Alcoholism is Getting Bad Thanks to the Pandemic

Alcohol slows down the central nervous system, creating feelings of relaxation. It also lowers inhibitions, memory, and judgment. Because of these qualities, many people turn to alcohol to distance themselves from the challenges or stressors they’re facing due to COVID-19. The pandemic is associated with negative economic and health impacts, loss, grief, isolation, prolonged uncertainty and stress.

Recent studies show that people are binge drinking to cope with the negative impacts COVID-19 pandemic. One study found that American adults have sharply increased their alcohol consumption, drinking on more days per week.

The study released by RAND Corporation compared the drinking habits of adults between spring 2019 and spring 2020. Reviewing over 1500 adults across America, participants were asked about their change in alcohol use between 2019 and 2020 during the first peak of the virus.

The study found a 14% increase in alcohol use among adults, compared to the same time last year. This was a 19% increase among all adults ages 30-59. Women, in particular, showed a 41% increase in alcohol use.

Experts warn that the pandemic’s stress could be could be prodding some people to drink alcohol. In the previous years, surges in alcohol use were noted following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, 2003 SARS, and September 11th terrorist attacks. Such traumatic events and their resulting stressors tend to lead to increased post-disaster alcohol use and abuse.

Why are people drinking during the pandemic?

People are consuming alcohol as a way to manage emotional stress. The pandemic has created collective grief and loss of security and safety with incredible uncertainty. Before the pandemic, alcohol use was already a significant public health concern. The pandemic seems to be fueling this even further with its vast effects, like:

Before the outbreak of the coronavirus, people would go out and blow off some steam. They’d go to the gym for a workout or the movies to calm down. But with the lockdown and less social contact rules, that’s not an option anymore. People can’t hang out with their friends and loved ones as they used to. They can no longer engage in activities that help them reduce stress and enhance well-being. But they can access alcohol because liquor stores were deemed essential businesses and stayed open.

When you combine anxiety and stress with the ability to order alcohol through an app and have it delivered to your doorstep within an hour, you get a perfect pathway towards excessive drinking and abuse.

The effects of alcohol on the body

These studies show that many people could be turning to alcohol to cope with pressures created by COVID-19. Drinking alcohol to cope with life situations like boredom or stress can become a habit that leads to substance abuse disorder. When a person self-medicates with alcohol to cope with stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues, they can develop co-occurring substance use disorder.

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Alcohol is a depressant and sedative that affects the central nervous system. At first, drinking alcohol can reduce fears and take the mind of troubles. It can help an individual feel less anxious, boost mood and make them generally relaxed.

In fact, the effects of alcohol can be the same as those of anti-anxiety medications. That’s because alcohol slows activity in the amygdala, a brain part that prepares the body’s “fight or flight” response to stress.

Repeated use decreases the amygdala’s dampening effect. It also causes tolerance and dependence. So a person has to drink more alcohol to achieve a similar level of high. At this point, they can’t stop drinking because of withdrawal symptoms, like tremors, nausea, anxiety, headache, confusion, and insomnia.

Mild alcohol withdrawal can be treated at home. But severe cases need supervised care in a hospital setting to avoid potentially dangerous complications like seizures.

Who is more vulnerable to increased alcohol use during the COVID-19 outbreak?

The measures to curb the spread of coronavirus have been hard on everyone. So, everyone is susceptible and may end up with problems with alcohol. However, studies show that some groups are more vulnerable than others.

Younger people

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), alcohol use has led to at least four deaths on college campuses since spring 2021. Young adults face unprecedented stressors: loss of income, the uncertainty of the future, and social isolation, resulting in conditions like loneliness, depression, and anxiety which can increase the risk of heavy drinking.

Women

The psychological stress associated with the pandemic was also linked to greater drinking for women. A study by RAND Corporation and supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Use and Alcoholism shows that heavy drinking among women has soared. In the survey, 1 in 5 women had heavily consumed alcohol at least one additional day per month compared with the previous year.

