Is the Pandemic Causing Alcohol Addiction Problems?
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the lives of all of us and compromised our economic, social, and psychological well-being. It has been particularly stressful for those with alcohol or substance addictions. Studies have shown a marked increase in alcohol consumption since the onset of the pandemic. The most prominent reason is stress, which is particularly problematic for those addicted to alcohol. Preventative treatment is imperative for those with addiction propensities.
The Pandemic’s Effect on Ordinary Lives
Our daily lives have been impacted by the COVID pandemic in countless healthcare, economic, and social respects.
- Excessive burdens on the existing medical system at the expense of patients with other health problems
- Heavy business losses and economic retardation
- Extreme social disruptions, including cancellation of traditional public and family gatherings
- Undue emotional stress including depression, stemming from isolation and social distancing.
All of these effects exacerbate problem drinking, particularly for those who struggle with addiction under ordinary circumstances.
Statistics of Alcohol Addiction due to the Pandemic
Statistics show that alcohol consumption increased dramatically during the COVID pandemic. A national survey of U.S. adults found that excessive drinking increased by 21% between 2020 and 2021 during the pandemic.
Researchers attributed to that increase an additional 8,000 cases of alcohol-related liver disease, 18,700 cases of liver failure, 1,000 cases of liver cancer, and an estimated 8.9 million disability-adjusted life years between 2020 and 2040.
Another survey of 832 adults also showed a dramatic increase in alcohol consumption linked to the pandemic.
Compared to the pre-COVID experience, 60% reported increased drinking during the pandemic. About 34% reported binge drinking while 7% reported extreme binge drinking. The reasons for the increased drinking patterns included increased stress (45.7%), increased alcohol availability (34.4%), and boredom (30.1%)
People experiencing economic or psychological stress often consume more alcohol and suffer symptoms of alcohol abuse and increased alcohol dependence.
A 2020 study by the RAND Corporation showed that alcohol consumption during the pandemic among adults over age 30 increased by 14%, with a 41% increase in women heavily drinking. The strain was particularly acute for those already coping with addiction with increased rates of relapse and overdose.
What is the Process of Alcohol Treatment Programs?
The Sands Treatment Center in Florida is a leading alcohol treatment center. We employ a combination of inpatient and outpatient alcohol treatment programs, including cognitive-behavioral therapies, medicinal therapies, and 12-step programs.
Cognitive and dialectical behavior therapies were originally developed for the treatment of stress and depression. They later proved very effective as alcohol treatments. As such, these therapies are useful for dealing with stress that is associated with the economic and psychological effects of the pandemic. They are essential for the already addicted to cope with the compounding effects of the COVID pandemic.
We have all experienced the pandemic’s disruption of our economic, social, and psychological well-being. People with substance addiction propensity are particularly vulnerable to COVID-associated stress. It is imperative therefore that those vulnerable seek professional preventative help. Don’t shy away, call today.
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