A common way to cope with the coronavirus pandemic is drinking, and more and more people are developing new alcohol addiction issues. The Doctors identify the red flags that may be a sign you are drinking too much to cope with COVID-19.
Psychiatrist Dr. Domenick Sportelli says he has seen an increase in of people seeking treatment for alcohol abuse in recent months, and many of them never had previous alcohol-related issues.
He notes there are universal increases in stress, anxiety, isolation, and notes we are spending much more time home (along with more and more virtual happy hours) -- something he calls "the perfect storm for people to self-medicate." He also notes many people think they are having "a few drinks," but in reality the quantity of alcohol they are actually drinking is much more than the recommended 5 ounces.
He says the signs you may be drinking too much include:
- Drinking more than the recommended amount, which is 1 drink for both men and women - He stresses to watch your serving size and remember you are your own bartender now.
- Drinking to escape stress - Dr. Sportelli notes alcohol will only reduce anxiety for a short amount of time and could make you feel worse later.
- Drinking while working - He notes drinking on the job was not something commonly done before the pandemic and everyone should be mindful of mixing work and drinks.
- Drinking when bored - The psychiatrist says this is "asking for trouble" and suggests instead of using Zoom to drink, why not use it for a hobby, exercise, or a cooking class.
*If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction please call the confidential and free National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP or visit their website.