People tend to drink more during stressful times, so it’s not surprising to see an increase in alcohol consumption during the Coronavirus pandemic. Changes in daily routine and fears about health can cause anxiety and loneliness, and having an extra cocktail or two may seem harmless while ordered to stay at home.
Be careful of this slippery slope, however, because an increase in alcohol consumption can harm your mental health. Excess drinking increases your risk for depression and capacity to handle stress, so it’s important to acknowledge your feelings and challenges in order to avoid using alcohol to self-medicate. Here are some warning signs that your drinking is a problem:
Not keeping up with responsibilities
It’s understandable to stay in your pajamas during lockdown, but if you find you’re not keeping up with major responsibilities at home, work, or school, it may be a sign your drinking is a problem. When alcohol interrupts your daily living, you’re probably drinking too much.
Drinking to cope
Many people drink to cope with stress, boredom and loneliness, and those that do so often drink larger amounts of alcohol. If you can relate to this, consider healthier activities to relax and manage your feelings.
Aggression and violence
If you find you’re angry, aggressive or violent when you are drinking, it’s a problem, and it’s likely best to stop drinking altogether. Alcohol reduces inhibitions and affects your ability to regulate emotions. Aggression while drinking signals you may need to address underlying mental health issues.
Building a tolerance
If you find the usual amount of alcohol doesn’t have the same effect and you need to drink more, that’s a sign you have increased your tolerance to alcohol and is an early sign of dependence.
Concern from others
If your relationships are strained and people close to you are commenting on how much you’re drinking, it may be time to monitor your alcohol consumption.
If you’re concerned about an increase in your drinking, reach out for help. LifeStance Health offers non-judgmental counseling to help you understand the underlying factors that contribute to substance abuse. Our therapists can help you cope with daily stress and set healthy life goals. Reach out via the link below for a confidential in-person or Telehealth appointment.