The pandemic altered life for everyone, and the true effects of this time in your life might finally be starting to emerge now that things are calming down. For many people, the early days of the pandemic brought a few fun changes, such as learning how to bake bread from scratch and spending more time with immediate family members. However, the stress of the pandemic also led to serious negative impacts, and it is common to realize that you might have taken your alcohol use too far.
Now that you might be returning to the office or having to manage other responsibilities, it may be clear that you’ve started drinking too much during the pandemic. Although the thought of having an alcohol addiction might be scary, it is understandable that you might’ve turned to substance misuse to manage your stress. Now that things are getting back to normal, you can use this time to regain control over your drinking habits.
How Do You Know If You’re Drinking Too Much?
It can be hard to gauge if you’ve been consuming too much alcohol, especially if you live with people who also drink. You might also hear people talking about day drinking during the pandemic as if it was a normal and acceptable way to cope. While there isn’t a set rule for how much is too much, it can help to know that the recommended daily allowance for alcohol is two drinks for men and one for women. You may also be engaging in binge drinking if you consume more than four drinks in a two-hour period.
There are also other signs that you are drinking excessively, and you’ll want to be concerned if you notice that the following descriptions fit your current lifestyle.
•You start drinking earlier in the day than you did before the pandemic
•You wake up with a hangover more often than you did in the past
•You drink more than you did in your pre-pandemic life
•You have friends or family members who are starting to express concern
•You find it hard to manage your normal daily responsibilities due to alcohol use
Why Is It So Hard to Stop Pandemic Drinking?
During times of great change, people tend to develop new routines and habits to help them cope. Once drinking becomes a habit, it is harder to stop since many aspects of your life can trigger cravings. For instance, you might crave a glass of wine as soon as you prepare to log into a Zoom call if you frequently held virtual happy hours with your colleagues. Or, you might reach for a drink as soon as you hear a stressful news story playing on the TV. Since many people were working from home, it also became easier to have a drink earlier in the day when that might’ve once been frowned upon at work.
Alcohol also generates changes in your body that cause it to become dependent upon you having a drink. Over time, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to a physical addiction that makes it harder to just quit drinking on your own. You may have a physical addiction to alcohol if you experience withdrawal symptoms such as tremors or headaches when you try to stop drinking. People with a physical addiction to alcohol may need professional help to make it possible to get through the early days of quitting since the withdrawal symptoms can sometimes become severe. The same is also true of people who rely on alcohol to help with their mental health conditions. Since alcohol withdrawal symptoms can generate feelings of depression and anxiety, you might benefit from talking to a counselor who can help you find healthier ways to cope.
How Do You Stop Excessive Alcohol Use?
So, now that you’ve found yourself in this situation, you might worry that there’s no way out. Have you tried to cut back on your drinking and found that you just ended up using alcohol anyway? If so, then you’re not alone. Many people are realizing that they’ve developed an unhealthy relationship with alcohol during the pandemic, and there are effective ways to get help. Starting with a professional alcohol assessment can help you determine if you could benefit from inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment.
Did the pandemic leave you dealing with the effects of excessive drinking? We’ve helped other people find ways to stop drinking too much, and we are ready to help you today. Give us a call at 302-842-2390 to find out if you could benefit from professional treatment.