Physicians

A survey of 12,000 physicians found that over 40% of physicians experienced burnout, which was amplified mainly by COVID-19. Of these physicians, more than a quarter were drinking to cope with the burnout and resulting stress.

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More studies point to the increase in alcohol use thanks to the pandemic

BlueCross BlueShield survey dubbed “Behavioral health by the numbers: a closer look at the impact of COVID-19” reveals a 23% increase in alcohol consumption since the outbreak began.

Another survey on 1,000 American adults 18 years and older by The Recovery Village found that 55% of the participant had an increase in past-month alcohol consumption, with 18% reporting a significant increase.

How to cope with the negative impacts of COVID-19 without alcohol

Healthy coping involves taking part in activities that directly reduce stress or improve wellbeing. This includes exercising, getting enough sleep, following creative pursuits, eating nutritious food, and staying hydrated. It is also a good idea for people to reach out for help and get support to make healthier life choices.

Those recovering from alcohol can take part in online Alcoholic Anonymous meetings. Such support groups can serve as a pillar to help avoid relapse.

How Alcoholism Can Make Your Blood Pressure Worse

Scientists are still learning how alcoholism affects heart health and blood pressure. According to a few John Hopkins University studies, moderate alcohol drinking may lead to a lower risk of dying from heart disease. Also, modest amounts of alcohol might help to slightly raise the levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol as per some studies. Does that mean, however, that alcohol consumption is a great habit and has no repercussions on your health? Not at all. Let us look at the ways alcoholism can make your blood pressure worse.

The association between moderate alcohol drinking and heart health is still debatable, with both supporters and naysayers offering evidence; the focus keyword, however, remains “moderate”. Excessive alcohol drinking, on the other hand, has no positive side to it.

Too Much of a Good Thing

While short-term repetitive drinking can lead to temporary spikes in blood pressure and heart rate, long-term alcohol abuse and alcoholism may lead to chronic hypertension/high blood pressure and even cause heart disease. Addiction to alcohol is a very serious problem.

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How Alcohol Affects My Blood Pressure?

Although the impact of alcohol consumption on the body depends a lot on age and risk factors, excessive drinking is never recommended for anyone. This is because alcohol abuse can lead to a myriad of direct and indirect impacts on the body and mind, which are detrimental not just to the individual but also to those who surround them.

Direct effects

Alcohol abuse and alcoholism can have pronounced direct effects in the short- and long-term, chief among them being a temporary increase in blood pressure, which may turn into long-term excess due to repetitiveness.

Indirect effects

There are several ways in which alcohol is known to affect blood pressure indirectly. Alcohol is known to affect the nervous system, which controls blood pressure. Also, it causes changes in pressure receptors that sense blood pressure levels, making blood pressure higher. Alcohol consumption increases cortisol levels – the stress hormone that increases blood pressure – and the level of calcium that lines arteries, making them more constricted, elevating blood pressure.

Scientists have also found that alcoholism affects the number of other vasoconstrictor hormones (artery-constricting hormones), impacts the retention of fluids filtered in the kidneys and leads to weight gain in the long-term, all of which contribute to increases blood pressure numbers.

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How Much Is Too Much with Alcohol?

The American Heart Association has outlined the definitions of excessive drinking, which one can revise to keep their consumption in check:

According to AHA, one drink is equivalent to 12 oz of beer, 4 oz of wine, 1.5 oz of 80-proof alcohol and 1 oz of 100-proof alcohol. At the end of the day, however, it does not matter what is the beverage you pick – what matters is the amount.

Why is High Blood Pressure Bad for You?

There are two kinds of blood pressure numbers we are familiar with. The higher number denotes high blood pressure, which occurs when the heart is contracting and forcing blood into the arteries. The lower number stands for low blood pressure which occurs when the heart is in the relaxed phase.

Consistent and abnormally high blood pressure or hypertension is detrimental to our body because it damages the lining of arteries, causing them to harden (arteriosclerosis), ultimately leading to arterial blocking. The blockage of arteries subsequently leads to a blocked flow of blood to the heart (causing heart attack), brain (causing stroke) as well as other essential organs, leading to multiple-organ failure.

