According to a study published through the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, 1 in 5 reported drinking more alcohol during the Covid-19 lockdowns.
In suite of the initial lockdowns, back in 2020, came heightened feelings of depression, anxiety, stress, and loneliness for many. This was proven after a survey done by the National Institutes of Health, in which the statistics stand at a staggering 43.7 percent.
These are symptoms that can be directly traced back to alcohol usage and abuse. Jenny Harrison, a psychologist who has spent most of her career treating addiction, has noticed this trend too.
“I think that the lockdowns have increased stress and isolation for people, and that is related to an increase in alcohol use, as people turn to substances to cope with stress or avoid difficult feelings.” Harrison said.
Haley Collier was one of these people.
“I constantly felt lonely and sad, because I had absolutely no social interaction whatsoever. I had so much free time that drinking daily became normal for me, I wasn’t able to function without alcohol.” Collier said.
Collier credits boredom as being one of the primary causations, which is a common theme among others as well. In the same study, 44 percent of Canadians stated that this played a major role. Addy Wilson agrees that this was the case for her.
“Boredom would be the biggest factor. It was mostly something to do to pass the time, and those things turn into habits. So, now it’s a habit that has developed and I’m trying to break.” Wilson said.
Both women made it clear that they are trying to slow down, after noticing a pattern of dependency within themselves. Kayla Black expresses that same sentiment.
“It was something to do, at first. But after a while I was just annoyed and angry if I wasn’t drunk before noon.” Black said.
In another study by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction and the Mental Health Commission of Canada, some disturbing findings are brought to light. 1 in 5 of those who reported an increase in their consumption, also reported problematic use.
I constantly felt lonely and sad, because I had absolutely no social interaction whatsoever. I had so much free time that drinking daily became normal for me, I wasn’t able to function without alcohol.
Harrison offers some healthier options for those who are currently struggling,
“Some alternatives to drinking to cope might be working with a professional to become aware of those feelings or experiences of stress. Instead of drinking to alleviate stress folks might try exercise, creative expression, journaling, or meditation. Try reaching out to friends, family, or other supports.”