Boredom and anxiety during COVID isolation have led many Britons to addiction
Alcohol consumption has risen sharply during isolation. Europe is facing an obvious increase in household alcohol consumption. Experts say that the trend will persist even after the restrictions are no longer so harsh.
More than half a million people in the UK are facing the effects of alcoholism. Treatment is increasingly difficult to follow, especially since most of those attending the meetings of support groups now resort to online sessions. Experts say that a large part of England’s population is on the verge of alcoholism, due to the increasing consumption of beverages during the pandemic. Doctors say that boredom, isolation and anxiety can lead to alcohol addiction. In the UK, alcoholic beverages sales increased by about 30% since March. Also, since the beginning of March, calls to the AA helpline have increased by 22%, and the use of the chat service has gone up by almost a third.
The danger of alcohol abuse in the context of SARS-COV-2 infection
A sedentary lifestyle accompanied by alcohol consumption can have a harmful effect on the liver. 20 millilitres per 24 hours is the amount that the liver can process. When the amount is high, the unprocessed alcohol begins to accumulate in the bloodstream. Alcohol is not eliminated but is deposited as pure fat, in the liver. And, quite easily, those who abuse alcohol end up suffering from hepatic steatosis.
Chronic hepatitis and later cirrhosis of the liver can occur. The liver is a unique organ with the capability for complete regeneration if the liver disease is treated properly. In the case of pneumonia caused by certain viruses, the liver is the one that helps the lungs cope with the disease. This is only if the lungs are healthy and able to perform their functions. Chronic ethanol abuse almost doubles the risk of developing acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Alcohol consumption increases the psychological imbalance in the context of COVID-19
The link between depressive-anxiety disorders and alcohol consumption has been studied and attested by multiple scientific publications. The overlap between alcohol dependence and depression is based on a circular etiopathogenic process, and the two conditions created a destructive cycle. For example, women with depressive disorders are more prone to excessive alcohol consumption by internalizing symptoms. Mood problems can lead to social isolation and drinking alone.
The immediate effect of alcohol may mask long-term harmful effects. Most often, adults who drink alcohol constantly justify consumption by reducing mental stress, maintaining a state of physical and mental relaxation, but also improving the social component. However, due to the action of ethanol on the central nervous system, alcohol abuse has an inhibitory effect that involves reduced discernment and weakened attention and memory. Thus, it becomes a risk factor for altering behaviour and decision-making.
WHO recommendations on alcohol consumption
Specialists from the World Health Organization have warned against the consumption of alcohol for therapeutic purposes, and advice for maintaining a balanced psychological state refers to the following aspects:
- Avoid drinking alcohol as much as possible;
- If you notice uncontrolled alcohol consumption about yourself or those close to you, do not hesitate to seek the help of a specialist;
- Avoid the association between alcohol consumption and smoking, as the two habits are mutually supportive;
- Talk to younger family members about the risks of alcohol use. Make sure your teenagers and children have no access to alcohol;
- Do not drink alcohol to manage stress or anxiety. Social isolation and ethanol abuse are often associated with an increased suicide rate;
- Drinking alcohol and taking drugs is dangerous, as it is often accompanied by seizures.
If you have been affected by the issues raised in this article, you have to know that getting treatment for your alcohol dependence is the first step on your journey to health and recovery; it is not an easy task and can take time. The online therapy platform Guide to Rehab provides alcohol rehab centres across the UK that can help you overcome your addiction.