People around the globe have been ordered to stay at home as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to spread and claim lives. As of the morning of April 8, 2020, the disease had infected 1,446,466 million worldwide and taken over 80,000 lives. In the United States alone, we have 401,636 confirmed cases and nearly 13,000 deaths*.
Increases Range From 42% to 300%
Stuck in self-quarantine and bound by stay-at-home orders and social distancing measures, Americans are buying more alcohol than ever before. According to the New York Post and Nielsen data for the week ending March 21, sales of alcoholic beverages have risen 55%. When you break down the data, it becomes even more revealing:
- Sales of hard alcohol (gin, tequila, etc.) and spirits have risen by 75%
- Wine sales are up 66%
- Beer sales have risen by 42%
Faced with boredom, anxiety, and worry, many Americans are turning to alcohol – and lots of it. Alcohol delivery services like Drizly have seen a 300% increase in sales.
An ‘Unhelpful Coping Strategy’
A technical officer at WHO Europe’s mental health and substance abuse department has called alcohol an “unhelpful coping strategy” for the stress and isolation of lockdown. She cautions that using substances to cope “can make things worse,” and The Independent cites a rise in domestic violence, fires, and alcohol dependence.
To use alcohol safely during this time, experts recommend sticking to 14 drinks per week or less. Nevertheless, they worry about the message the government is sending by deeming liquor stores “essential businesses,” as those in recovery may be struggling to stay sober and alcohol is certainly not ‘essential’ to all of our lives.
A Rise in Drug and Alcohol Relapses
Isolation can be a trigger for those in recovery and mental health professionals “are already starting to see an increase in relapses.” This is why WHO says it’s “vital” that drug and alcohol services remain accessible throughout lockdown.
WHO’s mental health department also recommends the following strategies to look after mental wellbeing:
- Healthy eating
- Social support
For those in recovery, mental health workers recommend staying virtually engaged with 12-step programs, engaging with recovery-related media (books, podcasts, etc.), practicing prayer and meditation, participating in healthy hobbies, journaling, and completing creative activities.
A Silver Lining
April is Alcohol Awareness Month, which means education and resources for those struggling with alcohol addiction will be widely available. With extra hours and awareness, some people may confront their alcohol abuse disorder for the first time. Similarly, those worried about a loved one may finally have the opportunity and resources they need to address the problem.
Further, time away from work may present an opportunity to seek inpatient care, especially if you or a loved one are facing symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
At The Nestled Recovery Center, we offer a private, comfortable recovery program in an upscale facility with only 10 beds. Our highly trained and compassionate staff will walk you through an individualized and holistic alcohol addiction treatment program to help you get sober and maintain lifelong recovery.
We will focus on all 8 dimensions of wellness and promote your social, spiritual, mental, physical, environmental, financial, occupational, and emotional health. There’s never been a better time to get better.
- For the most accurate and up-to-date information about the COVID-19 crisis, consult the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- For coronavirus-specific recovery resources, please click here.
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline is 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1- 800-273-TALK (8255).
We sincerely hope we can help you with your recovery. In the meantime, take advantage of all available resources, stay safe, and stay well.