We have seen an increase in a variety of mental health issues since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Between the lockdown, the loss of loved ones, the change in job status, and the general anxiety of a major illness spreading through our world, people have found themselves in unfamiliar territory. When faced with these fears and stressors, some have turned to therapy, some have turned to self-injury, some have completely withdrawn, and some have turned to drinking and began engaging in addictive behaviors.
So, you might be wondering why is this happening and what are the dangers in drinking as a coping mechanism?
When someone is faced with a difficult situation, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, they may feel that their only coping mechanism is to drink alcohol. They find that drinking numbs the emotional fears and anxieties that they cannot face on their own. People will find that after a stressful day or a stressful event, the only way they know to unwind is with a drink in their hand. COVID has only added to those daily stressors that people deal with. Drinking has become an acceptable way of dealing with this because for most, this is unprecedented territory. No one knows what the acceptable reaction is to the way we are living. Therefore, given the nature of the world we live in right now, this has become an increasingly popular coping skill. However, there is danger to this choice. You have the well-known risks of becoming addicted and dependant on the drink. You will find yourself needing multiple drinks just to get through the day. This can lead to physical addiction symptoms, as well as emotional dangers such as increase in violence and anger. The more you lean on alcohol as your stress relief, the more you put yourself at risk for these and many other detrimental effects. It is important that you deal with the emotions, anxieties, and stressful feelings you are suffering from. We do not know when this pandemic will end. Therefore, it is important to face these fears head on now and develop a healthier way of dealing with the stress. Some ways that you can deal with these feelings include engaging in physical activity, proper nutrition, meditation, or finding a mental health professional to speak to in order get to the root cause of your thoughts. Sometimes, just speaking to someone and verbally expressing your thoughts can be the stress relief that you need. Drinking does not need to be the answer.
Always remember, you must acknowledge the past and embrace the present to enjoy the future. If you drown out the present, you will not be able to enjoy your future, which we hope can be very bright.