COVID-19 and Alcoholism: Gray Zone

In the room Is an online drinking community. Picture Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous meet Facebook and Zoom. Since the launch of the COVID-19 pandemic, they have seen a significant surge in membership.

“Our normal growth rate was about 4 to 5,000 new members a month,” said Ron Tannebaum, co-founder of In The Rooms. “In March, there were almost 50,000 people.”

Kempomerans, another co-founder of the online community, said:

Then there are people who started drinking for a pandemic in the so-called “gray zone”. Monica suggests that some people have started drinking too much but are not suffering from a full-blown addiction to alcohol.

Brandi Wiatrak says that before the shutdown, he actually drank only occasionally, like at dinner with a friend. “It originally started out like a social thing. For example, I can still connect with friends. We go to the video and drink together. It’s as if we’re out. ”

Wiatrak is a distraction that welcomes drinking from the stress of being trapped at home, hosting a freelance marketing career, parenting website The Cultured Baby, Mom After Hours podcast, and responding to children’s educational needs and husband’s threats. It is said that it became. I’m not working.

“Then I wasn’t going to go to the Zoom Happy Hour phone, but I was still drinking. I was still drinking the same amount,” Wiatrac said. “I think there was an average of at least one or two Zoom Happy Hour invitations during that first week and a half. And I was tagged about the shot on Facebook, just like taking a shot. , Tag your friends and continue the shot. “

In January, a report from the National Institutes of Health (NIAAA) on NIH alcohol abuse and alcoholism revealed a calm trend. The number of recorded deaths from alcohol has more than doubled within 20 years.

Dr. George Coob oversees the institute and says there is growing concern that the COVID-19 pandemic may have caused bad problems. “Maybe some people have started using alcohol to deal with it. What we are worried about is that this social isolation accelerates the transition to alcohol use disorders.”

To highlight the seriousness of the problem, Coob points to a new study showing an increased risk of COVID-19-related complications such as acute respiratory distress syndrome. “Misuse of alcohol increases the likelihood of this syndrome, and we know that this virus affects the lungs. Therefore, a potential interaction with heavy drinking. And are vulnerable to the actual bad things the virus does to your body. “

The NIAAA report also found that women formed the fastest-growing group of people suffering from alcohol use disorders. The group Koob says is also more vulnerable to its effects.

“”[Women are] The smaller it is, the different the water distribution in the body. Therefore, if you drink the same amount as a man, your blood alcohol level will be higher, “says Koob. “Second, there is something called stretching in some of these disorders, such as liver disease and other illnesses related to alcohol-there is an earlier onset of the condition in women who drink too much.”

When asked about these findings, Wiatrak said anecdotally, it feels strongly encouraged among women to drink. “That’s how I felt the moment I became a mom. I was always told on social media and [advertised] In T-shirts and all these different places where moms need wine. “

Wiatrak says he noticed a difference in his disliked behavior after drinking for several weeks each day. “I always get what I call a grain of wine. I was impatient. It scared me a bit because it’s not my nature. I’m always joking and my daughter It makes me very happy. And I love playing with her every day, but when I was drinking that first week I wanted to stay in bed, “Wiatrak said. .. I didn’t want to be a parent. “

Wiatrak family

She says she knew she had to stop drinking.

“I didn’t want to teach my kids that drinking was your remedy when things went wrong or things frustrated you. So I have self-control. I decided to detox during the quarantine to prove to myself that I was. “

There she found another way to treat the anxiety caused by the pandemic. “I started exercising more. I started meditation a lot, and the next day I said I was pretty happy.”

How do you know that there is a problem?

Wiatrak says her husband upheld her desire to stop drinking. However, putting the bottle down, especially during a pandemic, can be difficult for those who live alone or who do not have a strong support system.

Pomerans said there are clear signs to watch out for. “The best way to determine if you really need help is if one of your friends comes to you. You have someone who says you’re a little crazy. It’s a bad thing because it’s not easy for someone to do. “

Tannenbaum says another sign that may be a problem is when it gets harder to function every day. “You can’t do what you used to. You’re too impaired. You don’t pick up the phone because it doesn’t spin.”

Koob suggests considering why you should get the drink, including admitting that it was a year of unprecedented turmoil for most people.

“The real danger has to do with drinking alcohol when you start to self-regulate your mood,” Coob said. “Alcohol is a great emotional painkiller. But the bad news is that it only works for a few hours. And when it wears down, all those demons come back and they get worse. I will. “

Koob says he hopes more people will use the recently expanded remote mental health services and encourages Americans to rely on trusted friends and family for accountability.

The· In the room The founders agree and Tannebaum emphasizes the most important thing in recovery. support. “It’s about having someone who can accurately convey and understand your feelings.”

COVID-19 and Alcoholism: Gray Zone

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