Many people struggled during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many have lost their source of income, and have had to adjust to numerous restrictions and confinement at home. These measures have led to major mental health and alcohol use behaviors across the population, according to articles that looked at changes in alcohol use during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Studies found that many people suffer from mental health issues like anxiety and depression. The study also found that since the beginning of the lockdown 26.4% of people increased their alcohol consumption. Those with increased alcohol consumption tended to be older individuals, those working from home, those that have children, and higher educated individuals. Many increased their alcohol intake without giving much thought to it, but how do you know if you are an alcoholic and need alcohol addiction recovery.
Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse or the Onset of Alcoholism?
According to Mayo Clinic, alcoholism is a pattern of use that may cause problems in a person’s daily life, yet they continue to drink. Alcohol consumption is increased to get the same effect, and the person suffers withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking.
A sign of alcohol abuse in males is when they consume five or more drinks in two hours; for a female four drinks within two hours.
Here are some signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse:
- Inability to limit the alcohol you drink and inability to cut down on drinking
- Spend considerable time drinking and recovering from drinking episodes
- Having a craving for alcohol
- Inability to complete obligations at work, school, or home
- Continuing to drink while it is causing physical, social, or personal problems
- Stopping hobbies and activities
- Developing a tolerance to alcohol
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms like nausea, sweating, and shaking when stopping use
What is Considered One Drink?
According to The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, below defines one drink:
- 12 ounces of 5% alcohol beer
- 8 to 9 ounces of malt liquor at 7 percent alcohol
- 5 ounces of 12% alcohol wine
- 5 ounces of 80-proof hard liquor that is 40% alcohol
Many people who abuse alcohol pour stronger drinks than what is defined as a single drink.
When is it Time to Seek Treatment and Help?
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), many people have a difficult time controlling their alcohol intake. Today, 14 million adults 18 and older have drinking issues. Their research shows that 1/3 of those treated for alcohol issues have no problems one year later.
When most people think of treatment, they automatically think of 12-step programs or inpatient rehab. Those programs don’t work for everyone, so there are many more options.
Here are some of the treatment options available:
- Behavioral Treatments: These treatments are developed to change drinking behavior by finding the underlying cause through counseling programs.
- Medication: Many medications are available to help people stop or reduce drinking. They can be used alone or with counseling.
- Support Groups: AA and other 12-step programs provide social support for others trying to control their drinking.
The first step is seeking the advice of a primary care physician, they will:
- Evaluate the patient’s drinking
- Develop a treatment plan
- Check the overall health of the patient
- Suggest alcohol medications, if necessary
- Also, suggest other treatment programs
Other Treatment Options:
Today, there are numerous other treatment options for those suffering from alcohol and other abuse issues.
Here are some of them:
- Residential Recovery: These residential recovery options are typically longer-term options that provide customized treatments. They treat alcohol addiction while addressing the causes of substance abuse.
- Partial Hospitalization Programs: This is for clients in recovery in a residential program but are transitioning to a lower level of care. This program enables the patient to receive treatment while transitioning to the outside world.
- Intensive Outpatient Treatment: This program offers those in need the care they need while continuing to conduct their daily life.
There are now many treatment centers that offer various programs, and it is up to the patient to find the one that is best for them.