It can be tempting to have a drink, or even several drinks, a little more often when stuck at home to fight against boredom or stress. However, you should be aware of the risks of addiction and dependence. Here are a few tips for managing your alcohol consumption.
Even if the bars and pubs are all closed, there are risks of increased alcohol consumption while under lockdown.
Everyone's stress level has increased because of the current circumstances and the lockdown, and this is precisely what causes addiction, according to Professor Amine Benyamina, President of the French Federation of Addictology. He says that 'under lockdown, people suffering from addiction experience greater stress than others.' So, how can one manage their consumption?
Identify your habits so you can manage them better
Thanks to a study published in The Lancet, the impact of quarantine can be observed even several years after it has ended, and an increase can be seen in the use of addictive substances such as alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, which can come with psychiatric disorders and depression.
Here are some recommendations regarding alcohol:
- List your habits and change the ones that make you want to drink alcohol.
- Focus on activities where you won't be tempted to drink; you don't have to have a drink on every Skype or Zoom call.
- Delay your first drink; you can start with non-alcoholic drinks.
- Drink water regularly and remember to eat, especially in the evening, and keep a glass of water and some food nearby, even when you're drinking alcohol.
- Set a maximum number of drinks, and a time to stop drinking.
The important thing is to stay in control. Besides, since alcohol weakens the immune system, it makes you more exposed to the virus.
Am I an alcoholic, or am I becoming one?
Since the beginning of the lockdown, have you gone on a video call with a distant acquaintance, just to have an excuse to have a drink without feeling guilty? This is fun if it's occasional, but it can quickly become an addiction before you see it coming.
You might want to ask yourself this question: 'Can I go without alcohol for a day without feeling cravings or feeling bad?' Answer it truthfully. If the answer is no, then you have to face reality with this objective fact: you are an addict. But this is not the end of the world, and it can be cured.
To manage your consumption, follow these public health recommendations:
- No more than two glasses a day
- Impose days without any alcohol consumption on yourself
- No more than 10 standard size glasses per week
- No alcohol for pregnant women, or for teenagers and those who are younger (this should be common sense)
Be careful after the lockdown
Stay on guard. The end of the lockdown doesn't mean you should rush for the first drink you can get your hands on. Alcohol addicts who have weaned themselves off alcohol, whether by necessity or by choice, could be at risk for a relapse.
And non-addicted people can become addicted as well, either by drinking more than usual during the lockdown or by drinking more and more on nights out afterwards. So be careful with your drinking habits: allow yourself to have a good time, but don't drown your sorrows, stress, or boredom in alcohol.
And, of course, don't share your glass, bottle, or can with anyone else to avoid the rapid spread of the virus.