On the other hand, low blood pressure is not a long-term condition, though it also leads to poor health outcomes such as dizziness and pale skin. However, low blood pressure is easier to reverse and quicker to recover from.

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Alcoholism and Serious Diseases

Heavy drinking is directly associated with several poor bodily outcomes, including heart conditions such as cardiomyopathy which affects the heart’s muscles. Excessive alcoholism may even lead to heart failure and stroke, apart from the most common complication - heart attack. The long list of problems associated with alcohol abuse also includes liver diseases, obesity and poor mental health.

Compared with people who did not binge drink, people who drank alcohol at twice the gender-specific binge drinking thresholds were 70 times more likely to have an alcohol-related emergency department (ED) visit, and those who consumed alcohol at 3 times the gender-specific binge thresholds were 93 times more likely to have an alcohol-related ED visit, says the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Alcohol intake can also specifically affect those who are on blood pressure medications. These medications usually come with side effects associated with low pressure – dizziness, loss of balance control and so on. Excessive alcoholism also impairs our sense of balance, which is why this combination can prove detrimental. Alpha- and Beta-blockers as well as Nitrates can interact dangerously with alcohol and should be avoided.

Reversing the Ill-Effects of Alcohol on Heart Health and Blood Pressure

The good news is that the ill-effects of alcohol abuse can be reversed if you take action at the right time. Studies show heavy drinkers who reduce their consumption to moderate can lower the upper blood pressure readings or systolic blood pressure by about 5.5 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg) and their lower readings or diastolic blood pressure by about 4 mm Hg.

That being said, one rule does not fit everyone when it comes to getting rid of alcoholism. Recovering from alcohol is as much a personal process as it is a medical one. It can lead to withdrawal symptoms, impact your mental health and cause visible changes to your body. However, with the combination of the right approach and evidence-based treatments from specialists, one can stop drinking and de-addict themselves effectively and holistically.

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How Does More Than Rehab Help?

At More Than Rehab, we aim to provide quality care to those in need of all-inclusive and therapeutic modalities, helping individuals identify what is best for their recovery. Our team of a skilled and compassionate team of counsellors, psychiatric specialists and physicians who coordinate a comprehensive and individualistic plan for the recovery of individuals in need. Coupling our approach with cognitive behavioral therapy, More Than Rehab caters to the full spectrum of a person’s addiction.

Alcoholism is one of the leading mental and physical issues affecting the United States today. However, it can be gotten rid of, and its impacts treated or reversed. It is upon you to make the best out of the opportunity to, for you might get only a chance at it. You can start your life afresh – we are just a click away.

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How Much Does Alcohol Rehab Cost?

It is never a good feeling when you, or a loved one, are considering whether or not professional treatment is necessary for an alcohol use disorder or an alcohol addiction.

However, the simple fact that there is even a question is a strong indicator that there is possibly a problem and that professional help may be necessary. This is especially true if there have been negative consequences associated with the alcohol use, such as getting a DUI, getting fired from work, relationship difficulties, getting in trouble with the law, or other negative consequences of drug or alcohol abuse.

According to the National Institute on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, around 17.6 million people struggle with an alcohol abuse or dependence issue every year in the United States. So, just know that if you or a loved one are suffering, you are certainly not alone. In the year since the pandemic began, alcohol use has seen a sharp increase in the United States.

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One of the biggest steps that people can take when they are suffering from an alcohol use disorder or addiction is to admit that they have a problem, and then get the help necessary to recover.

Once you have decided that help may be necessary for whoever is struggling, you may begin to wonder if your family can afford it.

Exactly how much does alcohol rehab cost?

Well, the answer to this question can depend on many factors. No two people are alike, and the same can be said about their addictions. The cost will typically depend on the level of treatment required for that individual to begin the road to a successful recovery.

The level of treatment someone needs depends on a variety of issues such as how long they’ve been using alcohol or drugs, whether they abuse alcohol in combination with other drugs or substances, and how often they abuse their drug of choice. Depending on the severity of the symptoms and the addiction, a more intensive treatment may be necessary.

