Being forced to stay away from friends and loved ones, like in this current state of the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is unprecedented. While people are struggling to deal with these uncertain times in their own ways, someone living with a diagnosed substance use disorder is facing an even more dire scenario.
The lack of routine and social cohesion has exacerbated the existing dangers associated with alcohol addiction and increased the likelihood of relapse and personal regression. If your loved one is showing signs of drinking too much, this time in isolation and quarantine may be leading them down the road of addiction.
How Much Alcohol is Too Much?
On average, nearly 40 million adults binge drink four times a month, according to the Centers for Disease Control. While people between the ages of 18 and 34 are more likely to drink more heavily than any other age group, it’s actually those over the age of 65 that tend to binge drink most often.
Unfortunately, excessive alcohol consumption is responsible for more than 80,000 deaths in this country per year, and it is the third leading cause of preventable deaths. If you feel your loved one is drinking too much, it doesn’t mean this will be their fate. However, it’s important to know how much alcohol is actually too much:
- For women, binge drinking means having four or more drinks in a short period of time, compared to five or more for men.
- Additionally, the US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that drinking officially becomes too much when it causes or elevates the risk of alcohol-related problems or complicates the management of other health issues.1
Is My Loved One Drinking Too Much?
Since the social distancing mandates and quarantine orders were enacted, alcohol consumption has gone up significantly. Recent studies show that American adults, and, in particular, women, are drinking more often during the COVID-19 pandemic. Alcohol consumption has increased by 14 percent, compared with a year ago, including 17 percent for women, according to a report published in the JAMA Network Open.2
So, how can you tell if your loved one is drinking too much during these difficult times? There are some telltale indicators that you can watch out for to grasp if they’re drinking too much and to help them avoid unforeseen relapse incidents.
1. They are ignoring their responsibilities
One sure sign your loved one’s drinking has become a problem is when they begin avoiding their responsibilities at home and at work.
- Do they consistently call in sick because of drinking too much?
- Do they find themselves putting off work or home obligations because they would rather be drinking?
Perhaps they are distracted at work because all they can think about is the drink waiting for
them at the end of the day. These can be signs that your loved one has a problem with drinking
2. They hide the fact that they are drinking
An alcohol use disorder often carries with it a stigma that makes people, like your loved one, feel ashamed to admit they even have a problem. Your loved one may be fully aware that they are drinking entirely too much but not want anyone else to know about their disease.
They may try to hide alcohol bottles around their home so no one can tell how much they are consuming on a daily basis. Additionally, if you notice alcohol on their breath, but they refuse to admit to drinking, that’s a significant red flag that they are drinking too much.
3. Their goal is to get drunk all the time
If you notice your loved one is constantly drinking to the point of getting drunk and verbalizing a desire to get inebriated fast, that’s a sign of an alcohol use disorder. Oftentimes, people living with an alcohol addiction will drink even before an event where there will be more drinking – as to get ahead of the game.
This can be seen as their way of reducing personal anxiety associated with the event or having to deal with the people who they will be interacting with. Either way, it is a sure sign that your loved one is drinking too much.
Does Your Loved One Drink Too Much? There is Renowned, Life-Changing Help
The best way to help your loved one deal with an alcohol addiction or a potential relapse incident – and maintain their sobriety in general – is to establish an open line of communication at all times. Talk with them; call them when social distancing is required; text them to just say “hi” throughout the course of their week; make sure to show them that you care about them all the time, not just when they are struggling with drinking.
By taking the time to build this connection, you will have better access to their personal feelings and be able to provide help and encouragement if they find themselves falling back into their addictive behaviors.
If you do find yourself in a position to help them into a treatment program, identifying one that addresses their needs in a safe and clinically sound environment is imperative. In this scenario, a holistically grounded treatment option may be just the thing to help them face their addiction and achieve sustained health and happiness.
Holistic Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery
As your loved one’s biggest advocate, we understand how crucial it is for you to help your loved one get clean and stay sober. If they are ready to get help, or you are seeking assistance from addiction recovery experts, Ranch Creek Recovery can help.