Since the stay at home order went into place, people are sharing the fact they are drinking more.
by Tonya Schaeffer, M.Ed, LPCC-S
April is Alcohol Awareness Month. According to the Ohio Division of Liquor Control, people in Ohio bought 1.11 million more gallons of adult beverages than they did last year at this time. The extreme stress, worry, and isolation during the Coronavirus and lockdown are likely leading people to increase their consumption of beer, wine, and liquor.
Stress, anxiety, loneliness, and feelings of depression can be a trigger for drinking. Often while drinking, a person may feel more calm, relaxed and even numb. However, alcohol is a depressant, both mentally and physically. For people who may already be prone to depression or anxiety, these emotions can be increased. Drinking alcohol has an impact on one’s ability to get a goodnight’s sleep. Without quality sleep, the ability to regulate our emotions can be even more difficult.
The use of alcohol to cope anytime isn’t a great choice, but during times like what we are all experiencing now, it can be creating a bigger issue.
The use of alcohol to cope anytime isn’t a great choice, but during times like what we are all experiencing now, it can be creating a bigger issue. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol affects the brain’s communication pathways and can affect the way the brain functions. Alcohol can also impact one’s heart, liver, pancreas and increase the risk of a variety of cancers.
Recently, in the medical community, there have been discussions around the use of alcohol weakening a person’s immune system, making your body a target for illness and disease. Since the stay at home order went into place, people are sharing the fact they are drinking more. They have expressed that they are having virtual happy hours through work, and while connecting with friends and family.
Recently, in the medical community, there have been discussions around the use of alcohol weakening a person’s immune system.
It is one thing to have a few drinks, but an entirely different situation if you are finding yourself turning to the use of alcohol to cope. First, be aware of your current consumption of alcohol. Gauge if your drinking is increasing. Pay attention to when you are reaching for that drink. Is it to escape the current reality, numb any feelings you want to avoid, or is it becoming something you are using to make yourself get through the day?
Consider a more effective coping skill such as going for a walk, start an exercise routine, work in your yard, or spend some quality time with your family. If you can’t be with your loved ones, make more of an effort to reach out to them. Take time to read or work on a puzzle, start a craft or work on a project around the house.
If you feel like you are struggling with the use of alcohol, you can go online to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. They offer a variety of options including treatment during physical distancing.
Hope Restored Counseling Services is located at 600 West Loveland Avenue in the West Loveland Historic District.