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What is an alcohol rehab program like?

Typically, when a person is looking to get treatment for alcohol abuse, they do an intake assessment to determine what level of care is appropriate. When it comes to alcohol rehab, there are several different levels of treatment, each with their own general cost. Here are some of the most common.

*These prices are based off out-of-pocket expenses without insurance coverage. However, many insurance companies will pay for all or a portion of alcohol rehab treatment costs.

Aside from the different levels of treatment that may affect the overall cost of alcohol rehab, there are several other factors to consider when it comes to the price. One of those factors is the length of the program. Along with the intake assessment, many treatment centers will also specify an amount of time they believe necessary for effective treatment. Depending on the individual's specific needs, this time frame typically ranges between 30 to 90 days.

The location and amenities of the treatment center can also play a significant role in the overall cost. If you decide to go to an alcohol rehab center located on the beach, it’s likely to cost more than the one nestled in the heart of a small inland city.

The amenities the rehab center offers will also add some major dollar signs to the total cost. Some luxury rehabs offer acupuncture, private tennis courts, and swimming pools. Keep in mind that you don't have to stay at the Ritz in order to get quality treatment but choosing a treatment center with just the right number of amenities may go a long way in making the stay much more enjoyable and beneficial in the long run.

At our beautiful Texas rehab centers, known collectively as More Than Rehab, we combine the right balance of affordability, while still providing luxuries that encourage you to get involved with your recovery process. If you feel as though the cost of alcohol rehab may be too much, keep in mind that most insurance plans will cover all, or a portion of the cost for your alcohol addiction or substance abuse treatment.

At More Than Rehab we offer a wide range of care levels and work with most major insurance companies. We pride ourselves on remaining affordable while providing the highest quality of care--all while staying at a beautiful and serene location surrounded by the most wonderful natural surroundings that Texas has to offer.

There is absolutely no shame in getting help when you need it. So please reach out to us today at More Than Rehab and let our highly trained staff help you or your loved one. As always, we are available 24/7. Give us a call today!

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Why Do People Get High?

In today’s crazy world it may seem like more and more people are reaching for drugs and alcohol to get high, in order to help them cope with the struggles of our "new normal". Thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic that our country is still facing, alcoholism and relapse rates are once again on the rise. Unfortunately, this is due to a multitude of different reasons like self-quarantine, isolation, boredom, change in routine and schedule, closures of local AA or NA support groups, and even having kids home full time, or being around your partner 24/7. All of these are stressful situations which could lead even the strongest willed person to have their long-lasting sobriety to come to an end.

Though COVID-19 has certainly caused a surge in relapse rates, alcoholism, and drug use, that certainly doesn’t mean that substance abuse problems weren’t a problem before 2020. In fact, it is estimated that every year, nearly 21 million Americans will suffer from a substance abuse problem of some kind. With so many people affected, it may be easy to wonder why do people get high in the first place? Well, for someone who has ever struggled with an addiction firsthand, they may know that sometimes the answer to that question is simple… But sometimes, the answer to that question is much more complicated. While we certainly cannot find one or two primary reasons people choose to get high, we can isolate some of the more common reasons people turn to drugs or alcohol.

Here are some of the most popular reasons why people, especially teens and young adults, get high:

Boredom

We are all pretty familiar with being bored, perhaps today even more so than ever before with practically everything moving online and becoming virtual. Sometimes, when a person is left to one’s own devices, it can be pretty easy to see the temptation in trying drugs or alcohol just for the sake of having something to do. That is why drugs and alcohol are so dangerous around young teens and adults because they are particularly susceptible to boredom.

Curiosity

We have all probably heard the saying, “Curiosity killed the cat” -- and while trying drugs and alcohol likely won't kill you the first time, it still most certainly could. With dangerous drugs like fentanyl being laced in some common street drugs, a drug overdose death is more likely now, than ever.

