Florida-based ringleader Andrea Carbon, 51, has not been a big drink for most of his life. But when the epidemic began, he was constantly worried about his job, his health, and the safety of his children.
Although many people were able to work from home last year, Ms. Carbon was required to enter the office. He cried in the morning as he drove down deserted highways to his office in downtown Tampa, which he described as “a ghost town.”
As his stress levels increased, so did his alcohol intake. Before the epidemic, Mrs. Carbon ate a glass of red wine at night. But in May, its acceptance increased significantly. “I noticed that as soon as I got home I drank a glass of wine, then a glass of dinner, then we sat down to watch TV, I would drink a glass or two,” he said. “I was drinking a bottle at the end of the night.”
Mrs. Carbon is far from lonely. Fear and frustration over last year’s tumultuous events – epidemics, civil unrest, political upheaval – social isolation led to increased stress, and many increased their use of alcohol. It seems that the wives and parents of young children are particularly hard hit. A nationwide survey commissioned by the American Psychological Association in February found that one in four adults said they drank more last year to manage stress. Among those with children aged 5 to 7, this figure has doubled.
Another study published in the JAMA Network Open in October found that Americans increased their alcohol consumption by 14 percent from a year earlier. But the same study found that women who drank heavily had a 41 percent increase in the number of days they drank, meaning they drank four or more drinks in a matter of hours.
“Women have disproportionately left the workforce completely compared to men. “They have disproportionately taken on work around the house, child care and child education,” said Michael S. Pollard, lead author of the JAMA study ավագ Senior Sociologist at RAND Corporation. “So it makes sense that women would also disproportionately increase their alcohol consumption.”
Last year’s psychological damage caused a sharp decline in physical health, including widespread weight gain and sleep disorders. Hospitals around the country have reported an increase in the intake of other eggs associated with hepatitis, cirrhosis, liver failure and alcoholism. Almost no group has been spared.
Driftwood Recovery, an addiction և mental health rehabilitation center in Texas, received so many treatment requests last year that it has a two-month waiting list. Driftwood Psychology Director Vanessa Kennedy said many of her clients were parents who started drinking heavily as they struggled to balance their day-to-day work with home-based learning and other parenting responsibilities.
“They are used to their children going to school happily, an experienced teacher teaching their children while they go to work, focusing on good work for their family, and providing financial support,” said Dr. Kennedy. “Their job roles contradict their parental roles, it was difficult for them to create space, to do those things well.”
Dr. Kennedy has treated a wide range of patients who turned to alcohol over the past year. Some lost their jobs or closed their businesses, leaving them without a day-to-day structure to support their families. Others were college students who felt socially isolated when they were sent home for virtual school or older adults who drank because they were depressed and could not see their loved ones or hug their grandchildren.
Last year, Gordon Mueller, a retiree living in Rochester, New York, rarely drank more than one or two drinks a day. But when the epidemic broke out, the economy and the stock market slipped, Miller Mueller panicked as he followed the news and worried about his retirement account. When Mr. Mueller took refuge with his wife at home, his alcohol intake turned into seven drinks a day. Vodka cocktails in the second half of the day, wine and whiskey at night before going to bed. “We had no idea if we were going to overcome this financially, let alone get sick and possibly die,” he said. “It simply came to our notice then. Those were the two emotions. “
But many people have found new ways to control their drinking. In December, Mr. Mueller turned to Moderation Management, an online community that helps people who want to stop drinking but do not have to abstain. He started attending Zoom calls with other members և using the organization’s personal Facebook group to learn tips for reducing his alcohol և learning tips. Then, in January, he decided to give up alcohol for a while to see how he would feel.
“I am happy to say that I did not drink this year, I feel much better. “I sleep better, I can do more,” he said. “The nice thing about this moderate group is that it’s all or nothing. ‘You can no longer drink, or you have a failed approach to alcohol.’
In Tampa, Ms. Carbon began using a popular program called Cutback Coach, which helps people with alcoholism set goals and reminders so they can develop healthier drinking habits. Using the app, Ms. Carbon plans how much to drink each week. The program tracks his daily intake, sends him notifications about his goals, updates his progress, including all the calories he has avoided, and the money he has saved by drinking less. He now has at least two “dry” days a week և halved his drink.
“Seeing the progress I have made, I feel good, I make it continue to do so,” he said. “I sleep much better. I rarely wake up at night. I wake up less slow, less tired, I go to the gym more regularly, whereas before I could not be dragged there. ”
Here are some simple tips for people who want to reduce their drinking.
Instead of relying on willpower, make a plan every Sunday to limit your drinking to a certain amount each day. This is a tactic known as the pre-commission that Cutback Coach uses to help thousands of its members. The idea behind it is to increase your chances of success by sticking to a plan, limiting your ability to stand back in the future. Here are some other examples of pre-election assignments: Deciding not to eat unhealthy food at home և Encouraging you to exercise by planning to exercise with a friend. Studies show that pre-commissioning is an effective way to change behavior.
Find social support
Talk to your spouse, friend, or family member about your plan to drink less. They can make you responsible: help you find healthier ways to manage stress. Make a plan to take a walk with your boyfriend or partner at the end of the day, for example, instead of opening a bottle. “You can find out you have a friend who says, ‘Why don’t we go play tennis or do something else to unwind after work?'” Dr. Kennedy said. “There are many benefits to trying healthy activities instead of wine.”
Set rules to slow down drinking. Moderation Management CEO Mary Reed follows a simple rule to help her avoid heavy drinking. Each glass of wine you drink should last at least an hour. “My strongest tool is drinking time,” he said. “We always tell new members we have stop buttons, but we just ignore them.” In Drifwood, Dr. Kennedy uses a similar rule. He tells people to replace each alcoholic beverage with a glass of water.
Change your daily routine
Some people drink more out of habit than the real desire to drink alcohol. Try replacing sparkling water or another beverage with your regular beverage. Mr. Mueller had a cocktail while watching the evening news. But when he stopped drinking, he switched to a cup of tea or a non-alcoholic beer while watching the news and realized that he just needed a drink. “Now I still have a glass in my hand, but it has no alcohol,” he said. “It’s almost like having a glass in your hand is a habit, not alcohol.”