With more time spent at home, it may not be surprising to some that global sales of alcohol have risen by an incredible 291% in just a single year. With spirits like vodka, whiskey and gin showing a rise of up to 31.7%, not only is the average person drinking more than before, but we’re also reaching for the harder stuff than we would have before the pandemic.
Supplied by global analytics giant Nielsen, these statistics suggest that lockdowns have had a distinct impact on the way we live our lives – and how often we turn to alcohol each day.
The lockdown set to continue in the UK for at least a month or so. During this time, many households and individuals have chosen alcohol to escape from the stress and boredom of lockdown life.
Stress, anxiety, fear, worry – whatever emotion you prefer to attribute to Coronavirus, finding a way to cope with the ever-changing global situation has been a top priority for hundreds of individuals. Alcohol and even other substances may be more tempting and difficult to resist than ever before when emotions are heightened and the world feels like a scary place.
So, when does drinking stop becoming a regular part of life and start becoming harmful in lockdown? If you struggle with consumption, think you may need help, or have a history of Alcohol Use Disorder (or AUD), knowing when to seek professional help can make a vast difference to your life.
How do I know if I’m drinking too much?
If you find yourself thinking about whether your alcohol consumption is normal, there’s a chance that your drinking could already be out of control.
Our guidelines in England, Scotland and Wales for low-risk drinking suggest that the maximum either men or women should drink should be at or below 14 units of alcohol per week. That’s spread out evenly, with a few non-drinking days in-between to ensure the lowest possible level of risk.
Figures released by both Alcohol Change UK and Alcohol Focus Scotland, UK charities focused on drinking, have suggested that the way people drink is changing. For some, lockdown means time away from social drinking in pubs or clubs, which means less consumption overall. But for others, statistics suggest that lockdown has led to the development of problematic habits.
In many cases, the individuals with worsening relationships to alcohol already drank beyond the safe suggested guidelines provided by the Chief Medical Officer before the lockdown – though this isn’t the case for every single person.
Drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week or not taking breaks in-between days of drinking can place you at far higher risk of various serious illnesses. Cancers, strokes and liver disease can all result from a bad relationship with drinking.
If you feel that your mental or physical health has deteriorated due to drinking, seeking help is the best thing you can do. There are a wide range of support and treatment options available to reduce the amount you drink or help to stop drinking altogether,
When should I seek professional help for drinking?
Much like any other problematic habit or addiction, drinking creeps up on you. Whether you use it as a stress reliever, a way to sleep or a way to relax, drinking too much can make many of your problems worse – not better.
High levels of anxiety, problems sleeping, depression and lethargy are all common side effects of drinking too much. Often, you can cause the problems you’re trying to fix to become worse.
As a potent and effective toxin, the temporary relief that alcohol provides can make you feel like it’s working for you. But with so many problems associated with heavy alcohol use, seeking treatment is always a good choice.
You may want to seek professional help with drinking is any of the following applies to you:
• You can’t reduce drinking by yourself
• Your alcohol tolerance is so high that you need to drink more and more
• You have withdrawal symptoms when you are not drinking
• You feel anxious, shaky and unwell when you wake up and until you drink
• You drink until you blackout or sleep
• You attempt to hide your drinking from others
• You become emotional, aggressive or violent when you drink
• You tend to relapse if you stop drinking
• You are continuing to buy alcohol regardless of the impact on health, finances, career and relationships
If you suffer from AUD, you may be unable to stop drinking alone. You may also struggle to control the amount you drink, leading to worsening effects.
Treatment for alcohol and COVID
If you have a dependence on or addiction to alcohol, you may need extra help to overcome your problem.
As a medically recognised disorder, alcoholism is a well-studied and researched illness, with various treatments and medical care available to aid in recovery.
At Steps+, our services include home detox treatments to support you in the process of stopping drinking.
With treatments carried out at home, you get access to the best care standards from comfortable surroundings. This makes our plans fully COVID-19-proof and keeps you safe in the process.
A home detox may be best suited to your needs if you’d prefer not the enter a facility, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. By doing everything at home, you can set yourself up for success in a familiar location, helping you achieve a better transition into an addiction-free life.
Get help today
If you’re struggling with alcohol addiction, now is the best time to start seeking treatment. If you’re unsure what course of action is right for you, our team at Steps+ is always here to help.
If you’re looking for free online help, Alcoholics Anonymous offers free online meetings, while many support groups can be found online to allow you to seek the treatment you need during the lockdown.
If home detox sounds like the best solution for you, get in touch with our team at Steps+ today. We’ll talk you through the process and let you know how it all works. As an alcohol treatment expert, our goal is to help you succeed and achieve an alcohol-free life.