Beginning with something as simple as wanting to know what it feels like to be high or get drunk, can end up leading someone down that path of a lifetime of hurt caused by an addiction to drugs or alcohol. If curiosity ever strikes, it is best to remember that there is no way to tell who will become addicted to drugs or alcohol and that even one time could lead to an addiction.

The Desire to Belong

As humans, we all have an innate desire to fit in or belong. For teens and young adults, this is even more important. According to a recent survey, nearly 29% of teens said they had tried drugs or alcohol because their friends were also doing it. It seems that friends can play a huge role in determining whether or not a teen or young adult will eventually try drugs or alcohol for the first time. The same can be said for adults as well, something as simple as changing jobs and getting asked to go out for drinks with your new coworkers and agreeing, even though you have been sober for a year, could potentially be a huge relapse trigger for anyone.

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Peer Pressure in Social Situations

Along the same lines as the desire to belong is peer and social pressure. A lot of times people, especially teens and young adults, try drugs or alcohol for the first time because of pressure from their peers. Even though someone may initially say no to using drugs and alcohol, pressure from friends can eventually make them give in for fear of being ostracized or outcast. In turn, they may continue using drugs or alcohol even if they don't want to, simply out of the fear of rejection.

Trauma or Abuse

Any past or current trauma and/or abuse, such as a sexual assault, a car accident, childhood neglect, or emotional abuse, can lead anyone to trying drugs or alcohol. Traumatic events can imprint on the memory, making it very difficult to get past the experience. Oftentimes, people get high in an attempt to escape having to deal with the painful emotions associated with the experience.

Career Pressure

Teens and young adults are not the only age group that can fall victim to addiction from environmental pressures. For instance, career pressure can drive someone of any age to get high on drugs or alcohol. A lot of times, people tie their self-worth into their career and if they feel as though they are not living up to their potential or are struggling to meet demands they may turn to drugs and alcohol in order to make themselves feel better.

Dealing With Grief

Losing a loved one is a devastating feeling and grief is an especially painful experience. Living through a loved one’s death is an especially difficult time for people and no two people grieve the same. Unfortunately, many people who are undergoing grief may want to get high, in an attempt to forget about the loved one’s passing. However, while this is normally just a short term coping mechanism it can turn into a life-long problem for those who are not careful.

There are many other reasons why someone may want to get high from drugs or alcohol.

Usually, the reasons are psychological, mental, or physical. Some people use drugs or alcohol in an attempt to self-medicate some sort of mental illness like depression or insomnia. There is also no way to tell who will become addicted to drugs or alcohol, so it is best to try and steer clear of all illicit substances when possible.

If you, or a loved one, are having difficulty with a substance abuse disorder, then we are here to help. Reach out to us today and let our family at More Than Rehab help take care of you, or your loved one who is struggling. We have years of experience and knowledge when it comes to treating substance abuse disorders and many of our staff have been where you are before, so we know what it takes to lead a healthy and fulfilling life of sobriety! Call us anytime. We are available 24/7 and we hope to hear from you soon!

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What Happens to Your Brain When You Get Blackout Drunk?

If there is one thing that we can all agree on, it is that 2020 has been a stressful year. Along with the nation battling the surge of cases in the COVID-19 pandemic, is the increased rates of alcohol consumption sweeping across the country. No one could argue against ending a long stressful day with a relaxing alcoholic beverage, but there is such a thing as drinking too much. Even in the face of adversity, if you are getting “blackout drunk,” there might be a problem.

Most experts agree that drinking moderation is perfectly fine, and while that may look different depending on the individual, in general, consuming more than four alcoholic drinks per day for men and three alcoholic drinks for women is considered to be too much.

Another important thing to consider if you are beginning to wonder if you or a loved one are consuming too much alcohol is whether or not memory lapses have been experienced after a night of drinking. Drinking too much alcohol in a short amount of time, especially on an empty stomach, can lead to what is known as an alcohol-related blackout. If you have ever experienced a time when you got blackout drunk, you might have had that “uh-oh” feeling the next day as you begin texting your friends, trying to piece together what happened the night before. Unfortunately, though commonly experienced, blackouts are a tell-tale sign that way too much alcohol has been consumed.

