Quarantines and day drinking as a means of coping: What to know about alcohol use and COVID-19

The last several weeks have exposed us all to extraordinary pressure. Social distancing measures have been put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19, bringing with them concerns about the impacts of long-term social isolation on mental health.

Bars and restaurants may be closed but alcohol sales have skyrocketed since the outset of the pandemic. According to Nielson, alcohol sales in the third week of March were up 55% in the U.S. from the same time last year; online alcohol sales were up 243%. What’s more, the World Health Organization warns that alcohol may put people at increased risk for coronavirus and weakens the body’s immune system.

Broadway Medical Clinic is sharing some important reminders about managing your alcohol use and maintaining sound mental health in this stressful time:

Have you noticed that your social media feeds are flooded with ads for wine delivered by the case? Your friends may be sharing memes that normalize “day drinking,” drinking alone, and using alcohol as a means of coping.

These messages often target parents at a time when they are especially vulnerable. Many Moms and Dads are holding down full-time jobs, while also providing full-time childcare and helping to educate their kids each day.

But alcoholism is no joke. And studies show that people living with mental health disorders or substance abuse disorders may be struggling even more during this pandemic.

Aren’t sure how to know if you’re having a problem — or what to do about it? Here are mental health strategies you can lean on:

Pay attention to how much you’re drinking.

Consider keeping track of your alcohol consumption to see whether you’re drinking more than usual. It could be something as simple as making a note in your planner or calendar app.

Find out what’s behind the urge to drink and replace it with a healthier behavior.

Feeling lonely? Reach out to a friend or family member to schedule a video chat. Anxious? Meditate, journal, take a walk through the neighborhood or practice deep breathing.

There are plenty of podcasts and apps — like Calm — with resources to support your mental health. Find one that works for you.

If you or someone you love is having difficulty coping or you’re concerned about excessive alcohol consumption, please reach out to us.

Our team of clinicians and behavioral health professionals are committed to your whole body health – including your mental health. We have been a trusted provider of medical care in the Portland area since 1937.

Contact us today to schedule a virtual appointment with one of our providers. We’re here for you.

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