The covid-19 pandemic has been a chaotic time that has presented many new challenges. The world has changed drastically since then, and although modern amenities and technology are incredible, they are not always positive.
Research has shown that during the pandemic in 2020, the frequency of drinking days increased by over 14% on average. This same study reported that at the week ending on March 21, 2020, alcohol sales had gone up by 54%.
Compared to the year before, online sales of alcohol had gone up a whopping 262% from market data supplied by Nielsen. The increase in drinking was so significant that the CDC created a webpage specifically for alcohol and substance use during the pandemic.
Many contributing factors play into this increase, and it is important to be mindful of them especially if you are in recovery.
Celebrities and Influencers
Several causes of increased drinking during the pandemic have been around for a long time; however, some are unique to our new technological age. During 2020, many celebrities and social media influencers posted on social media about how they were drinking more while staying home. Some of these people include actors, cooking show hosts, music artists, and more. Some celebrities even released new alcohol brands during the pandemic, themed around staying home during quarantine.
Under normal circumstances, these same celebrities would most likely have been hesitant to post videos of themselves day-drinking because people would judge this unhealthy behavior. Since the covid-19 pandemic was a high-stress situation for everyone involved, they felt as though this was an acceptable reaction. It is safe to assume that these people did not mean harm through their actions.
Just because someone encourages drinking does not mean we should hate them, although we need to be mindful of letting their behavior become our own.
Another unfortunate consequence of modern amenities is how easy it can be to obtain alcohol. Since many bars began to close down, alcohol distributors moved to online sales to stay open. Some bars even began offering takeout for drinks as well, which causes all sorts of opportunities for drinking and driving.
Although having what we want or need on-demand can be very useful, alcohol was already in almost every convenience store. Now we do not even need to leave our homes to obtain it, sometimes within the same day. For those of us who have a substance use disorder (SUD), having alcohol so easily accessible can be harmful and increase the chances of relapse.
Another reason the purchase of alcohol spiked during the pandemic was the idea of panic buying. Many people started to stock up on amenities and products out of fear that supplies would run low. Someone who may not have a drinking problem could have purchased far more alcohol — fearing it would run out. If supplies did not run out, this person now has a surplus of alcohol and may develop a problem.
Overcoming Risk Factors
One of the major contributing factors to people’s drinking during the pandemic was boredom. People who were normally active either in their personal life or for work were told to stay inside and cease those activities. Being stuck inside all day without much social interaction can be boring or even lead to depression. All of these emotions and lack of activity caused many people to develop negative habits such as drinking, overeating, and substance use.
During any pandemic, keeping our immune system healthy is vital. The CDC has stated that alcohol can weaken the body and make covid-19 potentially harder to recover from.
To combat this stagnation, it is important to stay as active as possible. Finding activities to get through cravings, while bolstering our physical and mental health can be vital. Unfortunately, it is possible that certain forms of media might be damaging to our mental health during this time. However, it is important to remember to always put our health first. Limiting the amount of news we watch or even cutting out certain media entirely may be beneficial. Further, keep in touch with friends and family online or through the phone.
If you developed a drinking problem during the covid-19 pandemic, it is important that you reach out for help. Overcoming alcohol dependency is not something anyone should have to do alone. Seeking help can greatly increase the chances of recovery. Twelve-step programs have been proven to help people on their journey to recovery.
The past two years have certainly been a difficult time for everyone. Try your best to keep in mind that help is always there, and hope is always important.
The covid-19 pandemic has certainly been a time that posed many new challenges to our bodies and minds. Alcohol or substance dependency can be formed as a reaction to negative health factors, and, unfortunately, it can make them worse. To protect our health during these trying times, we must address substance use disorder and seek help. If you or a loved one needs treatment, look no further than Everlast Recovery Centers. Our understanding and dedicated staff are here to aid you along your journey. Located in sunny southern California, our welcoming facilities offer a comfortable environment and programs tailored to each client’s needs. We aim to treat the physical and mental health of our clients in order to give them the best chances of success possible. This includes traditional treatment such as 12-step programs, alongside various therapy options. To learn more about us and our mission, call (866) 338-6925 today.