What is it like to get blackout drunk?

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For those who have ever experienced a blackout, it can often be a scary experience. Not only are you left wondering what happened the night before, you may also begin to wonder what exactly happens to your brain when you get blackout drunk? Why does it make it impossible to remember what happened, say, after the fourth shot of tequila? Well, even though we can’t exactly tell you whether or not you really danced on the pool table in front of your boss, we can try to help explain why drinking too much may cause memory lapses or blackouts.

What happens to your brain when you get blackout drunk?

When you hear the term blacking out, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the person is unconscious. In fact, it may even be hard to tell that a person is experiencing a blackout when they have had too much to drink within a short amount of time. Blackouts typically occur when a person's BAC (blood alcohol content) reaches twice the legal limit, that is around .15%. Also commonly referred to as alcohol-induced amnesia, blackouts happen when enough alcohol has been consumed that it inhibits the brain's ability to process and store short-term memories into long term memories. Interestingly, it's also not so much about how much you drink but how quickly you drink. Someone who slams three drinks in a row is much more likely to experience a blackout when compared to someone who elevates their blood alcohol content over twice the legal limit, slowly over a longer span of time.

When you rapidly consume a large amount of alcohol, a roadblock essentially goes up between the immediate and short term memory, affecting the brain's ability to store memories and recall them later. The main ingredient behind alcohol’s potent effects is a substance known as ethanol. When consumed, ethanol has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. This can then allow the ethanol, or alcohol, to target receptors located in the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for controlling functions like emotions, memory, and recollection. During a blackout, you may be able to recall things in between the 30, 60, and 90 second time-span but anything beyond that is all but forgotten.

Additionally, depending on how much alcohol is consumed, and how many of these receptors are targeted, a blackout can either be partial or complete. A partial blackout is commonly referred to scientifically as “fragmentary”, and they are sometimes referred to as “brown-outs”. Partial blackouts are where bits or pieces of information may be easily recalled, but there are still gaps in time where nothing can be remembered. Visual or verbal cues may be helpful in putting together what may have happened the night before. Or, these cues could help someone recall more bits of information if a partial blackout is the kind experienced.

Drinking too much alcohol can cause temporary amnesia.

Complete blackouts, however, are when the person experiences complete and total amnesia up until a certain point in time where they ultimately consumed too much alcohol. Complete blackouts are sometimes referred to scientifically as “en bloc” or as “that never happened”. It is also highly possible that even though you may have experienced a complete black out, you weren’t a total mess. Sometimes the blackout is triggered before enough alcohol has been consumed to affect your cognitive abilities and motor functions. This sometimes happens when someone was consuming too much alcohol on an empty stomach. This can make it difficult to detect, as there may not be any signs beyond normal slurring of speech and the appearance of minimal impairment.

If you have a friend or loved one who has a tendency to go a little overboard while at the bar, it might be helpful to ask them if they remember what happened 15 minutes ago. If they do not, it is highly likely they have had too much to drink and are experiencing a blackout. If you’re a good friend, then you should maybe at least try to keep them from making poor decisions they might regret later. Although one isolated incident of drinking to the point where you experience a blackout may not initially be a sign that an alcohol abuse problem is present, if it is something that continues to happen on a regular basis that is a huge sign that there is an alcohol problem. It may be a great enough problem that it might require some professional help from a reputable addiction treatment program.

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If you believe you, a friend, or another loved one may be experiencing an alcohol addiction or substance abuse problem of any kind, then we are here to help. At More Than Rehab, we are a team of trained professionals who are also a family, not just with the staff but with our clients as well. We understand what it takes to live a life of sobriety and we would love the opportunity to share the tools we have learned with you. Reach out to us today and join the family at More Than Rehab. We’re here for you 24/7:

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Alcoholism is on the Rise During COVID-19

I’m sure the year of 2020 hasn’t turned out quite the way any of us had envisioned it would have in the beginning of the year. Since the arrival of COVID-19 in our country, we have all faced many challenging obstacles. Temporary closures of businesses deemed non-essential, self-isolation, quarantine, and other dramatic changes of how we live on a daily basis have all led to some seriously negative consequences that experts suggest we will be dealing with for years. While many of the effects of this global pandemic have remained relatively unmeasured, there are still several issues that have substance abuse treatment specialists rightfully worried throughout the United States.

