourage you to speak to your family to help you deal with your alcohol addiction.
If you call us today on 0330 107 2950, you can be assured that Step One recovery will treat your call without judgement and with the utmost discretion. We can help you to come through this difficult time with practical, personalised advice and you can regain control of your life with our help.