Alcohol Use Disorder Cases May SurgeApril 10, 2020
None of us have ever dealt with a public health crisis of this magnitude. Therefore, many Americans lack the ability to cope with the feelings that arise from a pandemic. People with behavioral health disorders like alcohol use disorder and substance use disorder are particularly vulnerable. Men and women in recovery are also finding it challenging to cope with the new normal of sheltering in place, social distancing, and stay at home orders.
If you have been following the news, then you are privy to the knowledge that 1,622,167 people worldwide have tested positive for COVID-19. There are nearly 100,000 confirmed deaths worldwide, which is probably inaccurate, considering many are dying at home, and there’s been a lack of autopsies.
In the United States, 467,184 men, women, and children have contracted the coronavirus. We have exponentially more cases than any other country, and experts predict many more Americans will succumb to the deadly virus.
Everyone is right to be concerned about contracting COVID-19. Moreover, other fears abound; loss of employment and financial woes are worrisome for millions of Americans. In less than one month, more than 17 million people have filed for unemployment. Naturally, countless individuals are having a challenging time coping with their emotions and are resorting to unhealthy behaviors.
Alcohol Sales are Cause for Health Concerns
Being ordered to stay at home for the foreseeable future has led to a dramatic rise in alcohol sales in America. In the week ending March 21, 2020, the market research firm Nielsen found that spirits sales increased by 75 percent compared to that time last year, Newsweek reports. During the same period, beer sales rose by 66 percent, and there was a 42 percent increase in wine purchases.
It’s probably not helpful that liquor stores and restaurants are delivering alcohol to people’s homes. Individuals can drink unchecked and don’t have to get behind the wheel and risk a DUI. A public health crisis or national emergency can be a perfect storm for dangerous forms of consumption like binge drinking.
“In the aftermath of 9/11,” explains Wendy McClary, a licensed marriage and family therapist, “there was significantly increased use of alcohol, marijuana and cigarettes among New York City residents. In particular, there was a major increase of use in individuals — such as social drinkers — who’d used the substances previously.”
The data shows that Americans are drinking heavily while in quarantine. It’s likely that many people are not maintaining healthy drinking habits, which could lead to the development of physical health problems and alcohol use disorder.
Many Americans are feeling anxious and depressed, so it’s tempting to try to decrease one’s negative feelings with alcohol. However, alcohol is an addictive central nervous system depressant. Not only will alcohol do little to mitigate anxiety and depressive symptoms, it also weakens one’s immune system, making people more susceptible to contracting the virus.
Alcohol Use Disorder Intervention During a Pandemic
If you or a loved one is engaging in heavy alcohol use and are finding it challenging to stop, then there may be an alcohol use disorder at play. Please consider reaching out to a professional interventionist to help bring about treatment.
Millions of people across the country meet the criteria for an alcohol use disorder. More than 88,000 Americans die from alcohol-related illnesses each year; considering the data above, there is a chance that there will be a heightened death toll in 2020.
At Whitman Recovery Services, we pointed out last week that addiction treatment centers are still operating across the country. Rehabilitation is an essential service that saves lives. Please contact us today to learn more about our intervention techniques. We are a Telehealth provider for addiction and mental health guidance. Please call (210) 291-0278.