Normally, people enjoy having an occasional glass of wine at dinner or a couple of beers with friends. However, research shows that alcohol can leave people particularly susceptible to disease and infection – sometimes even in moderation.
In the midst of the novel coronavirus outbreak, it’s crucial to stay aware of what can generate new risk factors for contracting the virus. Alcohol and illicit drugs, unfortunately, could make the global pandemic more dangerous.
Alcohol and COVID-19 are a dangerous mix. Alcohol increases the risk of developing certain illnesses, and alcohol can kill. Alcohol can exacerbate health vulnerability and risks of getting COVID-19. Unless we’re prepared, drinking could make our coronavirus experience worse, not better.
What Is COVID-19?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, COVID-19 is a new coronavirus that spreads easily from person to person. Many people become infected by droplets spread during coughs or sneezes.
This novel coronavirus has unfortunately turned into a global health crisis, influencing the world’s economy and changing the way we work and live – possibly for the rest of our lives.
Not only are people more alone right now in the depths of social isolation and self-quarantine, but they’re also highly stressed. COVID-19 is leaving people under lockdown across the country, and many of these people have lost their jobs and are struggling financially. In April 2020, the unemployment rate rose to 14.7% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
That’s pretty stressful.
No one knows exactly what will come of COVID-19 next, nor what its long-term effects on mental health will be, but we do know what it’s done to alcohol sales.
Since the beginning of the novel coronavirus outbreak, many people have been rushing to the liquor store and other outlets to stock up on spirits and liquors. In fact, COVID-19 pandemic alcohol consumption recently led to a 55% increase in alcohol sales, according to a measurement by the University of Utah.
Although access to alcohol has decreased in some areas (think bars, restaurants, etc.), people are still able to purchase alcohol at grocery stores and liquor stores.
What Is Alcohol Use Disorder?
Alcohol Use Disorder is an umbrella term for many different forms of alcohol abuse, ranging from mild to severe.
Alcohol use involves drinking to the point of detriment.
Some symptoms of alcohol use disorder include:
- The inability to cut back despite financial, social, and other personal consequences
- Spend a significant amount of time being sick from alcohol or hungover
- Have immense cravings and spend energy trying to attain alcohol
An alcohol use disorder is much more than simply the amount of alcohol that you drink. AUD is also about the emotional and social effects that drinking has on your life, as well as what happens when you try to quit drinking.
Despite multiple personal or financial consequences, the drinker typically has trouble stopping or cutting back.
The mental symptoms of AUD are more subtle and insidious than their physical symptoms. Cravings, for example, are sometimes difficult for friends and family members to see.
Why Does Alcohol Make COVID-19 More Dangerous?
Make sure you always remember that alcohol does not protect you against COVID-19 or any other illnesses.
Drinking alcohol can make people sicker, and make people get sick more easily. When alcohol is consumed regularly – especially heavily – it poses multiple health risks.
Alcohol can cause multiple health issues, besides just the stereotypical drinkers’ liver disease. Drinking, especially every day, can cause:
- An overgrowth of “bad” bacteria in your gut
- Heart issues
- A suppressed immune system (and an increased risk of catching illnesses)
- Your body to be distracted with processing alcohol, rather than tending to vital needs like fighting infections
People who drink moderately-to-excessively have the potential to develop illnesses directly caused by drinking, which also put them in the “at-risk” category for the novel coronavirus. Heavy drinkers may even have an increased risk of developing Pneumonia, according to the European Respiratory Journal.
During the novel coronavirus, there is no reason to inflict any damage to your immune system and vital organs. Steering clear of heavy alcohol use and illicit drugs is crucial.
Get Alcohol Rehabilitation
If you or a loved one may be suffering from a substance use disorder or alcoholism, contact our inpatient treatment center today. Healthy Life Recovery’s admissions specialists will explain your treatment options and possibly verify your health insurance.
Healthy Life Recovery offers multiple levels of care for people suffering from Alcohol Use Disorder, including detoxification, residential, outpatient services, and Medication-Assisted Treatment, or MAT.
Peer support groups, such as 12-step programs for alcoholism, can also help people achieve long-lasting sobriety. Many 12-step meetings are now offering online gatherings to stay connected with other alcoholics.
Don’t let your drinking suppress your immune system during the COVID-19 pandemic. Call our addiction professionals today and speak to someone ready to help you achieve a new way of life.
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San Diego, CA 92109