Alcoholism is on the rise during COVID-19 across the US.

Along with increased rates of overdose and relapse, alcoholism has also been on a steep rise since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent data shows that the purchase of alcohol and the rates of alcohol abuse have rapidly been growing since the beginning of the year.

For example, alcohol sales increased by 54% for the week ending March 21 of this year, right around the same time that the quarantine and major government shut-down began; online sales have also reportedly increased by over 260% since 2019. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also released several statements regarding this issue. Not only are they concerned with riskier behavior that is associated with the consumption of alcohol, but alcohol also increases the likelihood of contracting the virus and can make the symptoms of the coronavirus much more severe.

Social isolation in quarantine can contribute to increased drug and alcohol consumption.

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Many are having to adapt to conditions such as working from home with distractions that they aren't ordinarily used to putting up with, managing personal relationships with their partner or spouse while living and working in the same proximity, or having to juggle helping their kids stay at home and learn in the virtual classroom. All of this makes it very easy to understand the desire to pour a glass of wine or grab yourself a beer after a long stressful day to help take the edge off, especially when one considers the amount of changes we are all going through on a daily basis.

According to a recent self-reporting survey, more than 55% of adults reported an increase in their drinking since the beginning of the pandemic, with nearly 20% reporting a significant increase. An issue that may be more of a concern for certain members of the population, as another self-reporting study showed that excessive drinking has increased by over 41% for women. Though a large number of the population admittedly seem to be enjoying a drink more often because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is still such a thing as “too much” - and one may begin to wonder, what exactly is that limit?

How much alcohol consumption is “too much”?

Though the amount of alcohol recommended for daily consumption varies slightly depending on the source, all major health organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) agree that drinking in moderation is the safest way to consume alcohol in order to most effectively avoid any negative health effects associated with drinking. Moderate drinking is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) as up to 4 alcoholic drinks per day for men and 3 alcohol drinks per day for women. Though, this can differ depending on many things such as weight, height, and family history.

One concern of drinking above moderation is that it can lead to changes in tolerance and dependence. Not only that, but researchers are concerned that less people will seek medical attention due to the pandemic for fear of overburdening the system or catching the virus. This can lead to those in help not seeking the medical treatment that they need.

So, if you are concerned that you or a loved one may be struggling with an alcohol addiction or other substance abuse disorder, then More Than Rehab is still here to help! Do not worry, we are also taking extra precautions during this time to ensure that our clients are safe while on their road to recovery.

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Signs that you, or a loved one may be struggling with alcoholism:

If you are still unsure if you or loved one have gone from recreational drinking to what may be an alcohol abuse disorder, then here are some common signs or symptoms that there might be a bigger problem:

There are other many alcohol related symptoms that one may want to look out for if you are concerned that there may be a problem. Alcohol is an easy substance to become addicted to and is the leading reason people seek substance abuse treatment in the United States.

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The first step to getting help for alcoholism is admitting that you have a problem.

We know that daily life has become especially difficult for people living in our world today. If you are a loved one have developed a problem, or have been struggling with an addiction for a long time and need help recovering again, we can help to get your life back on track. At More Than Rehab, we also help teach you healthy coping skills, so that you no longer need to rely on alcohol to help relieve the stress of today’s world. Many of us here at More Than Rehab have been where you are before, so we know what it takes to lead a healthy life without drugs or alcohol. Please let our family help yours today!

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Binge Drinking in the State of Texas: When Does It Become Too Much?

