Mount Sinai Wellness Center

Alcohol addiction risks during & after the pandemic

The ongoing coronavirus has caused a host of problems, to say the least. For people fighting alcohol addiction, temptations to drink have worsened across the board in the last year due to added stresses caused by the pandemic, job loss, and lockdown conditions. Frustratingly, whenever the pandemic comes to a conclusive “end,” there could be even more alcohol-related worries on the horizon.

Pandemic Stress Leads to Liver Diseases

Hospitals throughout the United States have reported a noticeable spike in urgent care and hospitalization for patients with alcohol-related conditions since the pandemic began. For example, the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore saw a 50% increase in liver diseases like alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis caused by alcohol abuse during the winter of 2020 when compared to the winter of 2019. Other hospitals that recently shared anonymous patient treatment data regarding alcohol-related liver diseases for research have seen jumps of 20-to-30% on average.

The uptick is no coincidence, researchers say. As the pandemic continues, more and more Americans are faced with painful issues like losing their job or loved ones. External stressors just like those are some of the biggest drivers of alcohol addiction, so it is not a shock that more people are succumbing to the harm that alcohol abuse can cause.

To make matters worse, COVID-19 wreaks havoc on the entire immune system, which must work overtime to combat the deadly virus. As such, people who overcome their coronavirus symptoms, or those who caught the virus but were mostly asymptomatic, could be much more susceptible to future or preexisting health conditions. In other words, the likelihood of suffering from a liver disease like alcoholic hepatitis can increase in some patients who have had COVID-19, which further exacerbates the increasing rate of alcohol-related hospitalizations.

Post-Pandemic Alcohol Addiction Worries

When the pandemic comes to a close, whether that be at the end of the year or later, there could be new worries for people fighting alcohol addiction. Reduced lockdowns in many states have already shown that people are flocking back to their usual hangouts for nights of revelry, which usually means drinking. It can only be assumed that when the lockdowns are completely gone in all corners, even more people will feel an urge to go drinking with their friends or to enjoy a dinner out with their family, including a glass of wine or a beer.

To fight these new temptations, people in alcohol addiction treatment programs now should already be thinking about what they can do at the pandemic’s end. Maintaining recovery program plans is a great start, as is creating friend groups that understand and respect what they are going through. Heading to a bar to celebrate a city’s reopening with the intention to only order water, for example, could create unexpectedly strong temptations due to the heightened excitement from other patrons around.

Another good way to avoid worsened alcohol temptations after the pandemic is to wait a while before going out again. If you’re worried you could relapse because everyone around you is drinking or telling you to drink, then wait a few weeks for things to settle down before making your own plans out on the town. Ultimately, you are the only person who can decide how you approach your addiction recovery, so it is important that you make the best decisions for yourself.

Do you need help fighting alcohol addiction, but you can’t seem to find a recovery plan or method that works for you? Please call Mount Sinai Wellness Center in Atlanta at (800) 353-4673. We offer a variety of holistic addiction treatment programs that might be unlike any you have seen before, and they might be that last piece you need to defeat addiction and maintain sobriety. Contact us now to learn more.