Pandemic Stress Driving Parents to Drink

It’s no secret that isolation, stress, and boredom are triggers for alcohol abuseUnfortunately, the novel coronavirus pandemic has delivered all three in spades. One particular demographic has been showing a disturbing increase in alcohol consumption: parents. 

Parents Are Drinking More 

A survey conducted by the Research Triangle Institute International in May found that people on average were consuming much more alcohol than before, with a 27% increase in drinks per day and a 26% increase in binge drinking. These increases also disproportionately affected parents with children in the household. 

Of course, chronic heavy drinking has negative implications for mental and physical health, as well as the effects on children in the household—some of which can be long-lasting. The children of alcohol-addicted parents often struggle with alcohol themselves, or develop other harmful coping mechanisms such as obsessive-compulsive disorder or codependency. 

Why the Increase? 

There’s no way to isolate an individual culprit for the increase in drinking alcohol among parents. In reality, the uptick in alcohol consumption is likely due to a combination of factors. Being unable or unwilling to perform many of the tasks we all were used to doing on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis has left many of us feeling isolated and lonely. There’s also the persistent worry about a deadly disease looming in the midst. But for parents, there’s also another drastic change that’s adding a great deal of pressure to an already-stressful situation: online learning. 

An online survey conducted by The Conversation found that parents that feel stressed by online learning drink around 7 more drinks per month on average than parents who aren’t stressed. 

For parents that are used to sending their children to school on weekdays, adjusting to online learning can involve quite a steep learning curve. On top of the technical difficulties involved with virtual lessons, many parents are also stressed about their child’s well-being and development while they are kept apart from their friends and many of the recreational activities they enjoy. The isolation has been especially hard on children that struggle socially or suffer from attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD). 

Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder 

Not everyone that finds themselves drinking slightly more during these times qualifies as having alcohol use disorder; however, those that find themselves exhibiting some of the classic signs of addiction may benefit from rehabilitation treatment. It’s important that anyone that decides to give up alcohol after chronic abuse does so safely. Alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous without medical supervision. 

Effective facilities enable patients to detoxify safely before moving on to other forms of treatment. Depending on the patient’s needs, outpatient, inpatient, or partial hospitalization may be the right course of action. It is vital for most people to undergo therapy to maintain long-term sobriety. It’s also important that people undergo treatment for any co-occurring disorders while receiving treatment for addiction. 

If you or a loved one is considering rehabilitation treatment, please reach out to an admissions navigator at Desert Hope and other American Addiction Centers’ (AAC) facilities have helped thousands of people achieve long-term sobriety. 

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