Alcohol & Lockdown: The Potential Harm Of Social Isolation

Alcohol & Lockdown: The Potential Harm Of Social Isolation

Why You Might Be Drinking Too Much During Lockdown?

A drinking habit that may have initially arose from starting to drink earlier on the day and having virtual drinks with your mates, may well have developed into using alcohol as a coping mechanism for the doom and gloom of lockdown life.


As lockdown restrictions have persisted into the beginning of 2021, the tone of the pandemic has also shifted. Resulting in the potential disappearance of another layer of connection and purpose from our current lives.


However, if lockdown has tipped you into problematic drinking tendencies, then you are not alone.


During the first lockdown, those who started to rely on alcohol to get through the day assumed that the tendency would end once restrictions ended. Nevertheless, the pandemic has creeped into the colder months and those drinking habits have stuck around too.


How Much Alcohol Is Too Much?

One of the unintended consequence of a national lockdown has meant that Brits are consuming considerably more alcohol than usual. Hence, Dry January is a particularly good opportunity to re-consider our drinking habits and identify potential how much alcohol is too much?


Public health officials advise that adults should not drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week. Nonetheless, there is no specific amount of alcohol consumption that determines whether we have created alcohol related tendencies or not.


A can of beer and a standard glass of wine are equivalent to 2 units of alcohol each, so the reality is that if we are drinking more than two glasses of wine or two pints of beer in a day, then we are already drinking more than deemed suitable.


We need to ask ourselves why we are consuming more alcohol behind closed doors. The loss of regular social interactions and the increase in social isolation has left many feeling more alone, leaving some to turn towards alcohol as a refuge to pass never-ending lockdown days.

What Impact Has The Global Pandemic Had On Our Drinking Habits?

To put it simply, we are definitely drinking more at home than we usually would. The trend in alcohol sales have increased in the pandemic, with spikes in alcohol sales coinciding with the announcement of the coronavirus lockdowns.


The lockdown restrictions and lack of structure have undeniably increased temptation. Without an early commute in the morning and less reasons to step out of the front door, it can be easy to have a few extra glasses at the end of another day at home.


During coronavirus, the blurred lines between our personal and professional lives means that lockdown drinking is not only occurring in our homes but also overlapping into our hybrid workplaces. To consider whether you are consuming too much alcohol;


  • Ask yourself if your drinking habits are causing a problem?


  • Towards the end of each week, you have visually noticed the empty bottles lined up and realised you have been drinking more than usual.


  • You find yourself counting down the hours until you can have that first glass of the day, due to the added stress and disconnection of lockdown life then it might be a sign that you are drinking too much.


What Is The Purpose Of Dry January?

After the typical increase in alcohol consumption throughout the Christmas festivities, many try to balance their drinking habits by embarking on Dry January and completely halting alcohol consumption for the first month of the year.


The benefits of committing to Dry January include commencing the new year on a sober, healthier and more refreshed start. It can also be a great opportunity to reduce your calorie intake and kick start any weight loss goals or new year resolutions you might be working towards.


Dry January 2021 is therefore a good period to encourage people to revaluate their drinking habits, consider whether they have been drinking too much and raise awareness for alcohol dependencies.


Finding Connection & Community During Covid-19

Prior to Covid-19, drinking alcohol was a common outlet for connection. A strong drinking culture in the UK, pub and bars being a centre for socialisation.


Now the connections which we formerly gained through socialising outside our home and in the workplace have been replaced with enjoying alcohol at home.


For many of those currently on furlough, the routine in the working day has completely disappeared, creating an opportunity for alcohol to slip in to our lockdown routines.


With people struggling to make connections during this pandemic and limited access to a wider sense of community.


The absence of community has therefore been one of the biggest social challenges about this pandemic with less opportunity to maintain communal connections.


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