More Zoom Parties, More Alcohol Consumption: Substance Abuse Rise During COVID-19

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In late March, Newsweek reported that alcohol sales had spiked 55%. Compared with the same dates in 2019, hard liquor sales increased 75%, beer 66%, and wine 42%. People are out of work, staying home, and since bars and restaurants were closed for ten weeks, alcohol sales in stores skyrocketed.

A plethora of alcohol at your doorstep

Cocktails “to go” can be ordered via phone and picked up via curbside or delivered to your front door, and liquor stores and dispensaries are delivering alcohol and marijuana at the click of a button.

More people are saying cheers with a drink in hand over virtual happy hours. It’s nearly impossible to scroll through social media without coming across the trendy drink term “quarantini”. Many people have posted phrases such as “days are divided by coffee hours and alcohol hours” or “during a crisis, you know, cocktail hour can be almost any hour.” Many of these phrases and trends are meant to be funny, but when daily drinking becomes a habit, it can suddenly down spiral into an addiction, which is never a laughing matter.

Stress, isolation, and boredom increase the need to use

The increase in alcohol and drug use may be related to boredom, isolation, and stress as many people are stressed about the future, finances, and physical health due to COVID-19. The combination of stress and social distancing can make maintaining sobriety all the more challenging for those individuals in recovery. As a result, it will not be surprising to see treatment admission rates rise due to relapse.

Recovery groups and therapy sessions have transitioned from in-person to virtual meetings, and with any change comes some adjustment, which can bring added stress to those in recovery. Although teletherapy is an overall positive thing that has occurred during COVID-19, it will take some time for many to see this as the “new normal” and a healthy alternative to in-person therapy.

More methadone to take home

Many addiction treatment providers and centers have felt compelled to dispense more methadone, Suboxone, and naltrexone to individuals who are enrolled in medication-assisted treatment programs to reduce visits and protect patients and staff, according to a popular article published in the Washington Post. Federal regulation loosened up requirements for take-home doses, in an attempt to limit COVID-19 exposure. Still, with more opioid medications at home, this means individuals are more prone to relapse and overdose.

When the virus is over, our mental health does not end

Although it may seem deflating to discuss the increased rise in drug and alcohol abuse during this pandemic, it is the reality we are dealing with at the moment. The increase in mental health disorders, suicide attempts, and substance use disorders due to the effects of COVID can potentially wreak havoc on individuals and society for the unforeseeable future, even when COVID-19 is over. The virus may be eliminated within time, but the trauma, stress, and associated financial burdens that many Americans have endured will most likely be long-lasting.
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No matter where you are in your journey to recovery, AKUA Mind & Body can help. We understand that life in recovery can be tough. If you are afraid of a relapse, seeking help for the first time or trying to get back on track, we have a program for you.

We are committed to the health and safety of you and/or your loved ones, and we are FULLY OPEN & OPERATIONAL. At AKUA Mind & Body, the safety of our Clients is our top priority. We are aware of the increased fear and anxiety among most people regarding the current pandemic. Hence, we are doing everything that we can to keep healthfulness and safety.

If you or someone you love is struggling with a mental health illness or substance use and addiction disorder, we can help now more than ever! AKUA Mind & Body provides an integrative treatment approach with multiple levels of care from detox, residential to virtual outpatient programs. With several facilities throughout the Sacramento Region, Los Angeles & Orange County Region, and San Diego Region, we aim to provide our clients with a solid foundation for healing and transformation. Gender specific and Co-ed facilities available.

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