Binge drinking alcohol literally affects every cell in your body. Over the course of long-term binges on liquor, beer, wine and other spirits, your brain can become permanently damaged as a result of cellular nutritional deficiencies. Thiamine or vitamin B1, is an important nutrient that is depleted from the body when alcohol abuse has taken over your life. When someone drinks a lot, over a long period of time, thiamine in the body is depleted, while the body’s ability to absorb it in the digestive tract is reduced. Cells are also inhibited in utilizing thiamine from chronic alcohol consumption. For teens and young college students who may be new to experimenting with alcohol, it can seem like it’s all just fun and games in the beginning. Over time however, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can cause a lot of damage to our minds and our bodies. No one thinks they will develop alcohol-related dementia, or “wet brain” syndrome but sadly, it does happen.

College binge-drinking remains a problem for students in Texas.

At colleges and universities across the United States, the culture of partying and binge drinking is pervasive. When drinking to excess starts to cause a lot of problems in academic areas like grades, attendance and extra curricular activities, maybe it is time to start thinking about your regular consumption of alcoholic beverages. We have all seen this party culture at institutions of higher learning be glorified and glamorized in popular movies, television shows and music. Some say it’s kind of like a rite of passage for young adults. We all know that students want to have a good time while they’re young, but excessive drinking can lead to disastrous, life-altering consequences.

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Underage drinking is a problem that affects the residents of Texas, much like the rest of the country. The phenomenon of underage drinking leads to hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries each year in the United States. Underage drinkers have an unfortunate tendency to participate in binge drinking, much more than the adult population does. Teens and young adults who experiment with drinking to excess are more prone to experience troubling consequences as a result. Accidents, injuries, arrests, and jail time are much more likely when alcohol is present. Plus, rates of sexual assault, rape and other types of physical assaults are all much more likely to occur when underage drinking is at play.

Alcohol abuse and binge-drinking affects public health as a whole in Texas communities.  

In April of 2018, Houston, Texas police made 36 felony alcohol arrests of drivers in the area. Felony DUI or DWI culprits in Texas can face up to $10,000 in fines, have their license suspended and they could serve anywhere between 2-10 years in a Texas state prison. Most of these arrests were the result of the subject’s third DWI, some were intoxicated even while having a child in the car with them. Two of the arrests were for vehicular manslaughter incidents involving alcohol. Cracking down on drunk driving is a supreme necessity, as more and more needless deaths occur on our streets. In 2017 alone, 1,468 people died in Texas as a result of automobile accidents where at least one driver was under the influence of alcohol. These accidents comprised nearly 40% of all traffic fatalities in Texas in 2016.

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Excessive alcohol consumption and binge-drinking comes with considerable negative health consequences.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), excessive alcohol consumption will increase a person’s risk of developing serious health problems, in addition to the other risky behaviors that are commonly associated with being drunk. According to the Harvard Medical School, liver disease, high blood pressure, heart failure, cancer, dementia and even suicide rates all go up for people who consume alcohol in excessive amounts over time.

Depression, stress, insecurity and anxiety are common emotional and mental health issues which people list as reasons that they started drinking. Yet alcohol abuse actually makes these problems worse over time, as you end up just masking these symptoms by getting drunk. Binge drinking can be exceptionally detrimental for college students who suffer from any kind of mental, or behavioral health disorder. Excessive drinking will only make these problems worse, as this can easily lead to a downward spiral of more and more drinking and experimentation with other types of drugs.

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Alcohol is the number one gateway drug, well ahead of marijuana.

According to research completed by teams at Texas A&M and the University of Florida, 54% of young people reported using alcohol as their first drug of use, before they moved on to trying other drugs. This was a lot more than what was reported for marijuana, where only 14% of respondents claimed it as the first drug they used.

How early people began using substances also serves as an important indicator of future decisions and risky behaviors that people may take with drugs and alcohol. The same study also looked at how early kids began using and found that the earlier they initiated use, the more likely they were to use harder drugs later in life.

While drinking alcohol may become a problem for many people in the Houston, Texas area, there are resources available to help you, a family member or loved one who is struggling with alcoholism or an addiction to other drugs.  More Than Rehab offers one of the most successful drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs in the state of Texas. Give us a call and see if our addiction treatment program is right for you.

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