Coronavirus has had an adverse impact on individuals across the world. Isolation, increasing volumes of stress and feeling anxious about the near and far future has led to an incline in the number of people turning to alcohol.
If you are worried that a loved one is turning to alcohol to alleviate any arising mental health problems, we would highly encourage you to read our Coronavirus Alcohol & Mental Health Guide.
Likewise, if your alcohol consumption has escalated as you battle to ease your mental health concerns, you may find this guide useful.
How Coronavirus Has Impacted Alcohol Consumption
As touched on above, Coronavirus has had a devastating impact on people across the world. Increasing levels of stress, anxiety and other mental health conditions have caused the number of people consuming alcohol to dull both internal and external noises to enlarge.
A survey conducted by King’s College London determined that 29% of participants claimed that they had begun drinking more than they usually would when the Government introduced the lockdown in April. The Global Drug Survey further contribute to this speculation, confirming that over half of British respondents stated that they had increased the number of days and the amount of alcohol they drink each week. It is believed that this drastic increase in alcohol consumption is a result of feeling depressed, worried and lonely.
How Coronavirus and Alcohol Has Impacted Mental Health Conditions
Across the UK, one in four people experience mental health problems. Paired with intensified concerns regarding COVID-19 and a tremendous urge to drink alcohol, the number of individuals suffering from anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder is on the rise.
Research highlights that those suffering from mental health problems will turn to alcohol to soothe and numb their feelings. However, as the side effects that consuming alcohol dispenses wear off, anxiety levels, for example, are enhanced. As a result, urges to consume larger quantities of alcohol at more frequent intervals arise. This leaves users locked into a vicious cycle. Eventually, this pattern increases the likelihood of suffering from alcohol addictions.
How Alcohol Impacts Anxiety
Individuals that turn to alcohol to reduce their anxiety will quite often find that they can relax while under the influence. However, as the high of the alcohol wears off, they experience more significant physical and psychological symptoms of anxiety.
In the days that follow a high level of alcohol consumption, anxiety can seem vigorous and almost unbearable. This leaves individuals with a compelling need to once again turn to alcohol for support.
Individuals with anxiety are likely to feel several side effects after consuming alcohol. However, they may believe that this is because their anxiety is becoming progressively worse.
Side effects that are often experienced include, but are not limited to;
- Increased levels of anxiety after alcohol consumption
- Greater chances of suffering from panic attacks
- Elevated heart rate and blood pressure
- Waves of nausea and sickness
- Feeling agitated and paranoid
How Alcohol Impacts Depression
Consuming alcohol can eventually cause people to suffer from depression. Likewise, many with depression turn to alcohol for comfort. When battling depression, chemicals found in alcohol can cause serotonin and dopamine levels to fluctuate significantly. These chemicals control the regulation of moods that we feel, and as a result, cause individuals to feel extremely happy or exceptionally low.
Individuals that obtain medication for their depression are advised to avoid consuming alcohol due to the side effects it can inflict. These side effects often include, but are not limited to;
- Feeling lethargic
- Escalated bouts of feeling sad and unhappy
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Sensations of feeling irritable
- Mood swings
- Low self-esteem
- Co-ordination problems
- Suicidal thought
How Alcohol Impacts Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Suffering from PTSD naturally increases the risk of developing an alcohol addiction. In fact, three-quarters of individuals living with PTSD have reported that they either abuse alcohol or suffer from alcohol addiction.
Individuals that have experienced or been impacted by a traumatic event will often turn to alcohol to forget or numb the feelings associated with the stress they feel.
However, in doing so, it is reported that stress disorders can become progressively intense, leaving individuals experiencing a wealth of side effects including;
- Heightened levels of isolation
- Significant increase in depression
- Increased bouts of feeling irritable
- Stress levels are more likely to feel higher
- Flashbacks of the events that have led to PTSD
- Intense thoughts and feelings related to traumatic experiences
- Increasingly levels of stress related to traumatic experiences
- Suicidal thoughts
How to Cope with Mental Health Conditions Without Turning to Alcohol
Although coping with mental health conditions without turning to alcohol may seem unmanageable, there are various things that you can do to reduce the negative feelings and emotions that mental health conditions emit. These include;
- Implementing a daily routine
- Adapting your diet to include plenty of nutritious food and avoid consuming too much sugar and processed food
- Exercising and keep your body active
- Identifying stress and anxiety triggers
- Writing down any anxious or stress-related thoughts you have in a diary or journal
- Focusing on your breathing
- Setting daily, weekly and monthly goals
- Going for walks and embracing nature
- Talking to your friends and family
While these strategies will not cause mental health conditions to subside completely, they will help reduce the need and desire to turn to alcohol to reduce pessimistic thoughts.
How Asana Lodge Can Help You
If you find yourself suffering from anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder alongside battling with alcohol addictions, we can offer you a dual diagnosis and provide appropriate treatment.
Taking advantage of our dual diagnosis will often see us treating alcohol addiction with detoxification treatment alongside implementing non-traditional therapies to support mental health conditions. In doing so, we can remove harmful toxins from your body and increase brain function to reduce the severity of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.
If upon reading our Coronavirus Alcohol & Mental Health Guide, you believe you would benefit from seeking our support, contact us today