Alcohol Awareness Month has been observed every April since 1987 as a way to raise awareness and provide education to learn about alcohol abuse and how addiction can impact individuals and families, but this year is different from most years because of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Social distancing restrictions and stay-at-home orders, as well as economic stability, have all contributed to increased stress levels and, as a result, increased substance abuse and alcohol sales. According to research led by scientists at USC, between April and June of last year sales of alcoholic beverages increased by 34% compared to the same time period in 2019.
Some of the main ways the pandemic has made some people turn to alcohol include:
- Unemployment and financial instability: Millions of Americans lost their jobs because of the pandemic, resulting in some having to change their living conditions or lose their homes. All of this instability can drive some to drink as a way to cope with stress and fear.
- Isolation: Increased time spent alone because of social distancing guidelines can result in loneliness and boredom, both of which feed into alcohol abuse and addiction. Instead of spending time hanging out with friends, some people have been drinking more alone.
- Grief: Hundreds of thousands of individuals passed away from COVID complications this past year, which might explain why some may use substances as a way to cope. People have lost others to non-COVID-related issues but haven’t been able to properly grieve with their loved ones in person, too. All of this can take a toll on our mental health and how we process death.
If you find that you’re drinking more than usual during the pandemic or have relapsed, you’re not the only one. To properly acknowledge this year’s Alcohol Awareness Month, we’ve provided some tips to help you develop healthy habits and monitor your drinking.
Move 11 Minutes Per Day (At Least)
The pandemic has forced many into living a sedentary lifestyle now that countless people are working from home or are unemployed. It’s likely you’re exercising less throughout the week and spending more time sitting than ever. There’s a lot of research out there that shows physical activity increases our energy levels and improves our health overall—it may also help us fill our time so we have fewer reasons to drink.
Just 11 minutes of daily, moderate exercise can provide long-term health benefits. Take a walk or light jog, or even exercise for longer by doing daily yoga, bicycling, or downloading fitness videos.
Care for Your Mental Health
Countless individuals who have alcohol abuse issues also struggle with mental disorders. If you find that you’re drinking to cope with the stress of everyday life, consider little changes you can make to care for your mental health. Looking into finding a therapist you can see virtually, for example, is a great way to put yourself first. You might also want to consider activities like yoga, meditation, and journaling.
Know the Warning Signs of Alcoholism
Alcohol abuse can be mild at first but quickly spiral into addiction if you’re not careful in monitoring your symptoms and cutting back on your drinking. It’s important to know the warning signs of addiction so you can get the help you need before it’s too late.
Some signs of abuse include:
- Lying about how much you’re drinking to others
- Drinking alone or in secrecy
- Engaging in risky behavior, such as drunk driving
- Failing to limit how much you’re drinking at a time
- Experiencing frequent blackouts
- Drinking every time you feel stressed or anxious
Invest in Your Future by Calling Decision Point Center
Are you or someone you care about having substance use issues? At Decision Point Center, we tailor our treatment plans to your unique needs and offer a range of proven methods, from residential inpatient programs to enrichment activities to relapse prevention. More than 14 million adults struggle with some kind of alcohol use disorder today, and we’ve treated thousands of individuals at our Prescott facility over the years. We’ve worked with countless different types of people and have the experience and resources you need to get sober and reclaim your life.
Call Decision Point Center at (844) 292-5010, or contact us online to get treatment for alcohol addiction if you’re in Prescott or elsewhere in Arizona. Just two hours north of Phoenix, our facility offers a calming place to reconnect with yourself.