Substance use disorder experts fear another crisis is bubbling below the surface as alcohol sales go up during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Gateway Foundation said drug and alcohol treatment staff are concerned that many people are struggling to monitor their alcohol intake in these times of reduced face-to-face interaction.
“People are feeling trauma, they’re feeling isolated, they’re depressed, they’re sad, they’re bored, and so I think that’s what’s really increasing these trends,” said Dr. Thomas Britton of the Gateway Foundation. “For those who already have drug and alcohol problems, it’s just really intensified it because they’re all alone.”
The Gateway Foundation said some people working from home with less structure are drinking more alcohol.
“Drinking more than four drinks for a woman in one sitting, drinking more than five drinks for men in one sitting, then that’s problematic using, it’s binge drinking,” Britton said.
Robert Duckels, an attorney, said working from home was a contributing factor to the downward spiral of a previously existing alcohol addiction.
“If I completed work early in the day, it was much easier to just start drinking before anybody got home, Duckels said.
Duckels said he is more than two years sober and is speaking out to help others.
“It is important that people maintain a sense of self awareness about what they’re doing, that they look for alternative, more constructive means of resolving the stress and anxiety,” Duckels said. “Exercise is a fantastic option. Working your mind out in different ways, reading, pursuing other interests that are still available while working at home.”
Britton said family members might be the first to see that there is a problem.
“If you’re using more than you normally did, you need to take a look and talk to somebody,” Britton said.